When you think it's-almost-spring vacation, you probably don't think rural, post-earthquake Japan.

But Little Tokyo businessman Shige Higashi wants to put that option in your head.

He's organizing a $2,100, one-week tour of Kesennuma and environs, an area in the northeast that was not hit by radiation problems, but which is facing hardships because people like you are afraid to go to the Land of the Rising Sun. Of course …

… the town was hit by at least one of the post-quake tsunamis, leaving boats and cars in piles around the area.

Higashi says he was inspired when a shoe factory owner from outside the area, Hirokazu Tsunoda, came to speak to L.A. Japanese-Americans recently to tell them Kesennuma and the hard-hit Tohoku prefecture need tourists. According to Higashi, he said:

View Larger Map

You do not have to do any volunteer works. But just come to the affected areas. Local businesses need more customers. Visiting disaster areas, staying at hotels or bed & breakfast, and buying souvenirs, really help people in Tohoku.

So while you might be planning on another trip to Hawaii, Higashi wants you to consider his low-cost adventure to the area in late February and early March. He has already mapped out an itinerary, here.

He writes on his website:

When Shige Higashi, publisher of Cultural News, heard Tsunoda's speech, Higashi agreed for 100% with Tsunoda, and decided to organize a firsthand experience tour to Kesennuma.

Bring back pictures.

[Spotted at the Daily Breeze].

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

LA Weekly