A report written by the post-graduate in Hokkaido University

by Chiseko

Treasure of the region
~about Sorachi sub-prefectural area in Hokkaido~

I would deliberate Sorachi sub-prefectural area that I would like to contribute to in revitalizing the area as one of the residents even if my contribution may be a piece of cake, though I was not born in this area.

 Sorachi sub-prefectural area is located at the center of Hokkaido and can be divided roughly into two parts, the western part that is flat and agricultural area and the eastern part that had been in full flourish before with many coalmines and declined.

The agricultural area of Sorachi is one of the biggest stronghold in Japan producing food such as rice and veggies.
The former coalmine area in the eastern part is facing many problems such as decreasing and super-aging population, distant communities that cost each municipality extra expenditures and lead to the limit community (GENKAI SHURAKU in Japanese) that can not keep itself and stand on its own, and declining industries concerning to coal producing, like the village that we saw in the video learning.

Here I introduce the case in which the history of coalmine area is made the most of as the new treasure of the region.
*Kan Yasuda Memorial Park of Sculpture, Arte Piazza Bibai: The building of former grade school that was abolished after the coalmine nearby had been closed, is made use of as the museum of sculptures produced by Mr. Kan Yasuda who was born in Bibai City. Lectures of sculptures by Mr. Kan Yasuda, various kinds of concerts and arts exhibitions are held in the building including the former gymnasium which is now used as gallery and plays a roll as a big draw for tourism. A part of the wooden building is used as a kindergarten that is very popular because the children can grow up and learn a lot happily in the environment surrounded by the beautiful sculpture park in their infancy.
Other than that, some promotions are planned and exercised, making the most of the industrial heritages as attractive resources for tourism such as Memorial Park in Bibai City where the shaft towers of coalmine are left as they were, the coalmine-debris mountain park in Akabira City, the footpath courses that connect the industrial heritages in Sorachi sub-prefectural area.
Next challenge is the public relations to attract many people and make them visit and use the facilities. The wider public relations that reaches and invites as many people as possible and the more focused and effective one that makes some visitors the strong supporter of this area and come again and again, are required.
Emailing and twitters are attractive way to communicate information each other in two-way communications but are limited to the people who can make use of the tools such as the Internet and so on.
I think the effect of communications in person should not be ignored to reach every generation and to make them interested in this area. I would like to exert efforts to increase the chances and the number of the people to visit the area by arranging the ground tours for kids in social study or the ones for adults and advising people to participate to those tours as well as establishing and taking part in volunteer circles to support such movement, as the first step.                  

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