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Japanese deregulation to open door to unique vacation stays

Lodging at centuries-old temples, traditional homes coming soon to towns across Japan

A group of Thai colleagues settle into their room at Takayama Zenko-ji. (Photo by Keiichiro Asahara)

TOKYO -- Once a law deregulating vacation rentals takes effect on June 15 next year, the many tourists visiting Japan will be able to choose from among some exotic accommodations, such as spending the night at an old mountain temple.

On a recent trip to Takayama in mountainous Gifu Prefecture, a group of Thai coworkers exploring their room were rewarded with a magnificent winter view hiding behind a sliding screen: the snow-shrouded garden of Takayama Zenko-ji, a Buddhist temple. "It's gorgeous," one of the travelers exclaimed.

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