Hong Kong Elementary School Trip

During the first week of July, Mt. Apoi Geopark hosted a group of elementary students and faculty from Hong Kong for a 3-day Geotour. This exchange was made possible by our continued cooperation through the Asia Pacific Geopark Network and our relationship with Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark.

Day 1

We started the first day with a tour of Samani's strawberry sorting plant which processes and packages the locally-grown strawberries. Everyone also had a chance to taste the tart Akasuzune strawberries. Next, we explored the back of Cape Enrumu to learn how the land was formed before heading to the Samani Community Center where the students got to try playing with traditional Japanese toys such as the Kendama, Koma top, origami, and takeuma stilts. Today's lunch was the Apoi Dream Bento, a boxed lunch set created by the Samani Junior High School students.

After lunch, we headed out to Horoman-kyo Gorge for a peridotite workshop. The geopark guides led the students down to the river bed to explain the importance of Mt. Apoi and the rare peridotite rock. After exploring the river, we went to the Geo Labo where the students tried polishing the peridotite rock and made their own rock slides using several different common rock minerals. On the way back to the hotel we stopped by the Ooma former plate boundary Geopark site to learn more about how Mt. Apoi and the Hidaka Mountains formed.

Lastly, we had a special welcome dinner with the Geopark staff. The students watched the Samani Folktales animation about local Ainu stories and then played an exciting game of bingo to which chances to win Geopark merchandise.

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Day 2

The second day started at the beach near Cape Enrumu for some beach combing. The students were excited about this activity and found many interesting items on the beach, including sea shells, fishing buoys, kelp, and bottles that washed ashore from China, South Korea, and Russia. Afterward, we drove by the Oyako-iwa Fureai Beach on our way to meet the Samani Elementary School Students.

The Hong Kong students prepared a song from their school musical to perform for the Samani students and even did their best to translate parts of the song into Japanese. Then the Samani students performed a traditional Soran dance to welcome the Hong Kong students. After that, everyone had school lunch together. This was a wonderful opportunity for students from two very different countries to come together and meet one another.

Later that afternoon, the Hong Kong students met with the Samani Ainu Culture Preservation Society to observe and experience traditional Ainu dances and songs. The students also attempted to play the Mukkuri (mouth harp) instrument. At the end of the event, the students gave their thanks to the Samani Ainu Culture Preservation Society by singing a song from their school musical.

After dinner, the students attended a star gazing event led by a Geopark guide. After a short explanation of the differences between Hong Kong's and Samani's night skies and what constellations can be seen during this time of year, we headed outside to see for ourselves. It was a beautifully clear night and we could see many of the constellations, as well as the Milky Way! Most of the Hong Kong students had never seen the Milky Way in person before and were very impressed.

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Day 3

On the third day of the tour, the Hong Kong students climb Mt. Apoi, the symbol of Samani. After breakfast everyone was provided with bottles of water and a bento, then we first walked to the Mt. Apoi Geopark Visitor Center for some pre-climbing information with today's guides.

After final preparations, we began our hike! The Geopark guides pointed out various plants and signs of wildlife. The students were surprised by the bear-damaged signboard at the trailhead. We also found deer tracks, woodpecker holes, and more. The students are unaccustomed to mountain climbing, so we took our time and arrived at our destination, the 5th Station where we took a long rest and ate lunch.

We made our way safely back down the mountain and back to Hotel Apoi Sanso. The students had the rest of the afternoon to explore the Visitor Center and the Apoi Foothills Family Park.

香港小学校 3日目 x-small.jpg This was their final night at Mt. Apoi Geopark and the following morning the Geopark staff waved goodbye as the Hong Kong students left Samani to head to their next destination, Toya-Usu Geopark.


Early Summer in Mt. Apoi

I recently climbed Mt. Apoi on May 29 (Wed) on behalf of an ongoing project.

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I almost missed it, but I saw the Apoi-kuwagata flower.

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Apoi-azumagiku and Apoi-zekisho

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As for the project, I hope to update you all very soon. Please look forward to it.


Hidaka Mountains Erimo Tokachi National Park

A new signboard was installed in front of the Mt. Apoi Geopark Visitor Center announcing the new Hidaka Mountains Erimo Tokachi National Park designation.

Don't forget to check out the map of all national parks in Hokkaido and the map of Geoparks in Japan.

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Apoi Foothills Park in Pre-Summer Bloom

Edo Yama-tsutsuji (Rhododendron kaempferi) and Nanakamado (Japanese rowan) are in bloom around Mt. Apoi Foothill Park and the Geopark Visitor Center. Mt. Apoi is becoming more crowded with climbers on the weekend.

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↑ Edo Yama-tsutsuji (Rhododendron kaempferi)

↓ Nanakamado (Japanese rowan)

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Spring in Samani

April 10th: I had just finished cleaning the bio-toilet in Horoman Gorge when I looked up and saw this.

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A falcon was flying in a circle around and around in the sky. They must have found an updraft and used it to soar through the sky.

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Katakuri flowers blooming next to the Horoman-gawa Inari Shrine

April 24: The cherry blossoms around the Mt. Apoi Geopark Visitor Center are blooming.
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April 26th: Lovely weather today, and the magnolias and cherry blossoms are blooming.

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