Sep 052016
 

In response to the recent damage caused by Typhoon Mindulle, we have updated our homepage to make it easier for you to plan your visit to the Itoigawa UNESCO Global Geopark. Each page for the individual geosites now show whether there are any road closures or other restrictions affecting access to the area.

Areas without any restrictions display as below:
Ichiburi

The Ichiburi Geosite is fully accessible to visitors!

Areas experiencing road closures or other conditions which restrict access to parts of the geosite display like this:

imai

Parts of the Imai Geosite are currently closed

Finally, geosites which are completely closed, either due to road conditions or special restrictions, have the following notice:

maikomiThe Maikomidaira Geosite is normally inaccessible due to its location

If you would like more information about individual restrictions, please contact us by email at geopark@city.itoigawa.niigata.jp

We are continuing to improve our homepage to make your visit to the Itoigawa UNESCO Global Geopark as smooth and enjoyable as possible. If you have any comments or suggestions regarding our homepage, please let us know either by email or by commenting on our blog.


Jun 172016
 
Climbers hike along the ridge of Mt. Korenge

Climbers hike along the ridge of Mt. Korenge (2766 m)

The snow has finally been cleared and the gate to the Renge Geosite has been opened! Enjoy exploring the peak of the Itoigawa UNESCO Global Geopark this summer, starting with a visit to the Renge Lodge and Hot Springs.

Renge Lodge

Renge Lodge

And don’t just hang out at the lodge! Not when the outstanding beautiful Renge Hot Springs are out there to enjoy.

Renge Hot Springs - Yakushi-no-Yu 'Waters of the Healing Buddha'

Renge Hot Springs – Yakushi-no-Yu ‘Waters of the Healing Buddha’

Only a 5 – 10 minute hike from the lodge, the four outdoor baths at Renge Hot Springs are truly open baths. Located on the side of the mountain, there are no changing rooms here! Just strip off and enjoy the majesty of nature from a natural spring bath above the clouds.

Trek the vast wetlands of Heima-no-Taira

Trek the vast wetlands of Heima-no-Taira

In addition to trails up to the peak of Mt. Korenge and Mt. Shiroumadake, the region has many nature trails through forests and wetlands.

For more information about the Renge Geosite, check out our homepage or download our app Gururi Itoigawa for Android or iOS today!


May 132016
 

Itoigawa UNESCO Global Geopark is located atop a massive fault line. This location, straddling the border between the Eurasian and North American continental plates, is the reason for Itoigawa Geopark’s extreme topography, where mountains nearly 3000 meters in height plunge into the Sea of Japan.

Many of these mountains are volcanic in origin, formed of andesite, granite, porphyrite, diorite and other rocks. The youngest of these volcanoes is Mt. Yakeyama (2400 m). Born only about 3000 years ago, Mt. Yakeyama remains active to this day. Its last magma and pyroclastic flow producing eruption occurred about 300 years ago, but it has continued to produce smaller eruption events and steam explosions since then. In 1974, a phreatic eruption (steam-blast eruption) launched volcanic bombs and ash, killing 3 university students conducting field research on the mountain. The mountain experienced another phreatic eruption in 1983, but has mostly remained quiet since.

Mt. Yakeyama releasing steam from near its peak

Mt. Yakeyama releasing steam from near its peak

Starting in late 2015, Mt. Yakeyama has seen an increase in steam production, with steam occasionally seen stretching across the sky far to the east of the peak. Due to its active status, Mt. Yakeyama is under 24 hour surveillance and from May 1, observation equipment has detected an increasing number of volcanic earthquakes beneath the volcano.

On May 6, ash and blackened snow were detected on the east side of the peak, suggesting a minor eruption had occurred. No further eruptions have been detected, but sensor equipment have detected a slight bulging of the crust beneath Yakeyama.

In response to this increased activity, access to the area within 1 km of the mountain’s peak has been restricted. Those wishing to hike within 2 km of the peak must submit a formal climbing plan to local authorities. The Japan Meteorological Agency has not increased the warning level for the region and merely advises that visitors avoid the mountain’s peak.

As beautiful as these mountains are, it is important that we never forget the power sleeping beneath them.


Apr 142016
 

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

Hokuriku Arch Pass

Courtesy of JR West. Information is accurate as of March, 2016.

Enjoy 7 days of unlimited travel on the Hokuriku Shinkansen and JR lines in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and more!

For more details, visit the official site.


Mar 292016
 
Itoigawa's Tourist Information App is now available in English

Itoigawa’s Tourist Information App is now available in English

Itoigawa City and the Itoigawa Geopark are home to dozens of restaurants, hotels, tourist spots and more. There are so many it can be a bit daunting for first time visitors. Whether you’re in town looking for a place to eat or just curious about visiting and want to see what Itoigawa has to offer, Itoigawa’s new app, Gururi Itoigawa is perfect for you! Nowhere else has so much information about the Itoigawa Geopark been compressed into one location.

Use the GPS Map feature to discover the many places to visit in Itoigawa Geopark

Use the GPS Map feature to discover the many places to visit in Itoigawa Geopark

Use the GPS Map to discover local shops and restaurants or popular tourist sites. Explore the town on foot with one of our prebuilt Walking Courses or on bicycle with our Cycling Map. Download PDF pamphlets. Visit Geosites. And during special events participate in stamp rallies to win special prizes.

Discover the Itoigawa Geopark by downloading Gururi Itoigawa today!

Available on iOS from the App Store and Android from Google Play.


May 302014
 

Good afternoon from the Itoigawa Global Geopark!

Today’s addition to the Geopark Blog is all about the continuing construction you might have seen downtown:

The new Itoigawa Station sees more construction!

The new Itoigawa Station sees more construction!

In front of the station, crews have begun to erect the frame for what will be an arcade which will run along the front of Itoigawa Station’s North (Sea of Japan) Entrance. It is beginning to take shape, but with all the work going on, it’s hard to get a feel for what the finished product will look like.

But not to worry, we have a mock-up:

Artist's rendition of the completed North Gate Arcade.

Artist’s rendition of the completed North Gate Arcade.

The completed shelter will look like gangi, the traditional shelters built over streets in the snowy regions of Japan. The rotary in front of the station will be more open than before and feature multiple bus stops and taxi parking. No more waiting in the hot summer sun or rain for your bus or taxi! At Itoigawa Geopark, we want to make getting from the station to your next destination, whether its your hotel, the Fossa Magna Museum, or one of our 24 geosites as quick and as pleasant as we can.

Looking from the station, to downtown Itoigawa…

View of Downtown Itoigawa from Itoigawa Station.

View of Downtown Itoigawa from Itoigawa Station.

…you can see there is still a lot of work to go! In the next few months, work is going to begin to replace the old arcade which once covered the sidewalks on downtown’s “Jade Road.”

Itoigawa Station and the Old Jade Road Arcade

Itoigawa Station and the Old Jade Road Arcade

Aging and in need of repair, the arcade was removed several year ago, leaving the downtown area open. Rather than complain about the loss of the shelter, many people commented on how much brighter downtown felt without the large roofs covering the entire sidewalk.

Taking this in mind, a new design for Jade Road was envisioned:

A view of the planned arcade from Itoigawa Station

A view of the planned arcade from Itoigawa Station

The new roof will only be about half as wide, offering shelter from the rain and snow, but keeping the bright, open atmosphere we’ve come to enjoy.

Planned Arcade Looking at StationIn preparation for the Hokuriku Shinkansen, Itoigawa is getting a fresh look downtown, but great care has been taken to preserve the traditional charm that makes Downtown Itoigawa and the Jade Road an enjoyable place to visit, shop, play, and live.

We’ll see you there!

-Ishikoro

 


Apr 012014
 

Good afternoon from the Itoigawa Global Geopark!

We’ve started a new business year at the Itoigawa Global Geopark and, as you may have noticed, we’ve completely redesigned the website to provide you with even more information about the Itoigawa Global Geopark!

The newly redesigned Itoigawa Global Geopark homepage offers significantly more content than before

The newly redesigned Itoigawa Global Geopark homepage offers significantly more content than before

Make sure to explore our new page to learn even more about what’s happening around the Itoigawa Global Geopark!

-Ishikoro


Jan 312014
 

Good morning from the Itoigawa Global Geopark!

The weather has been unseasonably warm here as of late, with some days feeling more like spring than winter. Normally characterized by meters of snowfall, this year’s winter has seen mostly heavy rain. While the warm weather and lack of snow underfoot certainly makes life easier for the people of Itoigawa, there’s something a little sad about a winter without snow.

Now, I’m writing this to share some exciting news:

Five Oh Oh!We’ve hit 500 likes on the Itoigawa Global Geopark Facebook Page! If you’ve liked us on Facebook, thank you so much for your support! If you haven’t liked us on Facebook, what’s stopping you? The Itoigawa Global Geopark Facebook Page is probably the best place to get the latest information about the Itoigawa Global Geopark!

Finally, I’d like to introduce an event happening in Itoigawa tomorrow at the Jade Kingdom Centre (the tourism centre located beside the Itoigawa Station):

As part of the Itoigawa Geopark Lecture Series, we are presenting:

“No formality! Yoshimoto-style Communication!”

Yoshimoto CommunicationDon’t let the fact that it is part of a lecture series put you off. This is not your typical lecture. It feature two guests: Itoigawa-born comedienne Natsuko Yokosawa and the Niigata-based comedy duo Backscreen! The weather is supposed to be nice this Saturday, so why not come by the Jade Kingdom Centre and enjoy the show? The lecture begins at 1:30pm, entry is free!

–Ishikoro

 

 


Nov 272013
 

Itoigawa Station Sign

With the opening of the new Itoigawa Station this Sunday, Japan Rail and the City of Itoigawa are working together to hold an event to commemorate the occasion. The event runs from 10:00am until 3:00pm on December 1st and features a number of activities for adults and children alike.

Station Staff Experience

Ten children were chosen in a citywide lottery to work for an hour as station employees, to better understand what the staff at the station do everyday to serve our community. They will get to tour places like the ticket office and signalling equipment, as well as see everything the station attendants do to ensure the safety of passengers.

Oito Line Commemorative Photograph and TourVisitors to the event will also be invited from 1:30pm until 2:20pm to take a close look at the Oito Line train. One of the “Itoigawa Geopark Trains” will be parked at the platform and will be open for visitors to look inside. You can also have your picture taken with the train wearing a station attendant’s cap!

Other EventsA number of other events are planned, including a Workshop Corner where visitors can make paper crafts, badges, and coloring activities. There will also be an N-gage-sized model train set on display, with dioramas of some of Itoigawa’s train stations.

Be sure to come visit us on Dec 1st and take part in the festivities! Don’t miss Itoigawa’s Benten Taiko’s taiko drum performance, which will start from 11:00am !

See you there!

-Ishikoro

 

 


Nov 262013
 

This Sunday, after months of construction, the new Itoigawa Station is going to be (mostly) complete!

The North Entrance to the newly built Itoigawa Station

The North Entrance to the newly built Itoigawa Station

The local rail terminal and North Entrance to Itoigawa Station is for the most part complete. A gangi, or Japanese-style roof over a footpath, is still to be built on the walkway in front of the station. This part of the station will be open for use starting December 1st. To the left of the picture is part of the old Itoiagawa Station which had been converted into a small temporary station during the construction process. From December 1st this building will be reconverted back into station offices.

The JR Itoigawa Station South Entrance and Shinkansen Building

The JR Itoigawa Station South Entrance and Shinkansen Building

On the other side of Itoigawa Station, work continues on the South Entrance and the platform for the Hokuriku Shinkansen which is scheduled to open in early 2015. Until this construction is complete, only the North Entrance of the station will be usable.

The entrance to Itoigawa Station, still closed off until Sunday

The entrance to Itoigawa Station, still closed off until Sunday

Join us Sunday morning when the gates are opened and the first passengers enter the station! The City of Itoigawa and Japan Rail will be hosting a celebratory event from 10am. Check back here tomorrow for more information!

-Ishikoro