Press Tour (No.083)




Foreign Correspondents’ Press Tour (Tottori&Hyogo) 

 Organized by The Foundation for Kansai Region Promotion 

Coopereated by Tottori Pref., Hyogo Pref., Toyooka City

Sep.19(Thurs.)-20(Fri.), 2013


San’in Kaigan Geopark, Land of Splendid Natural Beauty! 

- Local initiatives toward coexistence with nature –



San’in Kaigan Geopark, with San’in Kaigan National Park at its center, covers an area of 110 km east-west and 30 km north-south, spanning three prefectures (Tottori, Hyogo and Kyoto) in the Kansai region. Its special geographic features display the dramatic history of the Sea of Japan. Having joined the UNESCO-backed Global Geoparks Network (GGN) in 2010, San’in Kaigan Geopark is renowned as a tourist attraction of the Kansai region for its splendid natural beauty and ecosystem diversity.

In this press tour, foreign correspondents visit Tottori and Hyogo to gather information on major geo-sites and related tourism strategies, approaches to coexistence between humans and nature etc.  



===== TOTTORI =====

Promoting tourism strategies utilizing its splendid nature attractions



Tottori Prefectural Governor Shinji Hirai

Introduces Tottori, a ”global geopark” embraced by water and green



■ Photoshoot at popular geo-site -1: Uradome Coast

Photographing changeful scene of rocks and caves uniquely shaped by the Sea of Japan




■ Photoshoot at popular geo-site -2: Tottori Sand Dunes

Introduction to local environmental efforts


The 30th National City Greening Fair Tottori (Sep. 21 –Nov. 10)  

Immediately before opening!




===== HYOGO =====

Toyooka, home to white storks, blessed with sea, mountains and historic hot springs



■ The first foreign press tour to visit Toyooka in 8 years!

Mayor Muneharu Nakagai to speak on the attractions of Toyooka,

home to ”Oriental White Storks”


■ Initiative toward coexistence between humans and nature,

centered  around ”Oriental White Storks” 


城崎ヨコ②tk_image.jpgKinosaki Hot Spring matching the mood of yukata-wearers and its  

guardian temple, Onsenji  








*For the details of each topic, please refer to the Highlights of the Tour.


Tour Date Sep 19(Thu) - Sep 20(Fri),2013
Qualification Bearer of Press Registration Card issued by Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Tour Fee Please refer to the attached application form
Organized by

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

Cooperated by Tottori Pref., Hyogo Pref., Toyooka City
Capacity 12 reporters (1 reporter from each company, 2 for a TV company - 2 TV companies max for this tour)
Closing date/time for Application Aug 14(Wed),2013 05:00 PM
■The Foundation for Kansai Region Promotion, in cooperation with local municipalities, organizes this press tour with a goal of disseminating information from Kansai directly to the world through the participants' articles based on press activities during the tour. We ask for your understanding and cooperation.

■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 and local parties concerned 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


■■■ Tottori ■■■

-Promoting tourism strategies utilizing its splendid nature attractions-



(リサイズ)平井伸治写真200702①.JPG   As an introduction to the Tottori tour, Tottori Governor Shinji Hirai will speak on the attractions of Tottori, a global geopark embraced by water and green, as well as tourism promotion strategies utilizing the Prefecture’s splendid natural environment and its tourist trends (*1).


   The tour will then visit the National City Greening Fair Tottori venue two days before the Fair’s opening; Uradome Coast, a popular spot in the San’in Kaigan Geopark (*2) displaying unique geographic features; and the Tottori Sand Dunes, Japan’s largest-scale coastal dunes. On the Uradome Coast, photographing from a boat (*2) is planned, enabling shots of the indented coastline, massive rocks and beautiful beach, and viewing of the “Tottori Blue” sea (transparency 25 m) using water glasses. At the Tottori Sand Dunes, the director of the Tottori Sand Dunes Office will talk about the sand dunes’ current situation, efforts for preservation, associated problems etc.; this will be followed by a walk around the sand dunes (*3-4).



Please note that the speaker/interviewee may change, depending on governor’s schedule



An area displaying geographic features that tell the history and formation of mountains or rivers. Of the 25 geoparks in Japan, five are members of the Global Geoparks Network (GGN), including the San’in Kaigan, the Toya Caldera and Usu Volcanoes (Hokkaido), the Itoi River (Niigata), the Unzen Volcanic Area (Nagasaki) and the Muroto (Kochi). Unlike World Heritages, which focus on conservation, GGN encourages the utilization of geoparks for education and regional activation, as well as for conservation of nature.



Please note that these plans may change, depending on weather conditions.




[Tottori Sand Dunes]




Formation of the Tottori Sand Dunes is deeply related to the weather of the San’in area. Starting some 100,000 years ago, granitic sand, brought to the Sendai River by rain and snow, accumulated on the nearby seabed; it was then pushed by waves to the coast, forming a sand beach. Strong monsoon winds then blew the sand inland, forming sand dunes that continuously moved and expanded. These sand dunes, called coastal dunes, are different from the dunes and deserts of arid lands (*) in the process of their formation. Reaching some 80 m in thickness, the Tottori Sand Dunes are renowned as Japan’s most precious sand dunes designated as a natural treasure and a world-tourism resource in which Tottori can take pride.



(*) Arid land: Land where the amount of water lost by evaporation exceeds the amount of rainfall. Desertification is an arid land condition worsened by climate or human activities. Japan has no arid lands or desertification problems.




[Uradome Coast] 


   Stretching approx. 15 km along the Sea of Japan, the Uradome Coast has steep cliffs and deep caves on its west side, and calm beaches with clear water, white sand and blue pines on the east. This varied coastline makes the Uradome Coast a popular geo-site in the San’in Kaigan Geopark. The granite rocks seen widely on the coast were formed when magma cooled and solidified some 60 million years ago, before the Japanese archipelago separated from the Asian continent. Uplifted by subsequent crustal movements, the rocks were washed and carved by rough waves and storms under the severe weather conditions of the Sea of Japan, forming the unique landscape we see today. This press tour will visit the rocks in the sea on a pleasure boat.


浦富①[リサイズ版]4浦富海岸1459.jpg(*) The tour plan, including boat size, may change depending on weather/wave conditions.










[The 30th National City Greening Fair Tottori]



  リサイズ版砂像花壇合成.jpg “The 30th National  City Greening Fair Tottori: Oasis of Water and Green Tottori 2013” will be held from Sep. 21 to Nov. 10, mainly at Koyamaike Park in Tottori City. This fair of flowers and greenery, supported by the Ministry of Land,Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, is held annually by local governments in turn; this marks its first time in Tottori.

   The main venue, Koyamaike Park, is one of the geo-sites of San’in Kaigan Geopark and features Koyamaike, the largest pond in Japan. At the Fair, utilizing the area’s natural landscape, the Natural Garden will display grass and flowers suited to the climate of Tottori. Various sand statues will also be displayed, featuring Tottori-like art designs.


   (リサイズ)ポールさん写真1.jpgThe tour will visit the Fair venue two days before its opening, and meet Mr. Paul Smither (*), the English garden designer who is supervising the design of the main garden; he will talk about the attractions of Tottori.


(*) Paul Smither:

Garden designer, born in Berkshire County, UK. Studied horticulture and design at RHS Wisley Garden in UK and Longwood Gardens in US. Engages in garden design, construction, consulting and teaching. Highly recognized for natural-taste garden design. 






■■■ Hyogo,Toyooka ■■■

-Home to white storks, blessed with sea, mountains, and historic hot springs-




   Toyooka City (population approx. 85,000) is located in the northeastern part of Hyogo Prefecture. Mountains and forests cover 80% of the city area; the Maruyama River flows through the city center. September 2005 saw the launch of an unprecedented project involving the release of oriental white storks - a Special National Treasure - back into the wild, an event that drew worldwide attention. Toyooka City places particular emphasis on the tourism industry, annually attracting 4 million tourists who visit the City’s many tourist spots, including the nationally famous Kinosaki Hot Spring, Kannabe Ski Area and Izushi, a castle town known as “Little Kyoto” in Tajima. Toyooka is now striving to attract foreign tourists.


   The press tour in Toyooka will first meet Mayor Muneharu Nakagai, who encourages efforts to make Toyooka, a home to storks, a cosmopolitan city that is esteemed all over the world.





 [The first foreign press tour to visit Toyooka in 8 years! - Initiative toward coexistence between humans and nature centered around oriental white storks -] 



   White storks, beloved worldwide as birds that bring good luck, were seen near human residential areas in Japan until the 1920s ~ 30s. Particularly in the area around Toyooka in the northern part of Hyogo, many oriental white storks could be seen flying in the sky and feeding along riversides and rice paddies. As the natural environment deteriorated due to economic development, wild white storks in Japan went extinct in 1971, the last one dying in Toyooka.

   Against this background, in 1965, the local government and residents in Toyooka launched a project of artificially breeding oriental white storks and reintroducing them to the wild. Since storks inhabit near human habitations, residents were united in their efforts to restore a rich natural environment that would enable coexistence of humans and storks. These steady efforts, which included introducing environment-friendly farming, planting nesting trees and improving river conditions, resulted in the trial release of artificially bred storks in 2005. Unlike similar successful cases overseas of reintroducing once-extinct bird species, this project was launched near a human habitat, attracting worldwide attention. Today, some 70 oriental white storks can be seen flying in local skies.

   For the reintroduction of these storks, the creation of a suitable environment is most important, for which local efforts and understanding are crucial. It also requires conservation networks in East Asia or even worldwide. International collaboration with the storks’ habitat countries, such as Russia, China and Korea, should be promoted.


   コウノトリ②tk_image.jpgThe press tour organized by KIPPO, the predecessor of this Foundation, visited Toyooka in 2004 and 2005 to observe initiatives toward coexistence between humans and nature, and the ceremony celebrating the storks’ first release.


   This press tour covers Toyooka for the first time in eight years, to rediscover the story from the bird’s extinction to their reintroduction, the public-private efforts, collaboration with other countries/regions etc. at Hyogo Park of the Oriental White Stork and the Eco Museum Center for the Oriental White Stork. At the Park of the Oriental White Stork, we will also observe artificially bred storks and speak with the farmers who grow rice using the white stork-friendly farming method.





[Kinosaki Hot Spring, which matches the mood of yukata-wearers, and its guardian temple Onsenji]




   The history of Kinosaki Hot Spring began some 1300 years ago, when hot water sprang out after Dochi-shonin, a Buddhist priest, had prayed for 1000 days. In those days, before the introduction of Western medicine, Dochi-shonin wanted to help sick people with a hot spring. He opened the hot spring’s guardian temple on Mt. Daishi overlooking the town of Kinosaki and set up a building to house a Kannon statue. In 738, the temple was named “Matsudaisan Onsenji” by then emperor Shomu, and people have since revered the temple as the guardian of Kinosaki Hot Spring. 




   Today Kinosaki has seven outdoor spas, each with a unique history and origin. The entire town is considered a large ryokan (lodging facility), with streets called “corridors” connecting the spas, and each ryokan called a “guest room”, manifesting the hospitality of the entire city. The street from JR Kinosaki Onsen station is lined with willow trees and wooden Japanese-style ryokan, creating a special atmosphere. Michelin Green Guide Japon (2013), a tourist guidebook issued by Michelin, a major French tire manufacturer, gives Kinosaki Hot Spring two stars, as a place to visit on a side trip.    This press walking tour will visit Onsenji temple and other major sites after a local representative’s historical overview of Kinosaki.

(Please note that the lunch in Kinosaki will be mainly seafood dishes.)




Sep 19(Thu)

Meet at Tottori Airpot
-Please refer to the attached application form for transportation
-Please finish lunch before the tour starts at Tottori Airport

Press activities in Tottori

Hotel in Tottori City (Reception and Overnight stay)

Sep 20(Fri)

Meet in the hotel lobby and leave for Toyooka City of Hyogo Pref. by chartered bus

Press activities in Toyooka

Travel to Kyoto by JR Ltd. express train

End of tour at Shinkansen Kyoto Station
-Please refer to the attached apllication form for transportation
-Expected time to arrive in Tokyo is 23:00