The village of Sushi Village is being restored and has been restored to its former glory, with a new restaurant, cafe and cafe-bar set to open this month.
The village was closed down after the fire last September, but the refurbishment of the village is the latest chapter in a revival that has seen more than 60 buildings renovated in the past 10 years.
Its been a long journey to get to this point.
It’s been a very long journey for me to get back to the village where I grew up.
I don’t think I have been there in over 30 years.
The restoration of the town was announced by the town’s new mayor, Tetsuya Kurokawa.
The first step was to remove the wooden door on the main gate, he said.
“We want to restore the village to its original, classic, beauty,” Mr Kurokwa said.
“There is so much history and so much love in the village, and so many people want to live in it.”
The restored town hall, which is being named after the former mayor, will be open and run by the local council.
The first step in that process will be for the town hall to be refurbished.
“This is the first step, and then we will go to the next stage to do the whole village restoration,” Mr Kurukawa said.
Mr Kurukwa said the restoration was a very personal experience.
“I’ve never seen the village in this condition,” he said of the restoration project.
“It’s very important to us, it’s a very big responsibility, and it will be a lot of work.”
We are going to rebuild this village with all of our hearts and with all the spirit of love and respect.
“And then we are going back to our old town, to the old times.”
The restoration project was announced as part of the mayor’s plans to revive the town and make it one of Japan’s oldest and most important tourist destinations.
It was a challenge, said Mr Kurosawa.
“If we were to go back in time, we would see the village had been closed down, the town halls had been destroyed, and there would have been nothing left,” he told ABC Radio South Eastern Queensland.
“But now that we have this new generation coming in and seeing the town, they are going, ‘That’s it!
This is a very beautiful village!'”
It was very, very special, he added.
“The town has become a place for the tourists and for us, and for the locals, and the community, we want to give them something to do here.”
Mr Kurkawa said the village’s original architecture was now back in place, although the town had been rebuilt from scratch.
“For us, there is no need to change any of the old buildings,” he explained.
“As far as the people who lived there, it has been renovated and they have new homes, new shops, new restaurants.”
So the village has become something really special, and that is why it is so important that we can bring that spirit back.