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Business trends

Osaka's once rough Airin neighborhood now a tourist hot spot

District formerly known for riots and day laborers draws budget travelers

Osaka's Nishinari Ward, of which the Airin district is a part, is popular with budget travelers. (Photo by Tomoki Mera)

OSAKA -- International visitors to the western Japanese city of Osaka have been choosing some unusual accommodations, flocking to cheap flophouses in the Airin district, an area that until recently was known as a rough part of town.

Airin, formerly known as Kamagasaki, was long synonymous with day laborers eking out a precarious living at factories and nearby construction sites. In the past, the district was a hotbed of worker unrest and occasional riots. In 1966, it was rebranded Airin ("love your neighbor"), but despite the name change it had a reputation as a crime-ridden no-go area.

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