Shimokawa Summer 2018

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Introduction of Shimokawa:

Shimokawa is a little town located in Northern Hokkaido, with 90% of its land covered with forests. Shimokawa has a sustainable forestry management system, where it utilizes every part of the forests- logwood, leaves, bark, branches, tree sap and even the wood chips, to build houses, manufacture furniture, make bowls and accessories, produce aroma oil, and even produce biomass energy. This comprehensive forestry management system was recognized by the national government, which led to its recipient of the first Japan SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) Award in 2018.

Learning Points

  • Learn about the comprehensive forestry management of Shimokawa and its long term vision of creating a sustainable town.

  • Investigate how the town incorporates its grandeur vision into the everyday aspects of the locals, and the little details of town planning.

  • Experience “forest therapy” in the forests and the extraction of essential oils by distilling todomatsu fir tree branches and leaves.

  • Study the social contexts of natural resource management in Shimokawa.

  • Discuss the principles and ideas of sustainability and how they are adapted to the complex reality.

  • Discover how innovative solutions to problems caused by population decline, aging population and tourism require an integration of social, economic and environmental aspects of sustainability.

Participation Fee: ¥20,000 (Special Price for Students), ¥50,000 (For Non-students)

Participation fee covers accommodation, workshop materials and workshop experience.

Note: Transportation to Shimokawa and meals are NOT covered.

*The participation fee above does not include tax. The actual participation fee will include 8% tax.

General Flow of Registration Process:

Registration Deadline (Extended): July 31, 2018 (First come first served)

After you register, we will have a simple Skype chat to talk in more detail.

Program Dates: 9/13 ~ 9/17

Tentative Schedule for Shimokawa:

Day 1:

  • Gather at JR Sapporo Station. Introduction to Program.

  • Travel to Shimokawa by train/ bus.

  • Arrival at Shimokawa Komorebi Community Centre: Learn about the functions of a newly created public space aimed at building communities through events. Also, learn about how brand color and design thinking are incorporated into the creation of this space.

  • Introduction to Shimokawa and its future oriented policies, including its sustainable forestry management system, where it utilizes every part of the forests- logwood, leaves, bark, branches, tree sap and even the wood chips, to build houses, manufacture furniture, make bowls and accessories, produce aroma oil, and even produce biomass energy.

Day 2:

  • Visit to Ichi-no-hashi Bio-Village: The bio-village was created with the concept of a compact-town, where facilities are built within the compounds of the residential area. The village is heated using biomass energy. 

  • Biomass Heating Facility and Shiitake Mushroom Farmhouse: Learn about how biomass energy is generated to produce heat for the local shiitake mushroom farming, which creates employment for local communities.

Day 3:

  • Forest Therapy: Relax, refresh, reconnect and nurture the forest like a local.

  • Distillation Activity: Enter the forest with a knowledgeable local guide and prune low-hanging branches of the todomatsu pine trees. Bring these branches and leaves back to the eco-house and distill them into relaxing essential oils.

  • Picking of sansai mountain plants: Re-enter the forest with your insightful guide and learn about seasonal wild plants and flowers. Pick some wild edible sansai plants, possibly for dinner afterwards!

Day 4:

  • Cycling through the town: Grab a bicycle and dash through the Shimokawa lush greenery. Breathe in the fresh and crisp air and savor an unforgettable summer in this little forest town.

  • My-hashi Chopsticks Making Workshop: Learn making chopsticks using a Japanese "kanna" (wood planer). It is not about making the perfect pair of chopsticks, but about making a pair that reflects who you are.

  • Shirakaba White Birch Workshop: Head into the birch forests to learn simple but beautiful weaving techniques and enjoy birch-let tea freshly-brewed from the canopy above.

* The program schedules and requirements are subject to change without advanced notice. 

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Photos of Last Year's Activities in Shimokawa