In the earthquake and tsunami of 2011, Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture lost about 4,000 lives, with damage to 77% of local homes. Since then, population decline has seen more homes go empty, but, 11 years later, a unique enterprise led by Watanabe Kyoko is leveraging these properties to revive the community and ride out the pandemic. By renovating them into guesthouses, co-working spaces, communal houses and a creative hub for artists, she is actually attracting new residents to the area.
Watanabe renovated an abandoned home and transformed it into a shared residence
Watanabe also provides a co-working space to support the activities of artists
Watanabe also holds events to promote the charms of Ishinomaki to tourists from outside the prefecture
Watanabe renovates abandoned homes to attract new residents from outside the prefecture