The 5th Sunflower Village Basic Plan Formulation Committee Meeting, Creating Possibilities for the Future Development of Hokuryu Town with a Focus on Sunflower Village

Friday, October 30, 2020

The 5th meeting of the Himawari no Sato Basic Plan Development Committee was held on Sunday, October 18 at 4:00 p.m. in the large hall on the second floor of the community center. It was an open committee meeting format with the number of observers limited to less than 20 people under the Corona disaster.

The 5th Sunflower Village Basic Plan Formulation Committee
Table of Contents

Greeting from Mayor Yutaka Sano of Hokuryu Town

北竜町・佐野豊 町長ご挨拶
Greeting from Mayor Yutaka Sano of Hokuryu Town

The Sunflower Village Basic Plan Development Committee began meeting last April 2019, with the fifth committee meeting scheduled for March of this year.

However, due to the declaration of a state of emergency by the Corona, we have cancelled and refrained from all kinds of town events. The Sunflower Festival has also given top priority to protecting the lives of the town's residents, and this year we have been doing our utmost to focus on soil preparation for the Sunflower Village.

This was the first meeting of the committee in exactly one year since the last meeting. The section chief in charge will explain the past plans, including this basic plan, which outlines many aspects of tourism in the town of Hokuryu. This basic plan outlines many aspects of tourism in Hokuryu Town, including the observatory, the tourist center, and year-round tourism.

Based on this basic plan, we will explain it in detail to the town residents, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the council, and after receiving their understanding, we will promote it for the development of Hokuryu Town.

I know we have a limited amount of time today, but I would like to ask the committee members for their input as we move forward," said Mayor Yutaka Sano.

Agenda: Terutaka Suzuki, Chair

Proceedings, Chair Terutaka Suzuki

The world has been changed by the Corona. It is said that disasters like this accelerate social change, not only in Japan but also in the rest of the world.

When I visited Hokuryu Town in July this year, it was the first time I saw a sunflower village without sunflowers in bloom. Once again, I realized the charm of sunflowers in the Sunflower Village.

I visited Hokuryu-machi more than 35 years ago, and many people, including Mr. Kengo Kuma, have come to Hokuryu-machi, learning about the charm of sunflowers and becoming fans. When I told the story of Hokuryu Town to Yuji Murakami, president of Iori, an Imabari towel store, he was so moved that he gave me a towel as a gift.

By building an observatory designed by world-renowned architect Kengo Kuma, I believe this will become a new tourist resource and make the entire Sunflower Village more attractive.

At the fourth committee meeting, Mr. Kuma himself made a presentation on the attractiveness of sunflowers, agriculture, and the observatory. With the concept of an amazingly attractive observatory, the people of Hokuryu-machi must have felt that Hokuryu-machi will be changing in the future.

In a recent article in the newspaper, "Thinking about Tourism in the Future. In the article, "What Tourists Seek," the author says, "We live in an age in which everything is a target for tourism and can be an incentive for tourism. The term "00 tourism" is widely used as a manifestation of this. It is possible that people from all over the world will come to see the observatory at Sunflower Village.

We would like to bring this Sunflower Village Basic Plan to the new Hokuryu Town so that it can be implemented with the possibility of opening up the next era of agriculture, sunflowers, and the new addition of the observatory. We would like to discuss how we can realize this and make it attractive, by putting together the plan so far, and adding explanations with Kengo Kuma, who has further refined the plan," said Chair Suzuki.

Committee Members.

Explanation by Hiroyuki Yoshida, Chief of Industry Division, Hokuryu Town Hall

観光・林務係・吉田浩幸 係長
Hiroyuki Yoshida, Tourism and Forestry Section, Section Chief

Chapter 1 Introduction

1. background and objectives of the plan

Thirty years have passed since the establishment of the Hokuryu Sunflower Village in 1989. Now, the Sunflower Village has become a symbol of Hokuryu Town.

Now, Hokuryu-cho needs new ideas and designs to differentiate itself from other towns in sunflowers and to enhance the name of Hokuryu-cho, the town of sunflowers. We hope to make Hokuryu-cho a town of sunflowers with new attractions that we can be proud of throughout the country and the world, so that tourists will visit Hokuryu-cho throughout the year.

The Sunflower Village Basic Plan will be developed in order to systematically improve the area, increase the value and visibility of the bright and energetic Hokuryu Town, and create possibilities for the future development of Hokuryu Town.

Brighten and energize the town of Hokuryu!

Basic Plan for Sunflower Village in Hokuryu Town

This plan will provide the philosophy and future direction for the promotion of tourism in our town, and will serve as a guideline for the promotion of an attractive tourist town through the cooperation of town residents, tourism-related organizations, and the administration.

The term of this plan shall be 10 years, from 2020 to 2029. However, it shall be consistent with the Town of Hokuryu Comprehensive Plan.

Current Situation of the Environment Surrounding the Town of Hokuryu

In the current state of tourism in Hokkaido as a whole, the number of tourist arrivals in Hokkaido in 2019 was 143.88 million, with Hokuryu Town at 520,000, 67th. In the North Sorachi region, Hokuryu Town is third, following Fukagawa City with 930,000 visitors and Chichibetsu Town with 620,000 visitors.

Chapter 2: Current State of Tourism in Hokuryu Town

Number of visitors to Hokuryu Town

(1) Increased due to the opening of Minoricchi Hokuryu, a direct sales outlet for agricultural and livestock products, in FY2012, and has been steadily increasing
(2) Number of overnight guests: Remained flat
(3) Number of tourists and overnight guests by season: Seasonal unevenness in the number of visitors, peaking in July and August during the Sunflower Festival season.
(4) Number of visitors to Himawari Festival: steadily increasing

Number of visitors

(5) Characteristics of Himawari Festival visitors
The number of visitors was organized based on the results of a questionnaire conducted at Himawari-no-sato by the Hokkaido Research Organization, an independent administrative agency.

Age of visitors: 86.6% of the visitors were under 40 years old, and the majority of visitors were from the child-rearing generation and young adults.
Ratio of in-door visitors to out-of-door visitors: 8:2, with the majority of visitors coming from Sapporo, Asahikawa, and Ebetsu cities within 1 to 1.5 hours of each other.
Average length of stay: 1.7 hours. About 80% stayed less than 2 hours. Efforts to extend the length of stay are needed.
Purchasing Trends: About 40% of all visitors ate in Hokuryu Town, and about 70% of them ate in the tourist center. Those who purchased souvenirs accounted for 20% of the total. Improving the purchasing rate will be important in the future.

Visitor age and reason for visit

Number of visits: 38.5% of the visitors were repeaters, coming for the second time or more. Since the national average for the percentage of repeaters is 37.2%, it is considered that the same level of repeaters are secured.
Intention to return: 86.8% of the total of "strongly agree" and "agree" showed a high level of satisfaction.

Purchasing trends and number of visits

Chapter 3: Challenges for Hokuryu Town Tourism

1. Challenges for Hokuryu Town Tourism

(1) Year-round tourism: Efforts should be made to create tourism that attracts more people to Sunflower Village throughout the year.

(2) Development of specialties and souvenirs: Specialties and souvenirs that cannot be eaten or purchased without coming to Himawari no Sato, and products that give visitors something special to experience.

(3) Information dissemination: Since the best time to see sunflowers depends on the climate and other factors each year, it is necessary to disseminate information on the blooming and best time to see sunflowers, and to devise ways to disseminate information according to the target audience.

(4) Discovery of tourism resources other than sunflowers: Tourism in Hokuryu-cho is centered on transit-type and seasonal tourism, with most visitors staying only for a short period of time, and most of them are day-trippers. In order to increase the length of stay, it is necessary to discover and refine experience programs and new tourist resources, rather than just "sightseeing".

(5) Himawari no Sato is operated mainly by subsidies from the government and outsourcing fees. In order to ensure stable and continuous operation in the future, it is necessary to work toward securing its own financial resources.

(6) Maintenance of Sunflower Village: It is necessary to address the aging and lack of functionality of the tourist center and observatory. Furthermore, it is necessary to systematically improve the Sunflower Village in order to enhance its attractiveness and increase satisfaction levels.
Observation deck: aging due to passage of 10 years, design, narrowness of top and stairs, conformity of height, and need to be made to accommodate barrier-free access.
Tourist Center: 20 years old and leaking due to aging. There are opinions that it gives the impression of being closed, that it is used as an indoor ball game facility, that it is close to the parking lot, and that it is a cool facility that does not get much sun.
Sunflower Village: There is no playground for children, no rest area in the park, and there is a desire for a space that can be used year-round.

Chapter 4: What Hokuryu Town Should Aim to Become

1. what the town of Hokuryu should aim for

Tourism Promotion and Agriculture in Hokuryu Town: Aiming to create a sustainable town where tourists are healed in a safe and secure agricultural town, and townspeople are proud and economically active.
Sunflower Village: Aiming to create a landscape that can disseminate information about the "Sunflower Village," a symbol of the town of Hokuryu with its brightly colored agricultural sunflowers, to the world.

(1) Year-round tourism:

To create a tourist attraction where many people visit and stay in the Sunflower Village throughout the year, we will plant sunflowers and other seasonal flowers, create a new observatory and tourist center with tourist resources designed by Kengo Kuma, who is a hot topic, and organize the Hokuryu Experience and events.

Year-round: Cultivation of flowers other than sunflowers, attraction of film commissions, activities (ziplines, sunflower mazes), sightseeing tourism (sunflower tourism, view tourism, taste tourism)
Spring: Sunflower cultivation experience under the owner system
Summer: Sunflower picking experience, dried flower experience, sunflower dyeing experience
Autumn: Hinmeri crafts, photo contest, tofu making, zabu-zabu basket making, kamado rice making
Winter: Snowmobile experience, Sunflower road cross-country skiing, Sunflower corridor, Pillow projection mapping, Sunflower Seeds Art Contest (painting and art contest using sunflower seeds)

(2) Development of specialties, souvenirs and time-honored products

Sunflower sablefish, sunflower rice omusubi, and an original sunflower village calendar.

(3) Information dissemination and attracting immigrants

Actively develop strategic promotional activities for the development of the new Sunflower Village by utilizing SNS, etc., actively recruit local development cooperators and other immigrants, and support the challenge of developing and promoting products that take advantage of local agricultural products and products that take advantage of local agricultural products.
SNS publicity, detailed information on blooming conditions and events, creation of guidebooks for inbound travelers, recruitment of regional development cooperative members.

(4) New Narrative and Human Resource Development

The development of attractive experience programs for stay-and-go tourism will lead to immigration, and human resource development will be conducted so that Hokuryu-cho will become a diverse and lively place.
Provide agricultural experience, sunflower experience, buckwheat noodle making experience, Japanese drumming experience, and community development human resource development projects.

(5) Securing financial resources

∙ Consider various initiatives to secure national and provincial financial resources and hometown tax revenues, and to secure our own financial resources for stable and continuous operation in the future.

Consideration of cooperative fund to make good sunflowers bloom, bicycle rental, hometown tax payment, consideration of charging admission fee to Himawari-no-sato, consideration of fine collection of parking fee at Himawari-no-sato, consideration of incorporation of tourist association, crowd funding, private funding, etc.

What the town of Hokuryu should aim for

(6) Maintenance of Sunflower Village

Explanation by Mr. Takashi Taguchi, Chief Engineer, Kengo Kuma Urban Design Office, "Sunflower Village to the World".

田口誉 主任技師
Takashi Taguchi, Chief Engineer

(1) Design concept:The overall design uses a wooden structure inspired by the gingham checks of bright agricultural practices.

design concept
Overall layout plan

(2) Overall layout plan:A town center that becomes one with the sunflowers

(a) New Observatory: Symbol tree of the sunflower field

viewing platform

(b) New tourist center: Large wooden roof to face people

Tourist Center

(c) Tourist Information Centers: Bright and open tourist information centers

tourist information center

(d) Lawn field


(e) Street Furniture

street furniture

(f) Trailer house

trailer house


Within 10 years from 2020, we will systematically develop soft and hard projects with the support of related organizations, taking public comments, social conditions, and the financial situation into full consideration.

estimated cost of the project

The project will cost approximately 1.4 billion yen if facilities that fully resolve the issues of the Himawari-no-sato facility are built. In implementing the project, we will consult with related organizations and consider the use of various subsidies and grants and other means of securing financial resources in order to curb the town's costs as much as possible, and promote the project while applying for favorable bond issues.

New Observatory 107,000,000 yen
New Tourism Center 821,000,000 yen
Renovation of existing tourist center 177,000,000 yen
Drainage channel burial, sub ground maintenance, and event plaza maintenance 275,000,000 yen
Nonno Forest Maintenance 10,000,000 yen
Trailer house 5,000,000 yen

maintenance and operating costs

・If all of the above facilities are maintained, annual operating and maintenance costs are estimated to be approximately 33 million yen. Therefore, we will consider various methods of collecting financial resources and maintain and operate them while keeping town expenses under control.

Estimated project cost and maintenance and operation cost

Chapter 5 Tourism Promotion Structure of Hokuryu Town

1. tourism promotion system in Hokuryu Town

(1) Role of the town's residents: To be involved in tourism in Hokuryu Town with attachment to and pride in the town, and to welcome tourists with warm and kind hospitality.

(2) Role of tourism-related organizations: Strive to enhance and strengthen the organizational structure, strengthen cooperation among organizations, coordinate and collaborate with town residents and the government, develop effective promotion to attract visitors, spread understanding of tourism to town residents, and improve hospitality.

(3) Administrative Role: In cooperation with town residents, tourism-related organizations, and the national government and Hokkaido, promote tourism promotion measures and endeavor to support tourism projects undertaken voluntarily by each entity. (4) In order to respond to social changes, collaborate with universities, research institutes, experts, and companies outside the town, and actively provide and share information to tourism-related organizations in order to promote tourism in the town as a whole.

Reference 1: Progress in the Formulation of the Basic Plan for Sunflower Field in the Town of Hokuryu
Major opinions and public comments of the planning committee members

question and answer session

Various questions were raised about winter durability in buildings, etc.

question and answer session
隈研吾都市設計事務所・田口誉 主任技師
Kengo Kuma Urban Design Office, Takashi Taguchi, Chief Engineer
question and answer session

2019 Hokuryu Town Business Contest Report by Osaka Prefecture University Students

Proposal of a business plan to solve local issues in Hokuryu Town

Commissioner Masayuki Tanigaki (Part-time lecturer, Osaka Prefecture University; Chairman of the Board, Marche Corporation)

As a report for the "Theory of Regional Value Creation" lecture given by part-time lecturer Masayuki Tanigaki at Osaka Prefecture University, a "business plan to solve regional issues in Hokuryu-cho" was assigned to the students. The goal was to learn about the "value" of tourism and agriculture in Hokuryu-cho, the "region," and to create a new "creation," and these were made part of the students' credits and evaluation.

Approximately 80 students submitted two business ideas for creating new value for the town of Hokuryu, one in the tourism category and the other in the sunflower rice category.

Mr. Masayuki Tanigaki: Chairman of the Board, Marche Corporation

Evaluation of Commissioner Masayuki Tanigaki

Many unique ideas were submitted from the flexible and broad perspectives of the students.
...Osaka students had never heard of the town of Hokuryu in Hokkaido, but the more they learned about and researched the town, the more interested they became and the more they wanted to visit!
I believe that as we continue to expand our connections to the perspectives of the younger generation, new ideas will develop.

Report by Kenta Shimoura, Hokuryu Town Hall, Industry Division, Staff

北竜町役場産業課・下浦健太 職員
Kenta Shimoura, Industry Division, Hokuryu Town Hall, Staff

In November 2019, we visited Osaka Prefecture University to explain the overview and issues of Hokuryu Town to students in a lecture. After the lecture, we continued to communicate with the students via email with questions and honest opinions.

Description of Hokuryu Town
About Sunflower Rice
Lecture at Osaka Prefecture University

Evaluation Method

The first evaluation (by Commissioner Tanigaki) and second evaluation (by the Mayor of Hokuryu Town, Deputy Mayor, JA Kitasorachi Hokuryu Area Representative Director, Chairman of the Hokuryu Town Himawari Tourist Association, and Director of the Industry Division of Hokuryu Town) were conducted and scored.
Evaluation criteria: 1) Feasibility, 2) Contribution to the community, 3) Originality, 4) Logic. Five plans in each category were selected as winners.

Prizes, etc.

Sunflower Rice, Brilliant Sunflower Oil, and Sunflower Balm. Kuro Sengoku Soybean Set (local specialty) as a supplementary prize.

Report Contents
Award Ceremony Photos

Prize-winning works

Tourism Division

Grand Prize: "Sunflower Cultivation Program" by Shuichiro Kawaguchi
Excellence Award: "Barbarium, Handmade Experience" by Chijun Takahashi
Excellence Award: "Sunflower Preserved Flower" by Marika Nakanishi
Excellence Award: "Micro-collection of admission fee, sunflower motif contest" by Yumi Kobori.
Excellence Award: "Sunflower Wagon" by Nene Kubo

Sunflower Rice Division

Grand Prize: "Sunflower Rice Baby Snack" by Keina Furuki
Excellence Award" "Phantom Rice! Sunflower Rice Burger" by Erii Higashifuji
Excellence Award: "Creation of Sunflower Rice HP and expansion of publicity" by Mr. Dan Nishiyama
Excellence Award: "Rice Evaluation System" by Chinami Kawasaki
Yushoku Award: "Store provision, high value-added, and food comparison event" by Minori Fujiwara.

Kenta Shimoura Comments and impressions of staff

: Many of the ideas were unique to the students, and since most of them were female students, they were softly captured!
. The possibility of realization was also quite good. We hope you will all consider it!

Impressions after the Business Contest

Opinion of Commissioner Naoya Ishikawa (Head of Tokyo Office, JAZY Accounting Office, Certified Public Tax Accountant)

Mr. Naoya Ishikawa

Estimating annual operating and maintenance costs at approximately 33 million yen, it is conceivable, for example, to charge an admission fee.

Also, instead of popcorn, people can taste watermelons and melons from Hokuryu Town. If we can increase the value of Hokuryu Town by creating new sweets and food unique to Hokuryu Town with your ideas, more people will want to visit Hokuryu Town.

Opinion of Mr. Makoto Umehara, Commissioner (Visiting Professor, Musashino Art University)

Mr. Makoto Umehara

I checked all over the country and found about 100 sunflower towns. When Kengo Kuma's wooden tower is built, more and more people come to see the tower along with the sunflowers. Technology using wood has been unique to Japan since ancient times.

It is also necessary to come up with three products that tourists who come to see the symbol can take home as souvenirs, and to make plans with various product development promotions. It is important to realize something that has never been done before and find a topic of conversation and value.

Opinion of Mr. Yuji Sasaki (Planning Section, Planning and Coordination Department, Building Research Division, Hokkaido National Research Organization)

佐々木優二 様
Mr. Yuji Sasaki

As an actual example, "Kumayaki" in Shibetsu Town (designed and created by the townspeople) is creating a new culture by recruiting local development cooperative members who will lead the tourism-centered Hokuryu Town to a positive development and by setting up a mechanism there. We will strive to increase the purchase rate of tourists in Hokuryu Town and raise the sales per customer.

Submission of Sunflower Village Basic Plan

Terutaka Suzuki, Chairperson of the Committee, presented the Himawari no Sato Basic Plan to Mayor Yutaka Sano.

Submission of Sunflower Village Basic Plan

Greeting from Mayor Yutaka Sano

For the future development of Hokuryu Town, it is necessary to build a town centering on Sunflower Village. For the sake of future children, we will proceed with the project while carefully explaining it to the people of the town, related parties, and the town council, and obtaining their understanding. Thank you very much for your kind attention," said Mayor Sano.

Since 1980, when the women's club of the Hokuryu Agricultural Cooperative began planting sunflowers, the Sunflower Village has carved out a 40-year history while overcoming various difficulties.

And now, in the changing times, Sunflower Village is beginning to move and evolve to be reborn anew.

With boundless love, gratitude, and prayers for the wonderful sunflower village, which is drawing various big dreams and shining brighter and brighter with happy colors.

More Photos

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