What is a Geopark?

Geoparks are exactly what the name means, parks of the earth. They are places where you can find out about how the mountains and rivers surrounding us came to be, learning their natural origins alongside the history and culture of the people who made their homes among them. There are 43 regions registered as geoparks in Japan today, nine of which are recognized as UNESCO Global Geoparks.
(As of April 2020)

Find more information on Japan’s geoparks here.

UNESCO Global Geoparks
  1. Toya-Usu UNESCO Global Geopark
  2. Mt. Apoi UNESCO Global Geopark
  3. Itoigawa UNESCO Global Geopark
  4. Izu Peninsula UNESCO Global Geopark
  5. Oki Islands UNESCO Global Geopark
  6. San’in Kaigan UNESCO Global Geopark
  7. Muroto UNESCO Global Geopark
  8. Aso UNESCO Global Geopark
  9. Unzen Volcanic Area UNESCO Global Geopark
Japanese National Geoparks
  1. Shirataki Geopark
  2. Tokachi Shikaoi Geopark
  3. Mikasa Geopark
  4. Shimokita Geopark
  5. Happo-Shirakami Geopark
  6. Oga Peninsula-Ogata Geopark
  7. Sanriku Geopark
  8. Mt. Chokai & Tobishima Island Geopark
  9. Yuzawa Geopark
  10. Mt. Kurikoma Area Geopark
  11. Sado Island Geopark
  12. Bandaisan Geopark
  13. Naeba-Sanroku Geopark
  14. Mt. Tsukuba Area Geopark
  15. Choshi Geopark
  16. Mt. Asama North Geopark
  17. Shimonita Geopark
  18. Chichibu Geopark
  19. Hakone Geopark
  20. Tateyama Kurobe Geopark
  21. Minami-Alps (MTL Area) Geopark
  22. Izu Oshima Geopark
  23. Hakusan Tedorigawa Geopark
  24. Dinosaur Valley Fukui Katsuyama Geopark
  25. Nanki Kumano Geopark
  26. Shimane Peninsula and Shinjiko Nakaumi Estuary Geopark
  27. Hagi Geopark
  28. Mine-Akiyoshidai Karst Plateau Geopark
  29. Oita Himeshima Geopark
  30. Shikoku Seiyo Geopark
  31. Oita Bungoono Geopark
  32. Kirishima Geopark
  33. Sakurajima-Kinkowan Geopark
  34. Mishima Village Kikai Caldera Geopark
Japanese Geopark Map

An area must first undergo a review by the Japanese Geopark Committee to be registered as a geopark. They are also subject to a re-examination by the committee every 4 years. The Oita Bungoono Geopark was first registered in September 2013. It was then re-approved after a review 4 years later in December 2017.

(Pictures taken on-site at the first review and re-examination)