The Japan News by The Yomiuri Shimbun

Unique experience­s under hometown tax system include radio slots, famous old trains

- The Yomiuri Shimbun

Unique experience­s, such as the chance to appear on a community radio show or to charter a popular train, are increasing­ly being o ered by municipali­ties under the government’s furusato nozei hometown tax system.

Under the tax system, people can make donations to municipali­ties of their choice, and the amount is considered tax paid to the donor’s own city.

Municipali­ties are racking their brains to come up with attractive gi s in an e ort to secure tax revenue and also to draw people to their region with singular experience­s.

“I’m crazy about Minamoto no Yoriie, the second shogun of the Kamakura shogunate government,” Yuki Ino said into a microphone as part of a radio program aired on a local community FM station in Izu, Shizuoka Prefecture, in mid-July.

Shuzenji temple, which has a connection with Yoriie, is located in the city.

is spring, the 31-year-old company employee from Niigata City donated ¥45,000 to Izu and won the opportunit­y to talk for 15 minutes on the radio show.

She talked passionate­ly about the legend of Yoriie and her love for him.

“It will be a great memory, especially since this year’s historical drama [featuring Yoriie’s family] has been popular,” said Ino, who looked satis ed a er the show.

e Izu city government is also o ering a slot on the show for a whole year.

“We hope donors to our municipali­ty will have a precious experience that will leave a good impression of Izu,” a city o cial said.

e city government of Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture, rents out Jomo Electric Railway’s famous Deha-101 train, which is one of the oldest railcars in service, having entered service in 1928.

In May, people from a center for children with disabiliti­es in Midori, Gunma Prefecture, enjoyed a one-hour roundtrip ride.

“e car’s wooden interior made me feel like I had slipped back in time to the Showa era,” said a senior sta member at the center.

“Because of the pandemic, we were glad to be able to to ride on a chartered train.” (Aug. 9)

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