30th Anniversary of Registration as Natural World Heritage Site: “Crossing the Alps on the Ocean, From 0m to 0m Above Sea Level (ZERO to ZERO),” Adventure Tour That Captures All the Charms of Yakushima Island
The Yakushima Adventure Tourism Committee has emphasized the importance of promoting sustainable tourism by striking a balance between the promotion of tourism and environmental conservation. To that end, it is working to develop eco-tourism in the World Natural Heritage Site of Yakushima Island in order to create new value and develop it into a tourist destination. The tourist attractions that have now become synonymous with Yakushima Island, namely the Jomon Sugi and Shiratani Unsui Gorge, were developed as such by the local community as a whole, with consideration for the implications both in terms of tourism and the natural environment. Yakushima Island is also known as “The Alps of the Ocean” for its numerous mountains over 1,800 m in elevation—including Mount Miyanoura (1,936 m), the highest mountain in the Kyushu region, located near the center of the island. This project will help to develop a new route distinct to Yakushima Island, that goes from 0 m above sea level to 0 m above sea level from one side of the island to the other, capturing all the charms of the island along the way.
“artKYOTO 2023,” an art fair taking place in the World Heritage Site Nijo-jo Castle, will be held on October 6 (Fri), 8 (Sun), and 9 (Mon/holiday). The fair will take place at the kitchen and purification hall of Ninomaru-goten Palace, the grand beams of whch connect earthen floors with wooden floors, and the Southeast Watchtower, a nationally designated Important Cultural Property. The event will feature over 20 stands by galleries/art dealers, displaying and selling meticulously selected works of art. The harmony between the art and the historical structures of Nijo-jo Castle will create a very special environment indeed.
Living with Shimanto River, the “Last Clear Stream”: Exploring the Symbiotic Relationship between People and Rivers through Dragonflies and River Fishing
'- Special Content (1): World’s first nature reserve for dragonflies
Until recently, it had been believed that leaving extraordinary natural environments alone was enough to keep them in good condition. Efforts at Dragonfly Nature Park, however, have evidenced for the first time in Japan the legitimacy of human intervention when it comes to maintaining a diverse ecosystem in the satoyama (woodlands/mountains near populated areas). The park conducts ecological maintenance work systematically throughout the year such as managing the water level and vegetation at the Dragonfly Pond. The park is also constantly conducting ecological surveys both inside and outside of the protected area. In this particular tour, participants will have the special opportunity to accompany Mitsutoshi Sugimura, executive director of Shimanto Dragonfly Park and Shimanto River Gakuyuu Hall Akitsuio and an expert that has been involved in dragonfly conservation for many years, on an ecological survey. Over the course of the tour, participants will learn about changes in the environment, as well as information about and the background behind the nature of Shimanto City and its conservation efforts.
Visits by Crown Prince Akishino: The nature reserve has twice received visits from Crown Prince Akishino due to Sugimura’s capacity as president and honorary president of World Wildlife Fund Japan (WWF-J). His communications with the Imperial Household are ongoing, with books written by him being delivered to the household through the WWF at the time of publication.
'- Special Content (2): Experience traditional river fishing as passed down through generations at Shimanto River
The Shimanto River is divided into separate fishing grounds held by individual fishermen, with the general public not permitted to fish in these grounds. The river is also home to many traditional fishing methods passed down through the generations that require traps to be changed depending on the season. Fishing is also closed during certain periods for conservation purposes, with fishing only permitted during the open season.
Available during the Aomori Nebuta Festival
Participants will be able to go beyond just watching the Aomori Nebuta Festival. They will change into the costumes worn by the haneto (Nebuta Festival dancers) and participate in the festivities themselves. They will first learn about the history and background of the Aomori Nebuta Festival and undergo a viewing of the structure of the nebuta floats at the Nebuta Museum Wa Rasse. They will then head to the Nebuta Hut, which houses the 23 large-scale nebuta floats that will be a part of the procession that year. Along the way, they will stop by the Aomori Prefecture Tourist Center (ASPAM), taking a break in the 3D Theater and Observation Deck. After visiting the Nebuta Hut, participants will be taken to a designated space where they will change into the haneto costumes and learn the dance of the festival. Once the Nebuta Festival begins, they will participate as haneto dancers, experiencing the Aomori Nebuta Festival right alongside the locals.
Events outside the period of the Aomori Nebuta Festival
Outside the period of the annual Aomori Nebuta Festival, participants will be able to take part in private musical accompaniment and haneto workshops at Nebuta Museum Wa Rasse, attend a talk show by a nebuta master (with complimentary local Japanese sake and fresh ingredients from Aomori Prefecture), and take part in a workshop led by a nebuta master to create a miniature nebuta float.
The main part of this tour is comprised of a one-of-a-kind bird-watching experience in one of the world’s largest migratory bird wintering areas. The tour features bird-watching guidance by a professional birding guide/photographer, as well as hidden photo spots for taking photos that will look great on social media. The guide will also give you advice on how to discover your own favorite bird, from swans and geese to even the more rare species. The birdsong and flapping of the wild birds in Izunuma—listed in the “100 Soundscapes of Japan that Should Be Preserved”—is an experience that should not be missed. The chorus of birdsong is so loud that it's difficult to even have a conversation with the person right next to you! A truly inspiring experience brought about by the power of nature. This extraordinary bird-watching experience is available only at Izunuma, the second site in Japan to be registered in the Ramsar Convention, an international treaty for the conservation of wetlands.
The tour is designed to allow participants to experience the various charms of the region. The activities, all of which involve interaction with locals, include participation in Izunuma conservation efforts, hands-on fishing/farming experiences, and a hands-on cooking experience making local cuisine from seafood and vegetables caught and harvested by the participants.
Observe the passion with which top Korean and Tokyo City Ballet dancers engage in their lessons and the intensity of their stage rehearsals, which rival their actual performances. This tour, led by the artistic director and instructors at the Tokyo City Ballet, will give you a glimpse into the normally inaccessible side of ballet performances.
This special tour will deepen participant understanding and heighten their interest in ballet through commentary from the artistic director of the Tokyo City Ballet.
Participants will be given access to areas that are normally off-limits, such as parts of the stage, the dressing room, and costume room, allowing a glimpse at the particulars of preparation before a ballet performance.
Participants will also be able to enjoy Japanese cuisine with top Korean and Japanese ballet dancers (dressed in breathtaking kimono) while taking in the beauty of the Happō-En Japanese garden, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary. This very special experience will be topped off with exhibits displaying costumes and stage photos that are not usually accessible to the public, as well as a talk session, autograph event, and commemorative photos taken with the dancers themselves.
There are various new sports that are garnering attention around the world.
One such category of sports, called urban sports, is expected to attract even more attention in the future due to its popularity with younger generations, both in terms of spectating and competing.
While the most well-known of these new urban sports is BMX, cycling sports in general will likely see an uptick in fans in the coming years. Young people in particular are becoming fans because they think the sports are exciting and cool.
Despite this, there are less real-life competitions and social environments for BMX compared to other sports, meaning this event should attract a large number of fans wishing to participate in these kinds of events.
Kato City is also home to Yamada Nishiki, known in Japan as the “king of sake rice.” Participants will have a chance to enjoy delicious Japanese sake, too! In addition, there are also tourist attractions based on the region’s various characteristics that are sure to be a hit with tourists, including cuisine that utilizes Kobe beef, Banshu Jidori chicken, and Akashi fish. The city is also within day-trip distance of many nearby tourist destinations (Kyoto, Kobe, Himeji, Osaka, etc.).
Multi-Day Tour by Helicopter for Wealthy Foreign Tourists, Featuring Michelin-Starred Restaurants and Luxury Traditional Japanese Inns/Hotels
The idea behind the tour is that the novelty and special nature of the event will attract this target demographic. TripAdvisor, the leading OTA overseas, offers a variety of tours, but no tours that utilize helicopters to take participants around accommodations and restaurants. Using a helicopter gives this tour a sense of novelty. The tour can also be marketed as a special experience, as it can be tailored to meet the specific preferences and needs of wealthy foreign tourists. For instance, some tourists tend to favor ostentatious, extravagant experiences, the interior of the helicopter could be decorated with gold balloons for such a tour group.
Additionally, ARILA Inc. conducts over 300 helicopter tours a year and would be able to form partnerships with many airports and helicopter operators. This collaboration between ARILA Inc. and Gurunavi—a company with strong ties to the restaurant industry—also allows us to offer dinners for these wealthy foreign tourists at restaurants where they would normally be unable to get a reservation. This event will also appeal to foreign tourists through the inherent attractiveness of the various sightseeing destinations in Kyoto and Kumamoto Prefectures.
Three Great Festivals of Japan: Kanda Festival Mikoshi Carrying/Tsuke Festival Tugging Experience and Authentic Japanese Culture Experience
The Kanda Festival, which dates back to the Edo Period, is considered one of Japan’s Three Great Festivals. During the Edo Period, it was referred to as the Tenka Festival, and, as the only festival that allowed parades through the castle grounds, served as a lively form of entertainment for the common people.
Previously, the program only allowed for the typical observing of the festival. However, special consideration by the various parties involved has allowed it to be upgraded to an experiential tour—one that will allow participants to experience the passion and spirit of the festival for themselves. The program also allows participants to don traditional Japanese dress and take part in traditional cultural activities, such as tea ceremony, traditional dance, enjoying Japanese cuisine, and worship services, making it a special and inspiring experience that would not have been possible in previous years.
This tour will be held at the site of the Setouchi Triennale, an international art festival held every three years, and features private viewings of facilities like the world-renowned Teshima Art Museum and Chichu Art Museum. This is the first luxury tour offered by the Setouchi Triennale. It features a stay at the Benesse House; lunch at SHIMA KITCHEN, with meals prepared by a famous chef and made primarily with Teshima Island ingredients; a workshop by artists participating in the Setouchi Triennale; and a cruise on a salon ship around the beautiful islands of the Seto Inland Sea. The tour also includes commentary by Fram Kitagawa, the general director of the festival and a quality tour guide, making it an exquisite limited-time experience not only for art fans, but also for first-time visitors to the Setouchi Triennale.