Sep 182013

Last week, on the 9th, the Itoigawa Global Geopark had its certification renewed at the 3rd annual Asia Pacific Geoparks Network Symposium held at the Jeju KAL Hotel in Jeju, South Korea.


The announcement was made as part of the welcome dinner, in the following picture you can see the tension in the air as representatives from around the world wait to see how their geoparks fared in the recertification:


Tension was equally high back home at the Itoigawa City Office, as members of the public gathered to watch a live feed of the results.


At 6:20pm, the Global Geoparks Network representative displayed a list of Geoparks which received recertification…


…and Itoigawa was on the list! In addition to Itoigawa, Toya Caldera – Usu Volcano Geopark and Unzen Volcanic Area Geopark also received recertification. This means the first three Global Geoparks in Japan all passed their first round of recertification.

CongratsCongratulations and thanks are in order to all the people of Itoigawa, without whom the Itoigawa Global Geopark would not be possible. Let’s all work together to make the Itoigawa Global Geopark the best it can be!





Sep 022013

Two weeks ago, on August 21st, 30 third-year junior high school students from Itoigawa departed on a study tour of Itoigawa’s Sister Geopark, the Hong Kong Global Geopark.


During their stay in Hong Kong, the weather was cloudy and rainy. They had initially prepared themselves for Hong Kong’s stifling heat but, thanks to the clouds and rain, were spared from the burning August sun.

Boat Tour

On the 2nd day, the group toured the Hong Kong Geopark, located within Hong Kong’s surprisingly rural New Territories. In addition to a boat tour of the Geopark, they were also given an opportunity to land on and visit two islands which house traditional villages far removed from the skyscrapers and bright lights of Metropolitan Hong Kong.

View from Boat

Traditional Village

The scenery on the islands and within the villages of the Hong Kong Geopark were like nothing the students had ever seen.

After dinner, the students went to view the nightscape of Hong Kong, but the fog was heavy and so the summit of Hong Kong’s famous Victoria Peak was not visible. Sadly, the fog ensured that Hong Kong’s famous “Million Dollar View” could only be appraised at about 500 grand that night.

Touring High Island
On the 3rd day, the students from Itoigawa had an opportunity to meet with local students from Hong Kong and tour more of the Geopark together. At lunchtime shyness got the better of the students and they said very little to each other, but by the end of the exchange they were exchanging mail addresses and promising to write each other! Hopefully some closer friendships will develop through continued correspondence.

View of Hong Kong

On the 4th day of their stay in Hong Kong, the group toured the city of Hong Kong and learned more about how people live there. While they spent the entire day in the city, enjoying a wide range of sights and visiting many landmarks, the students reported that it felt like they were there for only a moment. They certainly want to visit again to experience more of this beautiful city.

It was a great five days for the students who participated and they learned a great deal about our Sister Geopark in Hong Kong. Through programs like this we hope to continue to foster close relationships with other geoparks both here in Asia and aroud the world!