Topics 2016

【12/27】 Geopark Sites Affected by the Itoigawa Station North Fire

We would like to thank everyone for their kind words of sympathy and encouragement on the occasion of the Itoigawa Station North Fire which occurred on December 22nd.

The fire occurred entirely within the area of the Itoigawa Coast Geosite, on the Sea of Japan side of Itoigawa Station. The following tourist and cultural facilities are all still open:

【Itoigawa Coast Geosite Facility Info】
◇Itoigawa GeoStation GeoPal: Open
◇Gyokusuien Garden & Tanimura Art Museum: Open
◇Itoigawa Museum of History & Folklore (Soma Gyofu Memorial Hall): Open
◇Itoigawa Black Yakisoba Participating Restaurants (23 shops): All Open
◇Geopark Rice Bowl Participating Restaurants (23 shops): Some affected
◇Omichiyo Gozen Participating Restaurants (18 shops): Some affected
◇Itoigawa Seafood Shuttle Bus (15 shops): Some affected
◇Geopark Master Shops: Some affected
◇Kaga-no-I Brewery: Affected; Brewery Tours are Unavailable

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【12/9】 Itoigawa UNESCO Global Geopark is Revalidated as a Japanese Geopark!

Today, the 9th of December 2016, at the 29th meeting of the Japanese Geoparks Committee in Tokyo, Itoigawa UNESCO Global Geopark was revalidated as a Japanese Geopark!

For more information, please see the attached release.

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Itoigawa Geopark Neckties On Sale!

The Itoigawa Geopark Council is proud to present new neckties featuring Nuna, one of the Itoigawa Geopark Mascot Characters. The neckties are available in red, blue and green.

These neckties are a great way to show your support for the Itoigawa UNESCO Global Geopark, so buy one today at the following locations:

・Oyashirazu Pier Park
・Fossa Magna Museum
・Marine Dream Nou
・Tanimura Art Museum & Gyoksuien Garden
・Itoigawa City Tourism Association

Price: 1,800 yen each

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Jade Chosen as the National Stone of Japan

On September 24th the Japan Association of Mineralogical Sciences selected jade to be the National Stone of Japan at a conference held at Kanazawa University.

The selection was made based on two criteria: ①A beautiful, well-known stone that can be found in Japan ②A stone of global significance both geologically and in other fields. Having met these two qualifications, jade joined the final list of candidates along with granite, stibnite, native gold and quartz. The voting pared the list down to quartz and jade, but the final round of voting selected jade as Japan's National Stone.

Japan's largest and highest quality jade deposits can be found in the Itoigawa UNESCO Global Geopark. Indeed, the Itoigawa region is the only region in Japan that produces gemstone-quality jade. We welcome this announcement and the opportunity it gives us to share Itoigawa's geological heritage to a wider audience, but ask that visitors and local community members alike remember the importance of preserving that geological heritage for future generations.

For more information about the conference, please follow the link below: (Japanese)

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【New Train Pass】JR Osaka-Tokyo Hokuriku Arch Pass

Looking for a new way to explore Japan? Try the new JR Osaka-Tokyo Hokuriku Arch Pass which connects Tokyo and the Kyoto-Osaka region via the Hokuriku Shinkansen.

The JR Hokuriku Arch Pass offers users 7 days of unlimited travel on the Hokuriku Shinkansen and the Hokuriku Main Line along with JR trains in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and more!

In addition to the Itoigawa UNESCO Global Geopark, explore such famous destinations as Nagano, Toyama and the historic city of Kanazawa. Experience a different side of Japan with the JR Hokuriku Arch Pass!

Visit Japan Rail's official page for more information.

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【8/27】 Princess Nunakawa & Great Mortar Festival

This Saturday, August 27, Marine Dream Nou will host the Princess Nunakawa & Great Mortar Festival.

The festival celebrates the marriage of Princess Nunakawa, who ruled the Itoigawa region nearly 2000 years ago, to Okuninushi-no-Mikoto of Izumo Province. The story of these two gods is recorded in many ancient texts, including the Kojiki, Japan's oldest surviving historical record.

In addition to a reenactment of their marriage, the festival will feature a massive 15 ton rice mortar. The local sumo team will pound rice in this mortar to make rice cakes for everyone in attendance. Visitors can try pounding the rice, too!

For more info, contact:
Itoigawa City Tourism Association, Nou Branch
TEL 025-566-2214

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Itoigawa Geopark Affected by Typhoon Mindulle (UPDATE)

Typhoon Mindulle made landfall along Japan's eastern seaboard on August 22, bringing torrential rainfall and strong winds to Northern and Eastern Japan.

Although sheltered from the worst of the storm by the Japanese Alps, heavy rainfall overnight in the mountainous regions of the Itoigawa UNESCO Global Geopark caused serious flooding and debris flows.

Currently no deaths or injuries have been reported, although there has been some damage to homes and businesses.


Traffic on National Route 148 has been restored. Service on the Oito Line remains suspended until further notice. Please use the shuttle buses provided by JR West.

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【8/20】 Itoigawa Geopark Learn & Play 2016

The Itoigawa UNESCO Global Geopark's popular summer event is coming next weekend!
Enjoy a variety of activities including stone collections, magatama bead crafting and sea salt making. It's a great summer project for kids and parents are sure to enjoy it, too. Bring the entire family this Saturday, August 20 at the Oyashirazu Pier Park!

◇Time: August 20 (Sat) 9:30~14:00
 ※Reception closes at 13:30
◇Place: Road Station Oyashirazu Pier Park (903-1 Tonami, Itoigawa)
 ※3 min from Oyashirazu IC by car, 15 min walk from Oyashirazu Station
◇Activity Fee: 300 yen to 500 yen per activity
◇For more info, contact the Itoigawa Geopark Council
 Inside the Itoigawa City Tourism Exchange Division
 TEL. 025-552-1511
※All activities are conducted in Japanese

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Historic Souma Gyofu House Closed for Renovations

The Historic Souma Gyofu House, located in the Itoigawa Coast Geosite, will be closed until next April to undergo extensive renovations. These renovations will help protect this important piece of Itoigawa history from earthquakes and fire and are not expected to affect the appearance of the house. We appreciate your understanding during the renovation.

The Gyofu House will be closed from July 1, 2016 through March 31, 2017.

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Mountain Opening Information

The following mountains will be officially opened for the 2016 climbing season with a "Yamabiraki" mountain opening climb and ceremony.

◆Mt. Komagatake
Enjoy a beautiful panorama of the Northern Alps and the Sea of Japan from the peak of this rugged peak between Nechi Valley and the Umidani Gorge.
・Time: June 5 (Sun)
Participation Fee: 500 yen (Incl. Memorial Photograph)

◆Mt. Myojo
A rock climber's paradise, this limestone mountain towers over the Kotakigawa Jade Gorge. Enjoy views of the Northern Alps and the Kotakigawa Jade Gorge Geosite from its peak.
・Time: June 12 (Sun)
Participation Fee: 500 yen (Incl. Memorial Photograph)

◆Mt. Hokogatake
One of the Hayakawa Valley's most beautiful peaks. The climb is a rugged one, but the view from this peak of the active volcano Mt. Yakeyama is one you'll not soon forget.
・Time: July 3 (Sun)
・Participation Fee: Adults 500 yen, Children 300 yen

◆Mt. Amakazariyama
One of the 100 Famous Mountains of Japan. It's famous for its beautiful green slopes and its twin peaks said to look like cat's ears.
・Time: July 3 (Sun)

For more information about these climbing opportunities, contact the Itoigawa Geopark Office at [email protected]

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【6/5】 Geopark Total Exploration Squad

Discover the Land of Stones at the Omigawa Jade Gorge Geosite June 5th on the Geopark Total Exploration Squad for children aged 9 - 12.

Limit 20 participants, 1000 yen fee applies.

Please contact the Geopark Promotion Office by Friday, May 27 to apply.

※Japanese language tour

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Hayakawa Wisteria Festival

The Hayakawa Wisteria Festival will begin on May 1 (Sun) and last until May 15 (Sun)

The Hayakawa District is the location of Tsukimizu-no-Ike Pond, famous for its many wild wisteria flowers. The local people cultivate wisteria plants and display them along the main street during this festival.

◇Time: May 1 (Sun) - May 15 (Sun)
◇Place: Aramachi, Itoigawa

Tsukimizu-no-Ike Pond Wisteria Festival
On May 15 (Sun), enjoy local food and wisteria plants on sale at Tsukimizu-no-Ike Pond.

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New English Smartphone App - Gururi Itoigawa

The Itoigawa UNESCO Global Geopark has a new English app for Android and iOS. Download Gururi Itoigawa today and explore the Itoigawa Geopark like never before!



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【4/24】 Spring Satoyama Nature Tour

The first GeoTour of the new fiscal year! Explore the area around Nabikiyama and come face to face with the Gifu butterfly (Luehdorfia japonica) and other plants and animals.

◇Time: Apr 24 (9:00 - 15:00)
 Meetup: 9:00 Oumi Culture Center
 ・Dr. Hiroshi Yashiki (Japan Mammalian Society)
 ・Dr. Ko Takenouchi (City Curator)
◇Limit 30
◇Fee: 100 yen (Insurance and materials fee)
◇Bring lunch, drink, rain gear, writing utensils, etc.
◇Sign-up: Apr 14 (Thu) - Apr 22 (Fri)
◇For more information, call the Fossa Magna Museum at 025-553-1880

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Itoigawa Rent-a-Cycles Can be Rented at Marine Dream Nou

In addition to Itoigawa Station, rental bicycles can be rented at the Marine Dream Nou Road Station. What better way to explore the Benten-iwa Geosite and Nou Region?

Visit the Tourist Information desk in Marine Dream Nou for more information.

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【4/7】 Miyama Park Cherry Blossoms

The cherry blossoms of Miyama Park will be presented on UX Niigata TV during the morning live talk show "Niigata Live & Talk" today.

◇Date: April 7 (Thu)
◇Time: 9:55 - 10:30 (3 - 4 min)
◇Content: Director will report on the cherry blossoms of Miyama Park.

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【4/1】 Fossa Magna Park Opens

The Fossa Magna Park will open from Friday, April 1st.

At the Fossa Magna Park, visitors can see an exposed portion of the Itoigawa-Shizuoka Tectonic Line which splits Japan between two continental plates.

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【3/12~】 Itoigawa Town Rent-a-Cycle Season Starts

Starting March 12, the Itoigawa Town Rent-a-Cycle will be available for the 2016 Season!
Enjoy the Itoigawa UNESCO Global Geopark at your own pace on one of these rental bicycles.

Bicycles can be rented at either Itoo Bicycles near Itoigawa Station's Sea of Japan Exit (North Exit) or at the GeoPal Tourist Information Center in Itoigawa Station's Alps Exit (South Exit).

【Distance from Itoigawa Station to Various Tourist Spots】
◆Kaga-no-I Brewery, Sea of Japan Lookout 200m
◆Itoigawa Museum of History & Folklore, Amatsu Shrine 900m
◆Jade Coast 1.8㎞
◆Hisuien Garden, Tanimura Art Museum, Gyoksuien Garden 1.8㎞
◆Fossa Magna Museum, Chojagahara Archaeological Museum, Miyama Park 3㎞
 ※Steep slope

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Access to Mt. Yakeyama Restricted Until Further Notice

In Summer 2015, the steam from Mt. Yakeyama was reported to be rising higher than usual and since December has increased in volume.
There is no change to the volcano alert level, which remains at 1, the lowest alert level for an active volcano. However, with the safety of our guests in mind, access to the area within 1 kilometer of the volcano's peak will be restricted. Please do not approach the area within 1 kilometer of Mt. Yakeyama's peak. ※Photograph taken in January 2016

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Geoparks Niigata International Forum PR Video

A new video has been released promoting the Geoparks Niigata International Forum to be held in July 2016.
The video includes features of Niigata Prefecture's three Geoparks.

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Sai no Kami Festival Homepage

Sai no Kami is a traditional New Year's festival held throughout Japan. It is an exceptionally local festival and each region has its own Sai no Kami traditions and events.

Over 60 distinct Sai no Kami festivals are held in the Itoigawa Global Geopark from mid January through early February. Some of these are open to outside visitors and even outside participation.

Experience a truly local New Year's festival this year by joining a Sai no Kami festival this year. Learn more at our Sai no Kami homepage below.

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