Mayor of Kitakyushu City
■Bus Tours and Touring Routes
ーーWe would like to ask you about the strategies for making the most of the World Heritage component parts. These are valuable historical assets that we surmise you want as many people as possible come and see. But these components are operating assets belonging to corporate owners. Safety and conservation management factors make it difficult to open up the areas to the public. How does the city plan to resolve this problem?
As I noted at the beginning, last April we opened a free “Viewing Space” from which visitors can view the exterior of the Imperial Steel Works head office building which has been preserved in its original form. It was not possible for the public to see this building before.
Soon after, in August 2015, we started a bus tour that takes visitors inside the operating facilities to see the relevant sites. This was made possible with the cooperation of corporate owners and the local travel agency association. The bus tours will be available every Saturday through December for the time being. Seats on the tour buses can be reserved for fees of 2,300 yen for adults and 1,500 yen for children from age 4 to 12. Visitors are required to wear helmets. Each tour has a guide and takes about 80 minutes. The bus takes visitors to see the former head office building, the old forge, and the old repair shop. At the head office building, visitors can disembark from the bus and go inside the building. The tour provides a rare close-up glimpse of a working steel mill that would normally be closed to the public. It will be summer vacation soon. We hope to see a lot of groups of families and children come to visit.
ーーKitakyushu City has a lot of valuable industrial assets from Japan’s period of modernization that were in active use from the 19th through the early 20th century. How are you planning to conserve and make use of these assets?
Well, one example is the site of the Higashida No. 1 Blast Furnace which has been converted into a park with lighting to highlight the tall furnace remains. This furnace started operation in 1901 and was still working in 1972. The remains that can be seen now are of the tenth-generation furnace.
Unfortunately, this furnace could not be included as a component part of the serial World Heritage nomination because its foundations had been destroyed. Still, with great enthusiasm, the local residents created a plate marked with the 1901 date and the site is lovingly preserved now as a historical park. Adjoining the park is the Kitakyushu Innovation Gallery with displays intended to preserve and pass on innovative industrial technology. The Gallery also has a section on the Sites of Japan’s Meiji industrial Revolution. It is intended to be an educational facility where anyone can come to learn about Japan’s industrial heritage. We will continue to work to conserve and develop other industrial heritage sites and facilities for tourism and educational purposes.
We will combine our efforts with those of the government and with other regional administrations to implement creative ideas that will attract even more people. Recently an app has been developed that will provide visual information simply by holding your smartphone over an object. We hope to develop more of these kinds of tools for “educational tourism,” and are open to other ideas as well.
As part of its efforts to promote tourism, the government is also implementing measures to teach people about the sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution and present the World Heritage sites as interesting places to learn about. The Sites comprise of 23 component parts in 11 cities, including Kitakyushu City, and are scattered over eight prefectures. On June 20, in collaboration with relevant private corporations and organizations, we launched a World Heritage Route Promotion Council, with the intent of creating tour routes linking all the component parts.
ーーCreating World Heritage tour routes is a very interesting idea.
There are a number of ways we can do this. For example, an extremely interesting course would be one that links the steel making facilities in Kitakyushu City with the Chikuho Coal Mines and related facilities. Coal and steel are inseparable, and, at Chikuho, people can see the work of Sakubei Yamamoto, who record the work done at the mines in paintings and document that are now included in the Memory of the World Register. Another viable idea is for a route that would provide an education in the history of modern steelmaking by linking Kitakyushu City with Kamaishi City in Iwate Prefecture.
Within the city environs, we have not only the Higashida No. 1 Blast Furnace, but also related sites, such as the Kawachi Reservoir, which is spanned by the Minami Kawachi Bridge, a lenticular truss bridge designated as an Important Cultural Property. Built in the same 1920s are the numerous old, red-brick buildings to be found around the Moji and Wakamatsu port areas. The sites are illuminated at night and we are hoping this will attract visitors who come to see the nightscapes. We would like to see more active use of all of these sites and facilities and are working on new ideas.
Chairman, Fujisankei Group
Executive Managing Advisor, Fuji Television Network, Inc.
Executive Managing Advisor, Fuji Media Holdings, Inc.
Advisor, Federation of Japan Port and Airport Construction Association
(Ex. Chairman of Specialists Center of Port and Airport Engineering)
Mayor of Nagasaki City
Former Director of the Sano Tsunetami Memorial Museum (currently known as Sano Tsunetami and the Mietsu Naval Dock History Museum)
Director of NPO Association for Thinking about Satoyama
Director of National Congress of the Industrial Heritage
Honorary Chief Priest Toshinari Ueda
Former Mayor of Omuta City
Archaeologist and Heritage Conservation Specialist
A fellow of the Japan Federation of Engineering Societies
Team Member of the Industrial Project Team Office for the Promotion of World Heritage Listing under Cabinet Secretariat
Governor of Kagoshima Prefecture
Mayor of Hagi City
Mayor of Uki City, Kumamoto Prefecture
The Former Employee of Nippon Steel Corporation
An Associate Professor of the Faculty of Science and Engineering in Iwate University
Chairman of the Tourist Guide Association of Misumi West Port
President of Kuraya Narusawa Co., Ltd.
Chairman of Izunokuni City Tourism Association
Director and General Manager of Gunkanjima Concierge
Producer of the Gunkanjima Digital Museum
Owner at Tōge Chaya
Chairman: Mr. Hidenori Date
President: Mr. Masahiro Date
Proprietor, Houraikan Inn
Representative Director of Egawa Bunko non-profit incorporated foundation
The 42nd head of the Egawa Family
Democratic Party for the People (DPP) Representative for Nagasaki Prefecture
President of the NPO, Way to World Heritage Gunkanjima
MI Consulting Group
President of Watanabe Production Group and Honorary Chair of Watanabe Productions Co., Ltd.
Member of the House of Councillors
World Heritage Consultant
Director and Dean, The Kyushu-Asia Institute of Leadership
Representative Director, SUMIDA, Inc.
Journalist, founder of the Shimomura Mitsuko Ikikata Juku School
Representative, Rally Nippon
Chairman, Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution World Heritage Route Promotion Council Director, National Congress of Industrial Heritage
Representative Director, General Incorporated Foundation National Congress of Industrial Heritage (Advisor, Public Interest Incorporated Foundation Capital Markets Research Institute）
Mayor of Nagasaki City
Policy Director at Heritage Montreal
World Heritage Consultant
Executive Director of Kogakuin University
Heritage Architect and International Consultant
Head of Data Acquisition at The Glasgow School of Art’s School of Simulation and Visualisation
Head of Industrial Heritage, Historic Environment Scotland, Edinburgh
Scottish Ten Project Manager, Historic Environment Scotland, Edinburgh
Mayor of Izunokuni City, Shizuoka Prefecture
Pro-Provost and Chairman of Council of the Royal College of Art. Heritage advisor of Canal & River Trust for England and Wales.
Dean of Tokyo Rissho Junior College
Professor emeritus of Keio University
Mayor of Kitakyushu City
At the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee convened in Bonn, Germany, from June 28 to July 8, 2015, the decision was approved to inscribe the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution on the World Heritage list.
At a celebratory party held to mark the occasion, some of the primary promoters of the project spoke of their joy in achieving their goal and of the trials and tribulations to getting there.
Director and Managing Executive Officer, Hanshin Expressway Company Limited
Member, Board of Directors, National Congress of Industrial Heritage
Vice-Governor of Shizuoka Prefecture
Mayor of Hagi City
Chairman, Tokyo Metro Co., Ltd.
Mayor of Omuta City
Deputy Director-General, Lifelong Learning Policy Bureau, MEXT
Former Counsellor, Cabinet Secretariat
Mayor of Kamaishi City
Member, Board of Directors, National Congress of Industrial Heritage Counselor, Shimadzu Limited
Chairman of the Consortium for the World Heritage Inscription of Modern Industrial Heritage (Kyushu-Yamaguchi) and governor of Kagoshima Prefecture (as of 2015)