chapter  10
15 Pages

Volcano and Geothermal Tourism in Japan – Examples from Honshu and Hokkaido

ByM. Cooper

Introduction Hokkaido is the most northerly of Japan’s main islands and is the country’s wild frontier, a volcanic tourism destination that contains the newly listed world heritage Shiretoko Peninsula (complete with thermal waterfalls), many hot springs and active volcanoes, and a developing domestic and international geotourism. As a whole, there are 108 active volcanoes in Japan, and Hokkaido is host to 19 of these. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) defines active volcanoes as those that have erupted in the past 10,000 years or currently have fumarolic activity, and is continuously monitoring the activities of 20 of these using seismic and visual observations. These more active volcanoes are listed in Tables 10.1 and 10.2 below, and include Meakandake, Tokachidake, Tarumae, Usu, Hokkaido-Komagatake, Azuma, Adatara, Bandai, Nasu, Kusatsu-Shirame, Asama, Ontake, Izu-Tobu, Izu-Oshima, Miyakejima, Kuju, Aso, Unzen, Kirishima and Sakurajima. The other volcanoes are surveyed regularly but not continuously by the JMA. If some abnormal phenomena are detected, temporal observation stations are installed and the data are continuously monitored by the JMA. Temporal observation is also carried out at Iwatesan, Akita-Komagadake, Fuji, Satsuma-Iwojima, Kuchinoerabujima and

Suwanosejima volcanoes, in recognition that even those volcanoes in Japan that have not shown signs of activity in the recent past are merely dormant and local communities and their visitors require protection should a major event occur.