Striving to protect the natural heritage, geoparks—the first were in Europe—are natural parks that feature priceless elements of geological and topographical beauty. At the same time, they aim to disseminate environmental education and spread knowledge of earth sciences through geotourism. Moreover they are intended to vitalize regional societies by treating the natural heritage as tourism resources. With UNESCO support, in 2004, the Global Geoparks Network (GGN) was established. As of the end of October 2010, the network comprised 25 countries, notably China and Europe, and 77 regions. In May 2008, as a domestic judging organization the Japan Geopark Committee was formed. In December 2008, Japan Geopark, consisting of seven regions, including the San’in Kaigan Geopark, was authorized. In August 2009, on the recommendation of the Japan Geopark Committee, the Toya Caldera and Usu Volcano Geopark, Itoigawa Geopark, and the Shimabara Peninsula became members of the Global Geoparks Network. The San’in Kaigan became a candidate for membership in the GGN in October 2009. Then, after on-the-spot investigation by the World Geoparks Committee in August 2010, it was admitted to membership in October of the same year. The Legend Japan Project strives to introduce to the world the appeal of Kyoto-by-the-Sea, Tajima Region in Hyogo Prefecture and Tottori Prefecture with special emphasis on the San’in Kaigan Geopark.
With the cooperation of local populations, governments, and private enterprises, the aim is to protect the outstanding geological heritage of the San’in coast, while at the same time protecting the natural environment and promoting education and broad regional tourism to develop a sustainable local society by evolving distinctive and appealing geotourism that makes use of local historical and cultural resources.
- The way of life of the people and the diverse geology, topography, and scenery resulting from the formation of the Sea of Japan
- Characteristics of the San’in Kaigan Geopark
- Geology and Diversity Connected with the formation of the Sea of Japan
- Diversity of the coastal topography of the Japan Sea coast (stony and sandy shores)
- Valuable discoveries in connection with the history of earth science (Discovery of the Matuyama chron = the reversed polarity by Professor Motonori Matuyama in 1926)
- The influence of igneous activities on an abundance of hot-springs resources
- Diversity of flora and fauna in the geology and topography
- Local history, culture, and lifestyles against the background of a diverse natural world