The Business Development of Cittaslow Maebashi-Akagi
What is Cittaslow?
“Cittaslow” is a movement that started in 1999 in our city’s friendship city, Orvieto, Italy. It is a movement which cherishes the food, agricultural produce, life style, history, culture, and natural environment of the city. It is an initiative which aims for a new urban development that respects individuality and diversity.
As of November 2018, it is an international organization with 30 countries, including Italy, and 252 cites.
Cittaslow International Association Logo
This slowly progressing snail that lives in a place full of rich nature carries on its back a city where people live.
Maebashi City Joins Cittaslow International Association
For the advancement of the brand power of the area extending through the southern foot Mt. Akagi (Akagi Nanroku), this city requested to join the Cittaslow International Association.
The review resulted in the joining of the Maebashi-Akagi region (Part of Haga, Ōga, Miyagi, Kasukawa, and the Fujimi districts) being confirmed on May 12th, 2017.It became the second region in Japan, following Kesennuma City in Miyagi Prefecture, to join the Association.
Cittaslow Joining Certificate
Common Knowledge Flyer for Cittaslow International Association
We received great help from our International Exchange Honorary Advisor, Mr. Makoto Tokunaga, who lives in Orvieto, Italy. A citizen’s group related to Cittaslow activities visited the headquarters of Cittaslow International Association, Orvieto City, Italy, on June 16th, 2017.
At that time, due to the 20 year friendship city agreement Maebashi City and Orvieto city have, the Mayor of Orvieto City paid a special visit, and with the Cittaslow International Association Secretary General and other related personnel, the Cittaslow International Association Joining Certificate was presented to the citizen’s group.
Orvieto Mayor holding the Certificate
Orvieto Mayor holding the Cittaslow Flag
Maebashi-Akagi Slowcity Fair (November 4th 2017)
Along with commemorating the joining of the Cittaslow International Association, we celebrated the 20th year anniversary of the friendship city signing, and we held the “2017 Maebashi-Akagi Cittaslow Fair” in Gunma Flower Park. As a part of the 25th anniversary of the Gunma Flower Park’s opening, entry was free.
It was an event in which could taste the food and agricultural products of this city as well as experience the historical culture of this city. It was a clear day and, including the satellite venue, 3,000 people came to be a part of it.
International Association President Pizani Presenting Mayor Yamamoto with the Certificate
Mayor Yamamoto and Related Personnel Holding the Cittaslow Flag
Guest to Japan from Italy
Yagibushi Performance on Traditional Performance Stage
2017 Cittaslow Fair Flyer（Front）
2017 Cittaslow Fair Flyer（Back）
Establishing the Cittaslow Corner on the 1st floor of the City Hall near the East Entrance
There is an introduction panel showing the Cittaslow Certificate and welcoming of the 20th Anniversary with Orvieto, Italy. When you come to the city hall please be sure to look at it.
Cittaslow Flag and Certificate
Mt. Akagi’s Photo and Maebashi-Akagi’s Well-Known Cittaslow Poster
Setting up a Display Signboard in the Cittaslow Area
We set up 9 signboards among the Cittaslow Maebashi-Akagi area such as food stations (Michi no Eki) to introduce Cittaslow area.（March 2018）
Livestock Industry Experiment Station Intersection
（Cittaslow Monument Installation Location）
Maebashi Fujimi-Machi Kogure 2416-1
Mt. Akagi General Tourist Information Office
Maebashi Fujimi-Machi Mt. Akgai 1-14
Gunma Flower Park
Maebashi Kashiwagura-Machi 2471-7
Michi no Eki Fujimi
Maebashi Fujimi-Machi Ishi 1569-1
Michi no Eki- Green Flower Ranch Ōgo
Maebashi Takikubo-Machi 1369-1
Kasukawa Onsen Genki Land
Maebashi Kasukawa-Machi Tsukida 372
Michi no Eki- Akagi no Megumi
Maebashi Ogikubo-Machi 530
Akagi Nanmen Senbonzakura Forest Park
Maebashi Naegashima-Machi 2511-2
Maebashi Fujimi-machi Akagiyama Ōnuma
Setting up a “Symbol Monument” at the stock Industry Experiment Station Intersection
In order for Cittaslow Maebashi-Akagi to be well known, taking the snail that is the symbol for the Cittaslow International Association as a motif, we set up a symbol monument in the Livestock Industry Experiment Station Intersection and debuted it to related personnel (March 28th, 2018). At the completion ceremony, the creator, Mr. Kōichi Mogi spoke about the feelings that were put into the work.
- Name Cittaslow Symbol Monument
- Material Stainless Steel (Body, Head), Iron (Twisting Machine Parts)
- Installation Location Maebashi Fujimi-Machi Kogure 2416-1（Livestock Industry Experiment Station On the Pasture）
- Creator Mr. Kōichi Mogi （Metal Sculptor）
Cittaslow Symbol Monument
Monument Unveiling by Related Personnel
Volunteers Build a flower bed around the “Symbol Monument”
In order for Cittaslow Maebashi-Akagi to be well known, we installed a symbol monument at the Livestock Industry Experiment Station Intersection, but there was no fence around it, there were some concerns that children could touch it and hurt themselves.
Due to this reason, there were suggestions to build a flower bed around the monument to prevent from accidents. Thanks to the Fujimi Region Area Planning Association, Yashima Sōgō Sekizai, a local company, voluntarily created a flower bed around the monument. (June 25th-26th, 2018)
Making of the Flower Bed
Completed Flower Bed
Planting of flowers by the Fujimi Commerce and Industry Association Women’s Department
The flower bed around the monument was colored with about 100 post of yellow and orange marigolds and purple ageratum. (July 12th, 2018)
This flower seeding Takeuchi Garden Gunma Farm, and planting was carried out by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Women’s Department. The management of transplanting and watering of the flowers is also carried out by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Women’s Department (hereafter referred to as CCI: WD).
Cittaslow is a citizen focused movement that places importance on the food, agriculture, history, culture, and natural environment of a land, and one that promotes a flexible, high quality lifestyle. This time, thanks to everyone in the region, a beautiful flower bed was set up. Using this opportunity, in order to spread the Maebashi-Akagi Cittaslow Citizen’s movement, as well as spruce up the regional resources in the area, and to connect the life in the region with tourism promotion, we want to take the movement.
Fujimi CCI: WD Planting the Flowers
Completed Flower Bed
Supporting the Signboards that take Scenery into Consideration
We are making an effort to assist in part of the fees associated with the repairs of the signboards with the landscape design along the roads. (From April 2018)
- Target Group
Business people who own businesses within the municipality
- Characteristics of the Advertisement Materials (Point)
- The surface of the signboards are made of wood, or things with wood texture and are white, black, green, or brown in color
- Including a text with in the design that indicates one is in the Cittaslow Maebashi-Akagi area.（Ex: This is the Maebashi-Akagi Cittaslow area）
Ex: Leonard Di Vinci Ranch
Assisting in Purchasing a Pellet Stove
Environmentally friendly pellet stoves have the effect of preserving the forest environment by promoting the utilization of forests resources, and leads to the idea of a Cittaslow, which gives consideration to the environment by way of a slow life. For this reason, we are making an effort to pay part of the fees related to the purchase of an oven that uses firewood as a fuel. (From 2017)
- Targets of Assistance
Residents of the Maebashi-Akagi Cittaslow area (including: Fujimi, Miyagi, Ōgo, Kasukawa, and Haga)
- Expense of Target Assistance
Pellet stove and Chimney expenses
We hosted two Cittaslow seminars with the goal of informing the citizens about what Cittaslow is, and with the goal of increasing opportunities for the Cittaslow movement.
▶(First Part) Akagi Nanroku Cittaslow Seminar –Pursing the Development of Land Sustainability-
・Date September 28th , 2018 (Friday)
・Location Otowa Club (Kanzawa no Mori 1)
・Speaker Hajime Kobayashi,
Representative of the Kobayashi International Office
Previous TORAY-ITALIA Company President
Mr. Kobayashi, who engaged in the management of Alcantara in Italy and raised the company until it became rated as a NO 1 Italian company, gave a lecture on the sustainable development of the Akagi Nanroku area using examples from Italy, the birthplace of Cittaslow. Roughly 60 people attended. During the opinion exchange portion of the second part, a heated discussion erupted.
▶（Second Part）Akagi Nanroku Cittaslow Seminar –Let’s Search for the Land’s Sleeping Treasure and Polish it-
・Date October 18th, 2018 (Thursday)
・Location Ōgo Shante Hall (Ōgo-machi 15)
・Speaker Mr. Yuzuru Matsumoto
Executive Director of Farmers Forest Co., Ltd.
Manager at Michi no Eki Utsunomiya Romantic Village, Enishi Travel, etc.
Branding area’s resources and establishing a market inside and out
Acting as a “Land Firm”
Mr. Matsumoto gave a lecture on the company’s efforts as a regional trading company, such as the regional industry’s sixth sector industrialization (which means the company produces primary goods, processes them, packs them, distributes them and sells them) and problem-solving sightseeing tours.
The company’s initiative to raise the value of the region and make the residents’ lives worthwhile are very interesting as they share the same way thinking that Cittaslow has, which is aiming to place importance on the region’s unique culture and living. There were many questions that were gathered at the venue.
Mr. Matsumoto Delivering the Lecture
A Talk by Mr. Matsumoto and Mayor Yamamoto
Akagi Slowcity Festa and Akagi Cycle Festa
On November 4th (Sunday), we held the Akagi Slowcity Festa in Gunma Flower Park in order to have many people understand the ideology of Cittaslow and the charm of the land. Furthermore, this fiscal year, for the first time the Akagi Cycle Festa was held, and the Akagiyama Gourmet Ride was also held on the same day.
2Slowcity Festa Flyer 2018 (front and back)
Akagiyama Cycle Festa 2018 Flyer (front and back)
Place of the Akagi Slowcity Festa
Novello Italian Wine Stand
Check the homepage below for more details on the event
Establishing of the Cycle Oasis
We established the “Omotenashi Spot” (lit. spot of hospitality) as a Cycle Oasis that provides relief and safety for the cyclists who make their way around Mt. Akagi.
Between the city and the established facilities (shops), we provided a cycle rack, handed out simple tools, such as tire pumps etc., to the cyclists to borrow.
As of February 2019, with the area of the Akagi Hill Climb Competition course as the center, there are 58 places that are currently providing these services.
Poster Cycle Rack
Air Pump Simple Tools
Pasturing of 5 sheep at Akagi Shirakaba Ranch
At Shirakaba Ranch, known as the place where Japanese azalea grow abundantly, after the cows finished their grazing (Translator note: there used to be cows in this area that grazed but they are no longer at the Ranch) weeds grew rampantly and the people at the ranch were worried about the habitat of the azaleas.
Pasturing was done in cooperation with Akagi Shizen Juku and the National Japanese Toursim Agency with regional campaign volunteers, to protect the azaleas by using weed killer effects and new tourism promotion measures. From June to the end of October, 5 female sheep of the Suffolk breed were brought to graze the land. (Since 2018)
Sheep Grazing at Akagi Shirakaba Ranch
Transmission of Cittaslow Area Charm (Akagi Shizen Juku and Japan DMO initiative)
At the NPO Akagi Shizen Juku that was registered by Japan DMO (Destination Management/ Marketing Organization) of the Sightseeing government in July 2018, in for the Akagi area sustain and develop as a “great place to live, great place to visit,” we carry out the promotion and planning of an experience that makes the best use of the land’s unique resources such as its deeply rooted food, work, nature, and agriculture.
▶Example of Tour and Experience Program
・“Akagi Onsen Area Genji-Botaru Appreciation Tour and Stay Offer” for those staying at Akagi Onsen Area
We made Akagi Onsen Area, a collection of onsen resorts surrounded by mountains, and the appreciation genji-botaru (firefly) living Sanden Forest’s Sanden Forest Biotope (Sanden no Mori Biotōpu) into a package (tour).
The genji-botaru of Akagi Nanroku
Akagi Onsen Hotel’s Open Air Bath
・Akagi Slow Camping: An event for enjoying Mt. Akagi in the winter
Leisurely enjoy dinner and breakfast made from ingredients found on Mt. Akagi, and alcohol as you relax in a special lounge wrapped up in the warmth of a pellet stove. It is a program where one can experience things that remind people of Mt. Akagi’s winter, such as fishing on top of the ice for wakasagi (a Japanese smelts). One can also experience snow shoe hiking, where you explore a snow field.
A diner that commonly uses local products
Fishing for wakasagi on top of Lake Akagi Onuma
・Light Up of Akuzawa House, important cultural property
Akuzawa House, one of the oldest antique house in Gunma Prefecture and an important cultural heritage site that conveys the history of the Akagi Nanroku region. Ever year at Akuzawa house and its entrance, there is a light up of the kasumi-zakura (a specie of sakura).
Light up of Akuzawa House and the kasumi-zakura
Akuzawa House in the afternoon
・Hanami (flower viewing) Cycling Tour during Spring at Akagi Nanroku
We held a cycling tour where you can slowly enjoy a local trip on a bike, enjoying the sakura and the tulips of Akagi Nanroku without burdening the environment.
- A tour where you can fully enjoy Japanese azalea and fresh greenery at Akagi Shirakaba Ranch
Normally at Akagi Shirakaba Ranch where you are not allowed to enter, a local guide will take you on a tour to enjoy the best time to see the Japanese azaleas. Along with a local guide in this place of untouched nature, you can enjoy an omotenashi tea time and lunch.
A photograph of what the event is like