The Importance of Walking Around with a Carry-On Suitcase

I’m Chiaki, a Japanese architect. Currently, the inbound business is thriving, and various initiatives are providing us with more opportunities to discover the charm of regional areas we didn’t know before. However, from an architect’s perspective, there are often overlooked points in regional revitalization that seem wasteful. I have summarized these points. With the increase in individual travelers, regions based on car-centric lifestyles or areas with many group bus tourists could particularly benefit from these practices.

The first suggestion I have is to encourage people to “walk around with a carry-on suitcase”! Many travelers, including myself, prefer not to drive so they can enjoy drinking alcohol. When trying to head to the ticket gate in a regional city with a carry-on suitcase and realizing “there’s no elevator!!!”, it can be disheartening. Additionally, even if you want to do a bit of sightseeing on a business trip, it can be disappointing if there are no convenient places to store your luggage, preventing you from visiting shrines or other attractions.

Walking with a carry-on suitcase not only makes the area more friendly to individual travelers but also makes the city more pedestrian-friendly for women, families with children, and people using wheelchairs. Please check for potential issues such as passageway widths, steps, the presence of elevators, and other facilities like restrooms. Can items be stored in station lockers? Are buses and taxis easily usable with a carry-on suitcase? Even if the hardware isn’t perfect, there are many ways to address these issues through software solutions. When problems arise, it feels as though the city is unwelcoming. Reducing such issues, even by one, can make a big difference.

Currently, regional areas in Japan tend to be car-centric. However, this car-centric lifestyle might unconsciously create a male-dominated society. By gradually moving away from a car-dependent lifestyle, women and young people might find it easier to choose to live in regional cities.

Among the youth, some, such as students, live without owning cars due to budget constraints. By supporting such choices, regional cities might encourage young people to settle down or migrate there.

When thinking about the future of regional cities, it is essential to incorporate diverse perspectives, including women’s, and gradually move away from a car-centric lifestyle. A small experience like walking around with a carry-on suitcase can be the first step towards creating a city where everyone can live comfortably. This small action might bring a bright future to regional cities.

Moreover, regional revitalization has the wonderful power to foster new cultures. By valuing diversity, new ideas and perspectives can emerge and grow into unique regional cultures. Through regional revitalization efforts, people from various backgrounds can come together, discuss, and build a society where everyone is accepted. This process not only revitalizes the region but also provides opportunities for each of us to learn and grow.

Let’s think and act together about the diversity of regional revitalization. A small step can bring new life to regional cities and lead to a future full of charm.