Arao was once a large coal mining town, but it has since lost a great deal of its population, due to the closing of the mine 11 years ago. Some schools that once housed 1,500 children have now been looking at declining enrollments down 1,000 students or more. Arao's political concentration is on tourism, to try to lure people back to this once heavily populated land. Recent hopes to pull in tourists are in its two big amusement parks, Mitsui Greenland and Ultraman Land.
One notable aspect of this city includes Shoudai pottery, an art form almost completely exclusive to Arao, involving slow kilning and under glazing. Also, the Arao nashi pear is a fruit product grown widely in this town. The pear is round, brown and about the size of a bowling ball.