Ozu – Japan

Preservation and revitalization of patrimony in a Japanese castle town

A steady decrease of population in Ozu’s historic centre during the past decades has resulted in the abandonment of many properties. Ozu had never attracted masses of visitors despite its multiple assets. The way Ozu used to be inhabited for more than 400 years was in danger of physical extinction. Tourism was designated as the main tool to regenerate the city centre. Kita Management Group, with roots in a NGO for local heritage protection, was designated as the local DMO upon the competition of a public-private partnership (PPP) between the city council and local stakeholders. Beyond tourist promotion, the new entity was charged with the renovation of Ozu’s endangered built heritage. As a result, by the end of 2024, 26 houses will have been renovated and 32 rooms will be offered to visitors. A city-wide “scattered” hotel, co-working spaces, a bookshop or public spaces are welcoming residents and visitors alike.

Keywords: Tourism Action Plan, Community Involvement in Planning, Property Exploitation, Developing Sustainable Tourism, Urban Regeneration regernation, Tourism for Regeneration, Heritage Preservation, Collaboration

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