Topics 2013

【1/2~3】Fossa Magna Museum New Year's Event

An event exclusively for the New Year's season.
For two days this New Year, the Fossa Magna Museum will be open with free admission. A number of activities are planned for children and adults alike. Make sure to bring your family and your friends!
※When visiting, guests are recommended to use the Itoigawa Loop Bus.

■Time: Jan 2, 2014 (Thursday) & Jan 3 (Friday) 9:00-17:00
※The museum will be close 12/28 (Sat) - 1/1 (Wed), 1/4 (Sat) and 1/6 (Mon)
■Place: Fossa Magna Museum
    Tel. 025-553-1880
・Create a rock collection! ※100 yen
・Create a replica fossil! ※100 yen
・Geomaru and Nuna Comic Foreground
・Themed New Years Mystery Bags (Jade Bag, Dinosaur Bag, etc)
・Lottery Drawing ※1000 yen purchase gives one chance!

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Accepting Entries for the 2013 Itoigawa Geopark Photo Contest

We are currently accepting entries for the 2012 Itoigawa Geopark Photo Contest!

What does the Itoigawa Geopark bring to your mind? Is it mountains? The Sea? Rivers? Or perhaps Itoigawa's culture and cuisine? We are looking forward to seeing the pictures that you think best represent the Itoigawa Global Geopark!

Entries will be accepted until January 31st
※Any photographs taken before the deadline are accepted (even old photographs). There is no restriction on age, gender, residency, or skill level for entry.

♦Entry Method
Entries are accepted through the third party Internet site listed below. (Unfortunately, only the Japanese language is supported at this time)

Entrants with winning photographs will be eligible for prizes including produce from the Itoigawa Gift Catalog or Itoigawa Geopark Merchandise.

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【11/29-12/27】 Geopark Wonderland Exhibition

【11/29-12/27】 Geopark Wonderland Exhibition

In order to showcase the way in which geoparks have flourished in Japan, and to give each Geopark an opportunity to introduce themselves to the public, the Geopark Wonderland Exhibition will be held in Tokyo for one month. Itoigawa Global Geopark will present from Saturday, December 21st until Friday, December 27th.
■Exhibition Period: Friday, Nov 29 - Friday, Dec 27
■Exhibition closed on Sundays, Mondays, and Public Holidays
■Exhibition Times: 10:00 - 18:00 (until 17:00 on Saturdays)
※Sale of local produce will be on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 - 16:00
■Venue: Global Environment Outreach Centre
(1st Floor of United Nations University Building, Shibuya, Tokyo)
■Entry Fee: Free
■Sponsored by the Japanese Geoparks Network and the Global Environment Outreach Centre

For more information, contact the Itoigawa Geopark Council at [email protected]

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【12/16】 Itoigawa Geopark Guide Certification Practical Test Results

The results of the December 7th Itoigawa Geopark Guide Certification Practical Test have been announced. Congratulations to those who passed.
■Test Date: 7 Dec 2013
■Test Location: Oyashirazu Community Road (Oyashirazu Geosite)
■Successful Candidates: 201340, 201341 (two candidates)

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【12/14】 Itoigawa Global Geopark Revalidation Forum 2013

The Itoigawa Global Geopark Revalidation Forum 2013 will be held at the Jade Kingdom Center.
○Place: Jade Kingdom Center 2F (Free Entry)
(10:00 - 15:00)
 ■Craftmaking Corner
  ・Making paints from stones
  ・Sand inspection
  ・Strata art with colored sand

(12:00 - 13:30)
 ■Geo School Lunch Banquet
  ・Sample an award-winning recipe from Itoigawa Schools' Geo School Lunch Program
   ※Limit 200 servings JPY 100 per serving

(13:30 - 15:00)
 ■Panel Discussion
  "Geo Girls' Worldwide Geo Chat - Enjoying Geoparks and Natural Parks"
   ・Itoigawa Geopark Ambassador Satoko Ito
   ・Nicola Jones - Oki Geopark Guide
   ・Kana Hayamizu - Ministry of the Environment
   ・Naomi Tsuzuku - Gakken Education Publishing
   ・Hiroko Torigoe - Itoigawa Geopark Council

(Attached PDF is available in Japanese only, for more information in English, please contact the Geopark Council by email)

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Geo School Lunch Research Committee Receives Award

Itoigawa's Geo School Lunch Research Committee recieved the Hokuriku Agricultural Administration Director's Award in the 6th Annual Locally Sourced School Lunch Menu Contest, held by the The Organization for Urban-Rural Interchange Revitalization. Congratulations!

For more information, please read the press release below. (Japanese only)

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【12/8】Wild Birds of Itoigawa and the Geopark

The Itoigawa City Culture Association will give a lecture titled "Wild Birds of Itoigawa and the Geopark" on Sunday, December 8th. It will be accompanied by a photo exhibition.
Time: Sunday, Dec 8 13:30 - 15:00
Place: Jade Kingdom Center
Lecturer: Mr. Sumio Washizawa
Fee: Free
For more information, contact the Itoigawa Geopark Council at [email protected]

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【12/1】 Fossa Magna Park Closed for the Season

Fossa Magna Park, where visitors can inspect the massive fault that runs through Japan, will be closed for the winter season due to potential avalanches and falling rocks in the area.
We apologize for any inconvenience.
■Closure: 12/1(Sun) - Late April 2014

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Results of the Itoigawa Geopark Certification Test Announced

The results of the Itoigawa Geopark Certification Test held on November 17th were announced today at 10am.

Please check your results using your testee number at the below link, or check the results posted at the Itoigawa City Office, the Nou Branch Office, the Oumi Branch Office, the Tokyo Satellite Office, the Fossa Magna Museum, the Itoigawa City Tourism Association Tourist Information Office, or the Itoigawa Chamber of Commerce Office.

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Article on Itoigawa's Geopark Studies Conference on GGN Website

The Global Geoparks Network (GGN) has published an article about Itoigawa Geopark's Geopark Studies Conference, which was held on November 20th this year at Itoigawa's Kirara Ōmi Culture Hall.

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【11/23】 Geotour - "Nature in Hayakawa and Shimamichi"

Time: November 23rd (Saturday) 9:00 - 16:00
Meetup: 8:50 In front of the city office main entrance
Guide: Hiroshi Yashiki (Japanese guidance only)
Things to bring: Walking/hiking clothes, lunch, drinks, raingear, etc
Fee: 100 yen
Limit 20 people
To apply or for more information, contact the Fossa Magna Museum at (025) 553-1880

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【11/22】 Server Maintenance

Thank you for visiting the Itoigawa Geopark Council's Website.

On Friday, November 22, 2013, our servers will undergo maintenance beginning at 1:00 a.m. JST. This maintenance is expected to last 6 hours with server access restored at 7:00 a.m. JST.

During this maintenance period, the Geopark Website will be inaccessible. We apologize for any inconvenience.

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Amakazari Onsen closes for the season

Amakazari Onsen Hot Spring Lodge, located within the Amakazari Geosite, has closed for the season. Expect the lodge to reopen again in late Spring.

The road to access the Mt. Amakazari climbing trail will remain open until snowfall.

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Students from Hong Kong's Kau Yan School visit Itoigawa Global Geopark

From November 7th until the 9th, a group of primary school students from Kau Yan School in Hong Kong visited the Itoigawa Global Geopark as part of the first exchange of students within the Asia Pacific Geoparks Network.

Itoigawa Global Geopark first signed a sistership agreement with Hong Kong Geopark in 2009 and since, the two geoparks have cooperated on a variety of exchange activities. Through this exchange of students, the two geoparks hope to further increase the level of cooperation and friendship between each other and between their respective countries.

For more information, including photographs of the exchange, please visit the link below.

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【11/8】 Hong Kong Geopark Students to Visit Itoigawa Geopark

On November 7th and 8th, 30 elementary school students from the Hong Kong Global Geopark will visit the Itoigawa Global Geopark.
Since forming a sister relationship in 2009, the Geoparks of Itoigawa and Hong Kong have participated in a number of exchange activities including e-classroom workshops and an annual delegation of junior high school students from Itoigawa. This will be the first delegation of students to visit Itoigawa from Hong Kong.
More information about the Hong Kong students' visit to Japan can be found at the link below:

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Mt. Yakeyama gate closed for the season

The access road leading to Mt. Yakeyama's climbing trail has been closed for the season. Access to Sasakura Onsen and Yakeyama Onsen Hot Springs will be possible throughout the year.

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Umidani Gorge Geosite Access Route Reopened

On October 20, 2013, the main route to the Umidani Gorge Geosite has reopened. Be sure to include Umidani's breathtaking foliage in your plans during the autumn season.

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【10/12-13】 Itoigawa at the Fall 2013 mont-bell Friend Fair

Itoigawa Geopark is a "Friend Area" of Japan's leading outdoor goods brand, mont-bell. As such, Itoigawa will participate in the upcoming mont-bell Friend Fair!
If you have the chance, please come visit our booth at the fair and learn more about the Itoigawa Global Geopark!

The mont-bell Friend Fair is open only to mont-bell club Members and their accompanying friends and family. You can join the mont-bell club at the event (yearly fee of 1500 yen). If you are already a member, do not forget to bring your member's card!

■Friend Fair
10/12-13 Chiba Makuhari Messe International Exhibition Hall #1
※10/12 9:00-17:00 10/13 9:00-16:00
11/02-03 Intex Osaka Hall #4
※11/02 9]00-17:00 10/03 9:00-16:00

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【10/12-11/17】 Special Exhibit "Dr. Kitagawa's Fascination -- Flowers of the Earth"

The late Dr. Ryuji Kitagawa, a professor at Hiroshima University, gathered a massive collection of over 2000 different mineral samples from around the world. A selection of 200 of these mineral specimens will be exhibited at the Fossa Magna Museum. All are invited to view these stunning examples of the beauty of the Earth.
■Time: October 12 (Sat) - November 17 (Sun)
■Museum Hours: 9am -7pm
■Place: Fossa Magna Museum Furusato Gallery
■Admission is free
■Joint Sponsor: Japan Association of Mineralogical Sciences and the Clay Science Society of Japan
■Supporter: Japanese Council of Science Museums
■Cooperating Organization: The National Science Museum

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【10/8】 Stargazing Event

Enjoy this opportunity to observe through a telescope the Moon and Venus as they pass by each other, as well as the Andromeda Galaxy. In the event of inclement weather, a video and presentation about constellations will be offered in the museum.
■Time: October 8 (Tuesday) 6:30pm-8:00pm
■Place: Fossa Magna Museum Plaza
■Event is free and open to anyone.

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【10/6】 GeoTour - "Massive Landslide and 88 Stone Buddha Pilgrimage"

Tsukimizu-no-ike Pond, the central feature of Tsukimizu-no-ike Geosite, was created as the result of a massive landslide in which sections of a mountain slid downhill and collapsed.

During the Edo period, a local Buddhist priest, recognizing the natural beauty of the area, carved a number of stone statues and placed them around the area to give the local community a pilgrimage site.

This GeoTour explores the landslide which created this area and includes a pilgramage to visit the 88 statues.

■Time: October 6 (Sunday) 9am - 3pm
■Place: Tsukimizu-no-ike Pond, 88 Stone Buddha Pilgrimage Site, Mt. Fudoyama
■Meetup: 8:50am Itoigawa City Office
■Guide: Tsutomu Kijima and Ko Takenouchi (City Curators)
■Things to bring: Hiking shoes and clothing, hat, lunch, drinks, raingear, writing utensils, etc
■Fee: 100 yen (insurance) 100 yen (entry fee)
■Limit 20 participants
■To signup or for more information, contact the Fossa Magna Museum

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【9/20】 Hakusan Shrine Treasure Repository and Shioji Vineyard Tour

See some of the interesting sites the Nou Region has to offer, including the recently renewed Hakusan Shrine Treasure Repository and the Shioji Vineyard.
Time: Friday 9/20 9am-4pm
Fee: 3000 yen (includes admission fees and lunch)
Limit 20 participants
Contact Info: Town Buildings Supporters
025-552-5063 (Tsuchida), 025-552-2971 (Nakamura)

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Geopark Masters Course Planned

A course for those interested in becoming a certified Itoigawa Global Geopark Master is planned for September 20th
■Time Sept. 20 (Friday)
2pm-4pm and 7pm-9pm
■Place Fossa Magna Museum
■Lecturer Dr. Ko Takenouch
■Geopark Master Certification
Employees at local businesses who complete this course will be certified as "Geopark Masters" and be given certificates and banners to display at their business.
■Applications to be made by phone
■Fee: Free of charge
■Sponsoring Organization
Itoigawa Geopark Council
Office: Geopark Promotion Office
Phone: 025-552-1511

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【9/18】 Walking the Scenic Salt Road TV Special

The Itoigawa Geopark's Salt Road will be the subject of a television special hosted on BS Japan. Please take the opportunity to watch it.
■Wednesday, September 18 6:00pm-8:00pm
■BS Japan Special "Walking the Scenic Salt Road"
■Actress Mitsuko Oka will start from Chikuni Station in Nagano Prefecture and travel along the Salt Road until reaching the end in Itoigawa. During her travel she will introduce the Fossa Magna Park and Itoigawa's local fu (wheat gluten) maker.

Visit the link for more information (Japanese)

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【9/5~】Umidani Sankyo Park Road Closure (Detour)

Heavy rain and landslides have forced the closure of a portion of Kamimachiya-Kamazawa Prefectural Route 221 leading to Umidani Sankyo Park and the Umidani Gorge.

A detour is available via the narrower Gozenyama Route, but be advised that this route cannot accept large vehicles.

Please follow all posted road closure and detour signs and be mindful of possible adverse road conditions.

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Itoigawa Geopark receives donation from the BSN Itoigawa Geopark Cup

The Itoigawa Global Geopark has graciously accepted a sizable contribution from the BSN Itoigawa Geopark Cup charity golf tournament.

Held on August 29th at the Itoigawa Country Club, the charity golf tournament was sponsored by BSN Niigata Broadcasting for the purpose of raising money to support conservation efforts at the Itoigawa Global Geopark.

The money received from the event will be used for conservation efforts of the Itoigawa Geopark's various heritages, as well as for Geopark promotion efforts.

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【8/15】 JR Oito Line Reopens

The JR Oito Line has been closed for regular service since a section of the erosion control revetments along the Himekawa River was damaged. Following repairs and safety inspections, the Oito Line is scheduled to reopen as follows:

JR Oito Line Service from Itoigawa to Minami-Otari Reopens
August 15th - First Train

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【8/11】 Himekawa Event "To the River! Get Carried Away!"

Every year, the "To the River! Get Carried Away!" event is held at the point where the Nechigawa and Himekawa Rivers meet within the Himekawa Gorge. Parents and children alike are invited to escape the heat and enjoy the fun activities that the rivers have to offer.
■Time: August 11, 2013 (Sun)
10:00am - 2:00pm
■Place: Confluence of Nechigawa and Himekawa Rivers
Meetup at Fossa Magna Park Parking Lot
■Admission: 500 yen for ages 6 and up, 200 yen for ages 5 and under

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Itoigawa Global Geopark Revalidation Inspection

From July 13 through July 14, inspectors from the Global Geoparks Network Bureau visited the Itoigawa Global Geopark to assess the Geopark as part of the regularly scheduled Global Geoparks Network revalidation process.

During their two days here, the inspectors attended presentations and question-and-answer sessions regarding the progress of the Itoigawa Global Geopark since certification. They also visited various geosites and Geopark facilities to experience the Geopark firsthand. They will compile a report on the Geopark to submit to the Bureau which will present its decision regarding revalidation in September.

The revalidation process is an important part of Global Geoparks Network membership and offers constituent geoparks an invaluable opportunity to not only learn from the experienced staff of the Global Geoparks Network Bureau, but also to share their own efforts with the Network.

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【05/11~05/22】 Spring Itoigawa Flower Tour

This year from May 11 until the 22nd, Itoigawa Bus is operating a bus tour of some of Itoigawa's best spring flower spots.

Starting at the Jade Kingdom Center near Itoigawa Station, the 4 hour bus tour will visit Tsukimizu-no-Ike Pond (wisteria), the Hayakawa Wisteria Festival, Tanimura Museum of Art and Gyokusuien (art museum and traditional Japanese garden), and the Kaneko Azalea Garden.

The bus tour leaves from the Jade Kingdom Center at 10:10am. Ticket are 2900 yen for adults and 1900 for children 12 and under. Price includes lunch and all admission fees.

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【04/27】 Geopark Facilities Open!

Starting Apr. 27th, several Geopark facilities will officially open for the 2013 season.

■Fudotaki Falls (Imai Geosite)
 ♢Road reopened from Imai. Road from Kotaki still closed

■Umidani Sankyo Park (Umidani Gorge Geosite)
 ♢Restroom facilities will reopen on Apr. 30

■Mt. Amakazariyama Foothills Shiroike Forest Park (Amakazariyama Geosite)
 ♢Road access is available up to the Hara-no-Yakata Parking Lot

As more of the many sites of the Geopark thaw out from under the winter's snow, we will post more reopenings. Keep checking the Itoigawa Global Geopark's homepage for more information!

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【04/27】 Chojagahara Archaeological Museum Reopens

On Saturday, April 27, the Chojagahara Archaeological Museum (located within the Miyama Park and Museums Geosite) will hold a grand reopening ceremony to celebrate the museum's renovation. The museum's exhibits have been updated and improved to better engage visitors to the Itoigawa Global Geopark.

The Chojagahara Archaeological Museum showcases a variety of artifacts excavated from the nearby Chojagahara Archaeological Site. The site was a center for jadeworking and other jewelry and tool production during Japan's prehistoric Jomon Period. Included among the artifacts are examples of prehistoric pottery, stone tools, and beads made from jade. These jade beads are believed to be among the oldest exampled of jade jewelry in the world.

Starting with the opening ceremony at 9:00 am, the museum will be open everyday until 4:30pm. To mark the reopening, admission will be free until May 6th. Be sure to visit if you can to learn more about the World's Oldest Jade Culture!

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The Fossa Magna Park Reopens!

The Fossa Magna Park has reopened for 2013 season! Make sure to include it in your travel plans this year!

Centered across the Itoigawa-Shizuoka Tectonic Line which divides Japan between Eastern and Western cultures, the Fossa Magna Park offers visitors a variety of geological phenomena including cliffs made of pillow lava and glimpses into the formation of the Japanese Archipelago as we know it today.

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【4/6-7】Itoigawa Geopark to Participate in Mont-bell Friend Fair

Mont-bell, one of Japan's leading outdoor sporting equipment companies, counts the Itoigawa Global Geopark among it's "friend areas". This weekend, Mont-bell's friend areas and friend shops are gathering together at the Mont-bell Friend Fair and the Itoigawa Global Geopark will be joining them!
If you are in Yokohama this weekend, stop by the Itoigawa Booth! We'd be happy to see you!

However, the Friend Fair is an event put on for members of the Mont-bell Club. Only members and friends and family of members will be permitted entrance. Don't forget to bring your membership card when you visit! (Annual membership costs 1500 yen)

■Friend Fair
・Pacifico Yokohama Convention Hall B Apr 6-7
Day 1 9:00am-5:00pm Day 2 9:00am-4:00pm

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【4/7】 Kirara Nature Club "Spring Plants Observation Excursion" Participants Wanted!

This Sunday, why not join the Kirara Natura Club in enjoying the dogtooth violets and other spring plants of Shindosan Park?
■Time: Sunday, Apr 7 9:30am-3:00pm
■Meeting Place: Shindosan Park Putter Golf Parking Lot
■Instructor: Mr. Yuichi Kasahara
■Things to bring: Lunch, drinks, rain gear, writing utensils, etc.
    *Please dress appropriately for walking
■Particpation fee: Free
■Limit 20 participants
■Contact: Fossa Magna Museum
        Tel. 025-553-1880
**Tour is conducted in Japanese only**

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We have a new webpage!

We've updated the Itoigawa Global Geopark's webpage to provide more information to you in an easier-to-navigate format!

From access information (including geosite closures) to detailed information and photographs of each geosite, we hope our new homepage is able to serve you better than ever before!

The English translation is tentative and rough. We are working to polish these translations as quickly as possible! Please bear with us during this period of transition.

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2012 Photo Contest Winners Announced

In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Hokuriku Main Line and the 55th anniversary of the Oito Line, the Itoigawa Geopark held the 2012 Itoigawa Geopark Photo Contest.

The winning entrants are listed at the link below. (Japanese only)

Unauthorized reproduction or redistribution of photographs is prohibited.

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We're also on Twitter and Facebook!

Did you know? The Itoigawa Global Geopark is also on Twitter and Facebook! Check us out:

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【2/23】 Oito Line Snow Removal & Snow Play Tour

For anyone interested in experiencing the Himekawa Gorge (Oito Line) Geosite in winter, this event is an exciting opportunity. Adults and children alike can enjoy a tour of the Oito Line which winds through the Himekawa Gorge Geosite as well as a demonstration of the snowplow trains used by railway workers to clear the deep snow which falls in winter. You can also join members of the community in removing snow from around station to experience the kind of community cooperation that forms an important part of winter life here in Itoigawa. Afterwards, enjoy a relaxing bath in the Himekawa Hot Springs.
◆Date & Time: Feb 23 (Saturday)
 7:50am in front of JR Itoigawa Station
◆Place: Hiraiwa Station (Bath at Hotel Kunitomi)
◆Participation Fee:
◆Adults: 1500 yen
◆Elementary School Students: 700 yen
◆Children younger than 6: Free
◆Limit 80 People (Participation is on a first-come basis)
◆Please bring the following:
  ◆Gloves, cold weather clothing, boots.
  ◆Please bring a light lunch. Pork soup will be served.

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12th European Geoparks Conference

The European Geoparks Network will hold its 12th European Geoparks Conference in Cilento and Vallo di Diano Geopark in Italy from September 4th to 6th, 2013.

For more information, please visit the link below.

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2014 Global Geoparks Conference

The 2014 Global Geoparks Conference has been announced and will be held at the Stonehammer Geopark in New Brunswick, Canada. For more information, see the link below.

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Itoigawa Monkfish Festival Comes to a Close

On Sunday, February 3, the 2013 Itoigawa Monkfish Festival came to a close at Oyashirazu Pier Park. Over the course of three Sundays, 7500 people came to enjoy Itoigawa's winter cuisine and other activities. For more information, please read the blog post linked to blow:

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【2/2-3/31 Weekends and Holidays】 Oyashirazu Winter Romance Bus Tour

Starting February 2nd until March 31st, bus tours will be given to showcase some of the Itoigawa Global Geopark's beautiful winter landscapes, including the cliffs of Oyashirazu. The tour also includes a visit to the Fossa Magna Museum, a tour of Kaga-no-I Sake Brewery, and a monkfish lunch.
2/2/2013 - 3/31 Saturdays, Sundays, and Public Holidays
Adults: 3,500 yen
Children 12 and under: 2,000 yen
Pair Pack (2 adults): 6,500 yen (Japanese-only)

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Japanese Geopark Recertification

Today, (January 28th), at the 16th Conference of the Japan Geopark Committee held in Tokyo at the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI), Itoigawa Geopark was officially recertified as a Japanese National Geopark.

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