Press Tour (No.082)


Foreign Correspondents’ Press Tour (Nara&Osaka) 

 Organized by The Foundation for Kansai Region Promotion 

Coopereated by Nara Pref., Asuka Village, Osaka Pref. Osaka City

Feb.18(Mon.)-19(Tue.), 2013




The place where you can meet and enjoy the genuine ancient Japan


■ Asuka Village

サイズ小村長写真.jpg -The charm of the village introduced by Mayor Yuichi Morikawa

   He is promoting the entire village a kind of museum

 -The world of Man’yoshu: Nara Prefecture Complex of Man’yo Culture

 -Peaceful rural scenery, mysterious stone structures from ancient times



■Archaeological Institute of Kashihara, Nara Prefecture

   A research institute for buried cultural properties in Nara石舞台ph_kfn1.jpg










Rediscover the potential of Osaka!

~Next-generation energy technologies, sightseeing resources and urban charm~


Project to Make Advanced Use of Urban Exhaust Heat Generated by Waste Incineration

  Make maximum use of exhaust heat at incineration plant ! WEB大正工場中央制御室.JPG





Osaka Prefecture-City Urban Attraction Development Strategy

 -Major sightseeing spots in Osaka: Shinsekai & Tsutenkaku Tower

 WEB都市魅力表紙用.JPG-Water Metropolis Osaka: water corridor cruising 










*Please refer to the Highlights of the Tour for the details of each topic.



Tour Date Feb 18(Mon) - Feb 19(Tue),2013
Qualification Bearer of Press ID card issued by Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Tour Fee Please refer to the attached application form (ID and Pass Word required)
Organized by

The Foundation for Kansai Region Promotion
Osaka Nakanoshima Building 7F, 2-2-2 Nakanoshima Kitaku, Osaka City 

Cooperated by Nara Prefecture, Asuka Village, Osaka Prefecture, Osaka City
Capacity 15 (1 reporter from each company, 2 for a TV company - 2 TV companies max for this tour)
Closing date/time for Application Feb 5(Tue),2013 05:00 PM
■Applications will be accepted on this page by the time of the above-mentioned deadline, but please note that if the number of applicants has reached the prescribed number before your application, your name will be put on a waiting list for cancellation.

■The Foundation may set an upper limit on the number of participants from each country/region and may decide participants in view of their past records based on the press tours if the reporters joined in the past, when it receives oversubscribed applications.

■The Foundation shall bear no responsibility whatsoever for any accidents or inconveniences that may arise during a press tour. The itinerary is subject to change due to weather conditions or other circumstances.

The Highlights of the Tour


NARA -The place where you can meet and enjoy the genuine ancient Japan


    The Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters) and the Nihon-shoki (Chronicles of Japan) are the two oldest existing historical records of Japan. The year 2012 marked the 1300th anniversary of the Kojiki’s completion; the year 2020 will mark the 1300th anniversary of the Nihon Shoki’s completion. As a place where both of the documents were compiled, and where many Man’yo poems contained in the Man’yoshu (Japan’s oldest collection of poetry) were created, Nara Prefecture is promoting the “Kiki-Man’yo Project,” which spans the nine years between these commemorative years. By maximizing local historical resources, including documents, tomb mounds and archeological sites, the Project seeks to promote Nara to a wider audience, both at home and abroad, as a place where visitors can experience the genuine ancient Japan.


   The tour takes you to the treasure house of ancient monuments—Asuka Village and Kashihara City. After hearing from Asuka Mayor Yuichi Morikawa about the charm of the village, you will visit the Nara Prefecture Complex of Man’yo Culture, a museum on the theme of Man’yoshu, and stone structures discovered in the village. In Kashihara City, adjacent to Asuka, you will visit the Archaeological Institute of Kashihara, Nara Prefecture.

Nara KiKi Man’yo Project (Japanese)

Nara Tourism Info.



[Asuka Village]


   サイズ小村長写真.jpgAsuka Village, Nara Pref., is where the capital of ancient Japan (Asuka-kyo) was located for some 100 years (593-694). The Asuka area was not only the political center of Japan, where the ritsuryo system (centralized government system based on ritsuryo codes) was established following the Taika Reform, but also the cultural center where Asuka Culture flourished. Many important historical and cultural properties are therefore still found throughout the village, including remains of imperial palaces and temples, burial mounds and landscapes described in Man’yo poems. These historical monuments are harmoniously integrated with the surrounding environment, creating a unique historical landscape. Asuka Village is promoting a project to make the entire village a kind of museum, where visitors can feel and experience ancient times, by making full use of the village’s historical and cultural assets. It is the only municipality in Japan whose entire area has been preserved under the Ancient Capitals Preservation Law. The Asuka/Fujiwara area, which covers Asuka Village, Kashihara City and Sakurai City, is on a tentative list of World Heritage Sites.

   Asuka Mayor Yuichi Morikawa will introduce you the charm of the village and other interesting stories.

Asuka Village



[Ishibutai Tumulus]


   石舞台ph_kfn1.jpgThe Ishibutai Tumulus is a symbol of Asuka. The Tumulus is built using 39 large stones with a total weight of over 2,200 tons. The tumulus has one of the largest stone chambers in Japan (3.6m wide and 4.7m high). Originally, the tumulus was covered with soil, but the soil on the top has eroded away, exposing the huge roof stones. The tumulus is believed to be the tomb of Soga no Umako, since Umako is thought to have lived in this area. The tumulus was named after the legend that on a moonlit night, a fox danced on this stone-stage.



[Turtle-Shaped Stone Object]


   亀形石ph_fgr1.jpgThis is thought to have been built by Empress Saimei for religious ceremonies. On the top of the hill is a mysterious stone called Sakafune-ishi and archeological excavations have revealed a stone wall, halfway up the hill. The turtle-shaped stone object was excavated in 2000 at the bottom of the valley on the north side of the hill. This turtle-shaped stone is designed to store water in a bowl-shaped hole on its back.




[Den Asuka Itabuki Miya Ato (Legendary Site of Asuka Itabuki Palace)]


    板蓋宮ph_ruins2.jpgThis site is where successive emperors of the Asuka period (593-694) built their palaces, and was a center of politics where laws were made and ceremonies were conducted. This is also the location where political coups, including the Taika Reform, occurred. The politics and the culture that flourished here were passed down to Fujiwara-kyo and Heijo-kyo, thence on through successive eras, forming the basis of the present Japanese political system and lifestyle.




[Nara Prefecture Complex of Man’yo Culture]


   Mサイズ小万葉文化館(外観).jpgan’yoshu, literally meaning the Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves, the oldest existing collection of Japanese poetry, contains about 4,500 poems composed all over Japan, the majority of which have Nara as their theme. All over Nara Prefecture there are historical landscapes and natural scenery associated with Man’yoshu.


   Nara Prefecture Complex of Man’yo Culture is a comprehensive cultural center devoted to the culture of ancient times centered around Man’yoshu. Opened in Asuka District in Asuka Village in September 2001, it takes you into the Man’yo world featuring Japanese-style paintings based on Man’yo poems and the Man’yo Theater depicting emotions of court poets etc. It also contains a full-size reconstruction of part of the remains of a mint that produced Japan’s oldest coins (Fuhon-sen), which were discovered at the underground construction site.

Nara Pref. Complex of Man’yo Culture (Japanese)



[Archaeological Institute of Kashihara, Nara Prefecture]


   橿考研新.JPGIn Nara Prefecture, the center of ancient Japan, there are a large number of buried cultural properties of various types, including imperial palace sites and burial mounds. These are precious cultural heritages and important materials for historical and cultural research.


   The Archaeological Institute of Kashihara, Nara Prefecture, is the oldest existing archaeological institute in Japan. Known nationwide for its excavations of the Takamatsuzuka Tomb and the Fujinoki Tomb, the Institute not only conducts research on buried cultural properties in Nara, but also is actively involved in overseas research projects, including excavations and surveys, as well as international exchange programs with overseas research institutions, mainly in East Asia. The Institute also works to disseminate its research results widely to the public, through exhibitions at the attached museum and publications.


   On the tour, you will receive from Kazuaki Yoshimura, Chief Researcher of the Institute, brief overviews of the Institute’s activities and the latest information on its ongoing research projects. You will also visit some areas of the Institute: the archives storage that stores drawings and photographs of excavated articles; the store room for artifacts requiring special handling; and the conservation laboratory, where scientific preservation treatment is carried out.

(Photos: Above/excavation site; Middle/staff members cataloging excavated artifacts; Below/depository, preservation treatment building)

Archaeological Institute of Kashihara, Nara Pref.






■OSAKA -Rediscover the potential of Osaka!

~Next-generation energy technologies, sightseeing resources and urban charm~



[Project to Make Advanced Use of Urban Exhaust Heat Generated by Waste Incineration / Taisho Incineration Plant, Osaka City]


   WEB大正工場文中.JPGPower generation using waste incineration heat is widely undertaken at waste incineration plants across Japan. Currently, however, low-temperature exhaust heat remaining in the steam after power generation (“low-temperature exhaust heat”) is disposed of; if such heat could be utilized, energy efficiency would be further improved. Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd., Osaka Gas Co., Ltd., the City of Osaka and Osaka Prefecture have launched a joint project to make advanced use of urban exhaust heat generated by waste incineration (*1). Under the project, a binary power generation system (*2) has been installed at the Osaka City Taisho Incineration Plant to generate electricity using low-temperature exhaust heat (80℃ -120℃).


    To explore the possibility of efficient and wide-area utilization of waste incineration heat, the project also plans to store waste incineration heat and deliver heat to consumers in the surrounding area (within a radius of approx. 10 km) of the Plant by using heat transportation vehicles (*3). It is common in Japan and Western countries to distribute heat via pipelines over short distances. It is difficult to construct new heat pipelines in existing urban environments, but newly developed thermal transportation technologies can realize the wide-area utilization of exhaust heat. The project plan is to assess the possibility of delivering heat via heat transportation vehicles and examine efficient transportation methods.


   Another plan is to introduce an energy management system (EMS) to optimize heat utilization within the Taisho Plant and the neighboring community. It aims at improving overall energy efficiency by 25% over the present level.


   This project is unprecedented in seeking to optimize exhaust heat utilization through integrated application of technologies and systems. It can also be said that this project is very similar to the concept of Energy Center Initiative aiming to ensure an independent energy generation in each community that produces a certain amount of electricity and supplies generated electricity to consumers within the community, in addition to utilizing exhaust heat and other renewable energies generated at refining plant or waste incineration plants. Currently, many waste incineration plants around the world are facing problems with aging furnaces and low energy efficiency of thermal use facilities. These problems can be solved by maximizing exhaust heat recovery that is more cost effective and energy efficient than replacing the conventional facilities. The companies involved in this project set out to expand their systems in incineration plants and other facilities that generate large amounts of exhaust heat in Japan and abroad, including emerging countries.


   The key issue is how to enhance the value of exhaust heat generated by waste incineration, and how to make maximum use of it. The tour will take you to the demonstration experiment site to learn about the project in detail including the development of technologies/systems and project operation.

(Photos: Above/Taisho Plant; Below/waste pit)


(*1) A joint project implemented from 2011 to 2013 by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd., Osaka Gas Co., Ltd., the City of Osaka and Osaka Prefecture, as part of the Next-Generation Energy Technology Demonstration Initiative funded by New Energy Promotion Council. Test operation of systems and equipment is scheduled to start at the end of this January.


(*2) An energy-efficient power generation system developed by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. The system drives a turbine to produce electricity by heating and vaporizing a working medium at low boiling-point (approx. 34°C) and using the subsequent volume expansion. Kawasaki is in charge of building a factory energy management system (F-EMS) to optimize heat use at the Taisho Plant by operating F-EMS in conjunction with the community energy management system (C-EMS).


(*3) Trucks etc. equipped with thermal storage tanks enable delivery of heat to consumers in areas neighboring a thermal source. Osaka Gas Co., Ltd. is in charge of establishing a C-EMS that optimizes heat use within Taisho Plant and neighboring community. 




[Osaka Prefecture-City Urban Attraction Development Strategy]




   To win the intensifying global inter-city competition, in December 2012 Osaka Prefecture and the City of Osaka jointly developed a strategy for creating and disseminating new urban charms of Osaka. The Strategy has identified three priority projects and five priority development areas. Setting 2015 as the target year, Osaka Prefecture and the City of Osaka seek to create new urban charms of Osaka that will be admired by people around the world, through effective implementation of events and activities, so as to attract people, goods and finance from around the world.


   On this tour, after you are briefed on the Strategy, you will visit the Shinsekai area in Tennoji-Abeno district, one of the priority development areas that aim to strengthen their drawing power. You will also tour by boat the “Water Corridor” (a priority project; Osaka is going to promote it to the world) and experience the charm of Water Metropolis Osaka.



[Shinsekai and Tsutenkaku Tower]


   In Naniwa Ward in Osaka City there is an area called Shinsekai (New World). In 1912, two landmark facilities were opened on the site where the Fifth National Industrial Exhibition (1903) was held: Tsutenkaku Tower, which had an eccentric design combining the Eiffel Tower on top of the Arch of Triumph (*1), and Luna Park, which was modeled after an amusement park in NY. People were astonished and shouted, “This is a new world!” The area became to be called Shinsekai. Over the 100 years since then, Shinsekai has been one of the popular places in Osaka. The area is also known for its many restaurants serving a deep-fried dish called kushikatsu. With the recent B-grade gourmet boom, kushikatsu has become increasingly popular; around this area are many kushikatsu restaurants with long lines of people waiting to get in.


   Tsutenkaku, an observatory tower 100 meters above ground, has always been the symbol of Shinsekai. In 2012, Tsutenkaku celebrated the 100th anniversary of its opening, attracting more visitors than before. On the 5th floor observation platform is enshrined the Billiken statue. It is believed that if you rub the soles of his feet, you will have good luck.


   The tour will visit the area under the guidance of the Shinsekai Shopping Street Promoting Association. You can enjoy a walk around this vibrant downtown area of distinctive atmosphere, and explore its charm. (*1)The present one is the second constructed in 1956.

(Photos: Above/Tsutenkaku; Below/ Shinsekai area)

Shinsekai Info (Japanese)



[Water Metropolis Osaka—water corridor cruising]


   WEBリバークルーズ本文用2.JPGDue to its geographical location surrounded by sea and rivers, Osaka has always thrived around water. Naniwa-zu (old name of Osaka Port) was the most important international trading port in ancient Japan. Hachikenyahama (on the left bank of the Okawa River, which flows through downtown Osaka) flourished as a landing place for ships traveling between Osaka and Kyoto.


   During the Edo period, canals were built and rivers were improved throughout the city to efficiently move goods and people. With its well-developed waterways, Osaka came to be called the “Water Capital.” Around that time, feudal lords from all over Japan established their warehouses on Nakanoshima, an island between the Tosabori and Dojima Rivers, making the area a center of distribution where goods (mainly rice paid as tax) from all over Japan were concentrated. Later, the world’s first futures exchange market was established in Nakanoshima. Though the political center shifted to Tokyo, Osaka remained at the center of the Japanese economy and distribution, and flourished as the “Nation’s Kitchen.” It is no exaggeration to say that Osaka’s prosperity was underpinned by the well-developed water transportation network.


   In the center of Osaka there is a water corridor, which forms a square with the five rivers (Dojima, Tosabori, Kizu, Dotombori and Higashi-Yokobori). A city center encircled by rivers is rarely seen anywhere in the world. In recent years, various projects have been implemented in Osaka to create attractive and vibrant waterfront areas for people’s recreation and relaxation.


   The tour takes you on a sightseeing boat cruise along the water corridor (guided by a professional comic storyteller); the cruise departs from Namba, and takes you to view interesting points, such as sluice gates that control the water level, illuminated bridges and river walls etc. A water corridor cruise will give you the opportunity to experience from the water the charm and vibrant atmosphere of Water Metropolis Osaka.

(Photos: Above/sightseeing boat; Below/cruise guide [comic storyteller])

Osaka Tour Boat Info. (Japanese)





Feb 18(Mon)

Meet at Shinkansen Kyoto Station
(Travel to Nara by Kintetsu Ltd. Express Train on meeting)

Arrive in Nara (Kashihara-jingu mae Sta.)


Briefing on KiKi Man'yo Project by Nara Pref.

Interview with Asuka Mayor

Nara Pref. Complex of Man'yo Culture

Spots in Asuka Village

Archaeological Institute of Kashihara, Nara Pref.

Overnightstay in Nara

Feb 19(Tue)

Leave for Osaka by a chartered bus

Project to Make Advanced Use of Urban Exhaust Heat
Generated by Waste Incineration /Osaka Taisho Plant


Osaka Pref&City Urban Attraction Development Strategy 1
-Briefing & Commanding fine views
from Umeda Sky Bldg. Floating Garden Observatory
Osaka Pref&City Urban Attraction Development Strategy 2
-Shin-sekai & Tsutenkaku Tower

Osaka Pref&City Urban Attraction Development Strategy 3
-Water Metropolis Osaka; River Cruise

End of tour at Shinkansen Shin-osaka Sta.