What kind of worlds do Geoparks show us?

Visit a “Geopark” to see the big picture about our earth, from volcanoes to geographic features and geologic layers, rivers and lakes, and even the ecosystems that thrive within. Observe active volcanoes before your eyes, and experience unique geology and fossils up close. The Geopark offers a completely new vantage point of the Japanese archipelago and allows us to consider the formation and history of the continents. Each visitor will see our vibrant, precious world anew.

Words by Masaharu Taniguchi
Translation by Xene Inc.

There are both “Japan Geoparks” and “Global Geoparks”. As of July 2016, the Japan Geopark Committee has certified 39 Geoparks within Japan, five of which are in Hokkaido. The UNESCO-supported Global Geoparks Network has certified Global Geoparks in 120 regions worldwide, including eight of Japan’s Geoparks. Hokkaido is home to two of these Global Geoparks: Toya Caldera & Usu Volcano Geopark, and Mt. Apoi Geopark.

Geoparks provide a chance to experience cutting-edge earth science, which is very rewarding not only for children, but also for adults who may be out of touch with the wonders of science. But perhaps the most eye-opening aspect of a Geopark visit is the sheer scale of our world’s history, which vastly exceeds humanity’s time on earth.