Kumamoto, Japan – Out of the ruins of the devastating earthquakes of 2016 rose new hopes and ambitions to restore and revitalize some of the Kumamoto town’s 150-year-old historical buildings.
Taijin Matsunami of the Kumamoto Machinami Trust, an organization working to preserve historic buildings and townhouses, was working hard to help property owners finds ways and means of restoring their properties as historical assets.
“It is difficult for many of them because of the timetable to apply for government aid as well as ideas of what to do with buildings once they are completed. Due to location of these buildings at high cost areas, it was hard for owners to decide base on financial returns alone,” explained Matsunami of some of the challenges in getting these properties restored for historical reasons.
Some owners of similar properties decided to completely tear down and removed the buildings and built parking spaces for rent instead.
Kumamoto Machinami Trust helped to convinced the government to give more time to apply for restoration aid as well as seek other sources of funds to do restorations while working with property owners to get restoration projects going.
Three properties were approved with two already completed, one of which just opened for business yesterday and one still in the process of restoration.
A building that used to be a wholesale store was restored and opened as a hot new gourmet coffee shop called Coffee Gallery leased by a young entrepreneur Ryuta Murai.
The restored building combined the feel of old Japanese style structure with aged wood and design fused with modern world minimalist furniture and smell of rich Colombian coffee.
Not all effects of disaster need to be mitigated, just maybe restored and revitalized. (L.N. Reklai)