Topics 2017

The Itoigawa Seafood Shuttle Bus Rides Again

The Itoigawa Seafood Shuttle Bus, which connects the ski resorts of Hakuba and Otari to Itoigawa's many seafood bars and restaurants, is going to run again this year! Ride the bus down on Wednesdays and Fridays from January 10 until February 16 to enjoy some of the delicious seafood and sake that you can only find in the Itoigawa UNESCO Global Geopark!

Check the flyer for more details!

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Choose Itoigawa Geopark for Administrative Study Tours!

Itoigawa UNESCO Global Geopark has hosted delegates from Geoparks and aspiring municipalities and regions from across Japan and around the world. We are able to provide custom-tailored, informative tours and study programs for your staff and managers to provide insight into how we have transformed the small town of Itoigawa into Japan's premier UNESCO Global Geopark!

Our Geopark boasts native English-speaking staff and is fully able to handle inspections in both English and Japanese languages. We are also able to work with your own intepreters on request.

Contact us directly at [email protected] for more information!

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【Jan 20 - Mar 10】It's the Season of the Monkfish! ♪

It's time again for Itoigawa's wintertime delicacy, monkfish! Enjoy the rich flavor of this popular deepsea anglerfish at restaurants and hotels throughout Itoigawa. The season is short, so enjoy it while you can!

The Itoigawa Monkfish Fair runs from January 20 until March 10 at participating restaurants and hotels.

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【1/3】Fossa Magna Museum New Year's Event

Visit the Fossa Magna Museum on Wednesday, January wrd for the special "Learn & Play @ the Museum" event!

Enjoy a variety of fun activities and presentations as well as free admission to the Fossa Magna Museum. Limited Edition lucky bags will be on sale, chock full of museum merchandise and other goodies!

◇Time: Jan 3, 2018 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
◇Entry: FREE






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Itoigawa's Ski Resorts are OPEN!

◇Itoigawa Seaside Valley Ski Area
 Open Dec 21

◇Charmant Hiuchi Snow Resort
 Open Dec 22

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【12/9】 "GeoPalMas" Christmas Event

Come down to the Itoigawa GeoStation GeoPal on Dec 9 for the annual "GeoPalMas" Christmas Event.

Enjoy various crafts, games and other family fun! It's a great event to bring your kids to!

◇Time: Dec 9 (Sat) 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
◇Venue: Itoigawa GeoStation GeoPal (Itoigawa Station Alps Exit)
◇Activities: Snowglobe-making, Felt and Pinecone Christmas Tree Making, Cardboard Frisbee and more!
※Participation fee is collected to cover material costs.
※No reservation is needed, but supplies are limited!
◇For more info, contact the Itoigawa Tourism Association: TEL.025-555-7344パルクリ/

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【10/29】Salt Trail Walking Event

Enjoy history and autumn colors while walking the ancient Salt Trail once used to transport salt and marine produce to the inland provinces of Japan.

◇Time: Oct 29 (Sun) 8:30
◇Fee: 2000 yen
◇Limit 60 people

Visit the page below to sign-up (Japanese)

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Fossa Magna Park Closure Notice

The Fossa Magna Park, where visitors can see an exposed section of the Itoigawa-Shizuoka Tectonic Line, is undergoing extensive renovations, including a complete reconstruction and redesign of the fault exposure. Construction will begin this year in October with the park scheduled to reopen before Summer 2018.

◇The walkway from Route 148 will be completely closed during this time.

◇The pillow lava exposure near Shimonechi Rural Park will remain open throughout the construction.

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New English Pamphlets for the Nechi Yamadera En'nen Festival

We have released new English pamphlets for the Nechi Yamadera En'nen Festival, popularly known as Oteteko-mai.

This ancient festival is a rare surviving relic of a time when the lines between Buddhism and Shinto were blurred. The festival is held by Konzoin Temple and Hiyoshi Shrine in Yamadera, a small community deep in the heart of Nechi Valley.

The festival is held every year on September 1 and features a number of ancient dances, music and singing. Check out the attached PDF for details!

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【7/15~10/15】Itoigawa Mt. Shirouma Base Camp & Renge Hot Springs Bus

The bus route between Itoigawa Station and Renge Hot Springs is open for the 2017 season. Enjoy the Renge Hot Springs, 1500 m above sea level along Mt. Korenge and Mt. Shirouma.

Bus runs four times daily from July 15 until August 20. 1790 yen one way plus 310 luggage fee.

Departs 6:17, 9:00, 10:20, 13:05. Returns 8:15, 11:00, 12:35, 15:15
Ride time from Itoigawa Station to Renge Hot Springs is about 1.5 hours.

From August 26 until October 15, the bus runs twice daily on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays only.

Departs 6:17 and 11:50. Returns 8:15 and 14:45.

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【7/22~10/22】Mt. Amakazari Base Camp Taxi Shuttle

A special direct taxi shuttle is available to take you from Itoigawa Station to the trail head for climbing Mt. Amakazari, one of Japan's 100 Famous Mountains.
The taxi departs twice daily and costs 1000 yen one way.

The taxi is available on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays from July 22 until October 22.
Departure times are at 7:10 and 15:00 from Itoigawa Station
Return times are 8:30 and 16:20 from Amakazari Hot Springs Lodge

Reservation is required at least one day in advance (before noon).

To reserve a seat on the shuttle, please call Itoigawa Taxi at 025-552-0818

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Registration Open for the Maikomidaira Tour!

Explore the Maikomidaira Flats, a rugged area of karst topography in the mountains of Itoigawa Geopark home to alpine plant life and Japan's 4 deepest limestone caverns. Normally inaccessible to the public, it is opened for visitors during this tour only!

◇Times: 9 tours betwee July 16 and November 3
 7/16, 7/29, 8/11, 8/20, 9/3, 9/17, 10/7, 10/22, 11/3
◇Max. Occupancy: 20 per tour
◇Fee: 7,500 yen
◇To apply please contact Sanai Travel Agency at
※Tour and guidance is in the Japanese language.

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Mountain Climbing Season Begins

The following mountains will officially open for the 2017 season. Feel free to join in on the opening climb!

Mt. Komagatake
◇Time: June 4 (Sun) 8:00 a.m.
◇Meeting points:
 ・Umidani Route: Umidani Sankyo Park
 ・Yamadera Route: Hotel White Cliff

Mt. Myojo
◇Time: June 11 (Sun)
 ・Prayer Ceremony 7:30 a.m.
 ・Climibg Begins 8:00 a.m.
◇Meeting point: Kotaki Regional Community Center

Mt. Hokogatake
◇Time: July 2 (Sun)
◇Meeting point: Registration at Kamihayakawa Regional Community Center 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 a.m.

Mt. Amakazari
◇Time: July 2 (Sun) 6:00 a.m.
◇Meeting point: Amakazari Lodge (Amakazari Hot Springs)

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Kotakigawa Jade Gorge Trekking Tour

Join us on a trekking tour of the upper reaches of the Kotaki River, where the many waterfalls that give Kotaki River its name can be found. (Kotaki means "Small Waterfalls" in Japanese)
What better way to start off summer than with a GeoTour?

◇Time: July 1 (Sat) 8:30 - 16:00
 ※Meetup at 8:30 at Itoigawa Station North Entrance
 ※In the event of poor weather, tour will be held on Sunday, July 2
◇Fee: 3,000 yen (Incl. insurance and bus fare)
◇Max. Occupancy: 35
◇Deadline: June 23 (Fri)
◇Please bring packed lunch, drink, towel, raingear and clothing suitable for trekking.
◇To apply please mail the Itoigawa Geopark Promotion Office at [email protected]
※Trekking tours are provided in the Japanese language

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Don't Forget to File a Climbing Plan!

Since the Spring of 2016, the area covering a radius of 1 kilometer from the peak of Mt. Yakeyama has been off-limits due to increased volcanic activity. Those planning to hike within 2 kilometers of the peak are required by law to file an official climbing plan with the Itoigawa Police Station.

Please be advised that the Mt. Yakeyama is an active volcano and has seen an increase in volcanic activity including steam production and volcanic earthquakes. Since its minor eruption last year, the activity has been calming down, but volcanic activity is difficult to predict, so hikers must always take precaution.

Hikers who do not file a climbing plan before entering the area around the mountain may be subject to disciplinary action.

※The gate to climb Mt. Yakeyama will be open on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays starting in Mid June.

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【Museum Closure】Museum Ship Etsuzanmaru

The Museum Ship Etsuzanmaru, located next to Marine Dream Nou, will be closed from May 23 until June 30 as it undergoes renovations. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding.

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About the Clouding of the Kotaki River

The cause of the recent clouding of the Kotaki River is currently under investigation. Tests of the water quality show that the water poses no health hazards.

Particle analysis shows that the cloudy water contains microscopic fragments of serpentinite and tremolite. Their appearance in the water is likely the result of a landslide in one of the tributaries of the Kotaki River.

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【Limited Time】Takanami-no-Ike Pond All-You-Can-Eat Mountain Vegetables!

At the Takanami-no-Ike Pond Restaurant, you can enjoy all-you-can-eat wild mountain vegetables picked by the local people for only 1000 yen!
This limited time offer is only available from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. May 6 to May 12, so don't delay!

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Our Email Address is Changing!

The Itoigawa UNESCO Global Geopark's email address is changing. Starting April 1, 2017, our email address will be [email protected]

All other emails currently ending in "" will also change to the new "" domain.

We will be working to update the site as quickly as possible, but in the meantime please take care to use the new email when contacting us after April 1.

We apologize for any convenience this may cause, but appreciate your cooperation and understanding.

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【4/29】 Takanami-no-Ike Pond, Fishing Park & Kotaki Marugoto Museum Open

On Saturday, April 29 the Takanami-no-Ike Pond and the Jade Gorge Fishing Park reopened for the 2017 season.

The first floor of the Highland Lodge, located beside the Takanami Restaurant, has been renovated as the Kotaki Marugoto Museum! It acts as a satellite museum of the Fossa Magna Museum and features information displays and a variety of exhibits about the Kotaki Region. Admission is free, so be sure to check it out!

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【4/24】Nou Hakusan Shrine Spring Grand Festival

On April 24, Nou Hakusan Shrine will hold its Spring Grand Festival. This festival dates back hundreds of years and centers around a series of elegant 'bugaku' court dances performed by local people in elaborate costumes. The dances culminate in the stirring Ryo'o-no-Mai, performed in the light of the setting sun.

The court dances performed are recognized as Nationally Important Intangible Cultural Properties. Likewise, Nou Hakusan Shrine itself is a Nationally Important Cultural Property; the shrine's history is said to date back to prehistoric time, but the current main hall was last rebuilt over 500 years ago during Japan's Muromachi Period.

Please check the URL below for more information.

◇Time: Apr 24, 2017 (Mon) 1:00 p.m.
◇Place: Nou Hakusan Shrine (7239 Nou, Itoigawa)
◇Google Map:

20 min walk from Nou Station.

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【4/16】Nikkoji Temple Fighting Festival

On April 16, Nikkoji Temple will hold its Fighting Festival from 1:30 p.m. This festival, in which two teams of young men face off in a fight using portable 'omikoshi' shrines, is unusual among Japanese festivals because it combines both Buddhist and Shinto elements. The festival is held as a joint festival by the Shingon Buddhist Nikkoji Temple and the nearby Shinto Hakusan Shrine.

Because it is a smaller festival than the more famous Itoigawa Fighting Festival, you can get much closer to the action!

◇Time: April 16, 2007 (Sun) 1:30 p.m.
◇Place: Nikkoji Temple (377 Nikkoji, Itoigawa City)
◇Google Map:

5 min walk from the Shindo Bus Stop on the Hayakawa Line
1 hr walk from Kajiyashiki Station

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【4/10 & 11】Itoigawa City Fighting Festival (Kenka Matsuri)

The Itoigawa City Fighting Festival will be held at Amatsu Shrine, a 5 min walk from Itoigawa Station, on April 10 and 11. In this ancient festival, two teams of men representing the nearby districts of Teramachi and Oshiage face off in a fight using large portable 'omikoshi' shrines.

The fight begins at approximately 11:00 a.m. on the April 10 and lasts for about an hour to an hour and a half. Following the fight, the festival changes mood as local children and adults take the center stage and perform centuries old 'bugaku' court dances. These elegant dances are registered as a Nationally Important Intangible Cultural Property.

Itoigawa Fighting Festival
Apr 10
11:00 Running of the Shrines
11:30 Fighting Shrines
12:30 Fight Finale
13:00 Bugaku Court Dances

Apr 11
13:00 Bugaku Court Dances Reprise
17:30 Festival Ends

※Check the link for details (PDF)

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We will be participating in the Geopark Fair!

We will be joining the Geopark Fair held by the UNESCO Global Geopark Prefectural Federation.

The fair will be from 11:00 - 17:00 on Saturday, 4 February 2017 in front of Yurakucho Station in Tokyo.

Come down and meet Geopark Mascot Character Nuna and enjoy a jade hunting activity from 13:15 until 14:45!

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【1/15】 Itoigawa Omi Take-no-Karakai New Year's Festival

Join us in Omi this Sunday (January 15) from 12:30 p.m. for the Omi Take-no-Karakai (Omi Bamboo Fighting Festival). This centuries-old festival, held every January 15 in front of Omi Station, rings in the New Year with an unusual display. The community of Omi divides into two teams, East and West, and engage in an intense tug-of-war using two freshly felled bamboo poles. The winning team is said to be blessed with a bountiful harvest in the New Year.

Afterwards, the festivities move to the nearby beach, where pyres are built using the old religious charms and New Year's decorations. The teams gather around their fires and chant to dispel evil spirits and bring good fortune.

The festival is totally unique in all of Japan and is registered as a Nationally Important Cultural Property of Japan. Check the attached PDF for more information!

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