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Outline of Japan and Global Geopark

What is Geopark?

(1)What is Geopark?

“Geo” is a prefix signifying “earth” and “land.” A geopark is a kind of natural park containing geological heritage that has great scientific importance and value or that is simply beautiful to look at. Geological and geomorphological conditions not only reflect the earth’s history but also have direct relevance to people’s lives and cultures. Geoparks help us learn about and enjoy the earth’s activities as a set of heritages.

In 2004, with UNESCO’s support, geoparks of European countries, China, Japan, and other countries came together to form the Global Geoparks Network (GGN). In October 2010, the San’in Kaigan Geopark was validated to the GGN. In September 2014, the San’in Kaigan Geopark expanded its area and was revalidated to the GGN. In 2015, the GGN became an official program of UNESCO.

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(2)Differences between world heritage sites and global geoparks

Unlike the world heritage sites that are designated mainly for preservation, geoparks aim not only to conserve natural heritage featuring geology but also to use such heritage for education and regional revitalization. It is in this aspect that geoparks are different from world heritage sites. Also, with respect to geoparks, at the occasions of validation and revalidation, emphasis is placed not only on sites but also on activities conducted there (e.g. educational programs, tour guide training, and community promotion measures) and organizations managing the geoparks. Moreover, unlike world heritages, geoparks are subject to revalidation every four years.

(3)How to enjoy geopark.

If you want to enjoy geopark, we recommend you guided tour.

You can experience the precious landscape, culture, and nature that are difficult to notice in ordinary sightseeing, such as the origin of the land and the background of beautiful landscapes.

You, also, can get various information concerning geopark from each of the core facility. After the geosite tour is over or after visiting facility, take your time enjoying the other aspects of the geopark as well. For example, you can enjoy delicious local food or refresh yourself in a hot, relaxing spa, which is one of the gifts from the “Geo.”

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Further information on geopark
Japanese Geopark Network (brochure prepared by UNESCO) Japan Geopark Committee (UNESCO Guide line) Japan Geopark Committee (What is Geopark) Japan Geopark Committee (Application and designation flow for Geoparks in Japan)

Global Geopark Network (GGN)

The number of sites in the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network is 169 in 44 countries as of April 2021.

Global Geopark Network (GGN) (oversea sites)

Japanese Geopark Network (JGN)

As of January 2022, 46 geoparks are designated as Japanese Geopark Network by the Japan Geopark Committee. Among them, 9 geoparks are designated as UNESCCO Global Geopark.

Japanese Geopark Network (JGN) (Official Site)
As of January 2022, the JGN regular membership consists of 9 UNESCO Global Geoparks in Japan and 37 Japanese National Geoparks.
Global Geopark Network/Japanese Geopark Network (9 areas)
Toyo-Usu UNESCO Global Geopark , Hokkaido Itoigawa UNESCO Global Geopark, Niigata Prefecture
Unzen Volcanic Area UNESCO Global Geopark, Nagasaki Prefecture Muroto UNESCO Global Geopark Park, Kochi Prefecture
San’in Kaigan UNESCCO Global Geopark, Kyoto, Hyogo and Tottori Prefectures Oki Island UNESCO Global Geopark, Shimane Prefecture
Aso UNESCO Global Geopark, Kumamoto Prefecture Mt. Apoi UNESCO Global Geopark, Hokkaido
Izu Penisula UNESCO Global Geopark, Shizuoka Prefecture
Japanese Geopark Network (37 areas)
Dainosaur Valley Fukui Katsuyama Geopark, Fukui Prefecture Minami-Alps (MTL) Geopark, Nagano and Shizuoka Prefectures
Izu Oshima Geopark, Tokyo Kirishima Geopark, Miyazaki and Kagoshima Prefetures
Oga Peninsula-Ogata Geopark, Akita Prefeture Bandaisan Geopark, Fukushima Prefeture
Chichibu Geopark, Saitama Prefeture Shimonita Geopark, Gunma Prefecture
Happo-Shirakami、Akita Prefecture Hakusan Tedorigawa Geopark, Ishikawa Prefecture
Choshi Geopark, Chiba Prefeccture Yuzawa Geopark, Akita Prefecture
Sanriku Geopark, Aomori, Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures Hakone Geopark, Kanagawa Prefecture
Shikoku Seiyo Geopark, Ehime Prefecture Mikasa Geopark, Hokkaido
Oita Bungoono Geopark, Oita Prefecture Sado Island Geopark, Niigata Prefeccture
Tokachi Shikaoi Geopark, Hokkaido Oita Himeshima Geopark, Ooita Prefeccture
Nanki Kumano Geopark, Wakayama Prefecture Sakurajima-Kinkouwan Geopark, Kagoshima Prefecture
Mishima Kikai Caldera Geopark, Kagoshima Prefecture Tateyama-Kurobe Geopark, Toyama Prefecture
Naeba Sanroku Geopark, Niigarta and Nagano Prefecctures Shirataki Geopark, Hokkaido
Shimokita Geopark, Aomori Prefecture Mine-Akiyoshidai Krast Plateau Geopark, Yamaguchi Prefecture
Mt. Asama North Geopark, Gunma Prefecture Mt. Kurikoma Area Geopark, Miyagi Prefecture
Shimane Peninsula and Shinjiko Nakaumi Estuary Geopark, Shimane Prefecture Mt. Tsukuba Area Geopark , Ibaraki Prefecture
Hagi Geopark, Yamaguchi Prefecture Mt. Chokai and Tobishima Island Geopark, Yamagata and Akita Prefectures
Tosashimizu Geopark, Kochi Prefecture Tokachidake Geopark, Hokkaido
Goto Islands (Shimogoto Area) Geopark, Nagasaki Prefecture