Mt. Tokachidake recognized as Japan Geopark to become 6th region in Hokkaido

On January 28, the Japan Geoparks Committee, a group made up of experts, recognized Mt. Tokachidake (the towns of Kamifurano and Biei in the Kamikawa subprefecture) as a ‘Japan Geopark,’ a natural park with valuable topography and geology. This is the 6th region in Hokkaido to have a geopark recognized within its boundaries. The review for re-certification, which is conducted once every four years, also reconsidered Mikasa (Mikasa city) and Tokachi Shikaoi (Shikaoi town, Tokachi subprefecture), which were both re-certified.

In the previous review in 2017, Mt. Tokachidake was evaluated for its scenery and agricultural development, which utilizes the undulating hills created by volcanic activity, but the two towns set up separate secretariats, causing issues with the management structure, which led to the certification being deferred. This time, improvements such as the secretariats’ functions being integrated and the assignment of specialists, were recognized. At a press conference, Nakada Setsuya, professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo and chair of the committee, said, “The significance of the Geopark and its activities are becoming more widely known to the people involved, and a system to manage the entire region in an integrated manner is being established.”

In addition to the three areas that have been recognized and re-certified as Japan Geoparks in Hokkaido at this review, the Toya-Usu (Date city and other municipalities), Mt. Apoi (Samani town, Hidaka region) and Shirataki (Engaru town, Okhotsk region) geoparks are also recognized as global geoparks.

Mt. Tokachidake Geopark, characterized by its volcanoes and hilly terrain (photo courtesy of the Mt. Tokachidake Geopark Promotion Council)

Location

Mt. Tokachidake

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