REPORT

3rd Tokyo Treasure Islands Meeting

The Tokyo Treasure Islands Meetings are opportunities for members involved in the island meetings in 11 islands to gather, socialize, and exchange ideas to look at the treasures their islands offer. 3rd Tokyo Treasure Islands Meeting was held on July 8, 2019 at Akasaka in Tokyo. Over 40 individuals who participated in the island meetings gathered at the talk session that involved a study tour and led by a moderator. This report covers the Tokyo Treasure Islands Meeting.

A Study Tour to Find Hints on Branding

A study tour was conducted on the first day of 3rd island meeting. Participants from 9 islands - Oshima, Toshima, Niijima, Shikinejima, Miyakejima, Mikurashima, Hachijojima, Aogashima, and Chichijima - split into their respective courses and visited facilities and companies that are successful in their branding. The purpose is to connect the visit to future actions, such as inputting information to use later when debating on an action plan, as well as searching for opportunities to partner with the respective facilities and companies.

<A course (Toshima)>

  • Turntable
  • Japan Department Store Syokuhinkan
  • AKOMEYA

<B course (Niijima)>

  • Azit Co., Ltd.
  • GaiaX Co., Ltd.
  • TRVEL HUB MIX

<C course (Shikinejima)>

  • HAGI STUDIO Co., Ltd.
  • Smiles Co., Ltd.
  • Media Surf Communications Co., Ltd.

<D course (Mikurashima)>

  • WAT Co., Ltd.
  • Ryudou Sousei
  • "Izu Taberu Tsushin"
  • DANCE WITH THE FOREST CO., LTD.

<E course (Aogashima)>

  • IRON HOUSE TETSUYA
  • Toko Kitchen

<F course (Miyakejima, Chichijima)>

  • HAGI STUDIO Co., Ltd.
  • Kissa Laundry
  • Turntable

<G course (Oshima)>

  • Media Surf Communications Co., Ltd.
  • General Incorporated Association Takeshiba Area Management

<H course (Miyakejima, Hachijojima)>

  • Boxyz, Co., Ltd.
  • AGRIMEDIA Co., Ltd.
  • Stock.Shop

Sharing what you noticed and what you learned to think about future actions

After the study tour, the participants who returned to Akasaka looked back and shared what they noticed and what they learned. The participants used a worksheet that was given in advance and filled in what they thought was appealing and what useful hints they obtained (products, atmosphere, people, information, etc.), why they thought it was appealing and an examination of the appeal, what kinds of people would feel what kinds of emotions as a result of that, and what can be used in branding the island, and proceeded to give ideas and debate within each group.

The Toshima team used sticky notes and wrote their feelings on each of the facilities and companies they visited. The moderator used those opinions and divided them onto the worksheet. Many of the things they noticed included the company being particular about taking care of locally produced items, the importance of creating a fan base by explaining the story, being modest with any claims, the importance of designing an experience, narrowing the target, and a sense of unity.

The Niijima team wrote the good points which the mobility platform CREW and the hand-made experience trips by TABICA offered on colored sticky notes and categorized them by color and analyzed them. All of the participants were seriously thinking about revitalizing the island and proactively wrote ideas such as combining the use of TABICA and CREW to revitalize the island, the fact that TABCIA has a good framework of commodifying the daily lives of the island residents, and how TABICA would be used for off-season tourism.

The Shikinejima team used the information they saw and heard during the study tour to discuss. Using the example of hanare, which has many inbound customers, the team realized the importance of lodging for foreign visitors in Japan. There were participants who claimed that the idea of creating lodging facilities to bring in people to the region is something that can be used as a reference. On the other hand, challenges to the island that include the lack of a streamlined architectural design for the real estate, shops, and housing on the island were also debated, creating a discussion for future action.

The Mikurashima team used Ryudou Sousei and Izu Taberu Tsushin as references to come up with ideas that can be used to revitalize the island. Around 20 ideas including having visitors plant trees to get their interest, a system to remember the names and faces of the visitors, ideas that involve the trash problem on the island stemming from the fact that there are no trash bins due to eco-tourism, and tours that deliberately do nothing on the island, were brought up.
The study tour lecturer who attended the meeting gave advice on hosting "voluntourism," which makes picking up trash a tour of its own, while the moderator cautioned on using the experience of the visitors simply for labor.

The Aogashima team looked back on the explanation of the container house given by IRON HOUSE TETSUYA, and discussed what issues there would be if it were actually constructed on the island. They touched upon how the costs of implementation were higher than expected and came up with specific ideas that will lead to actual action, such as having the island provide it as a trial instead of simply implementing it, as well as looking for ways to implement it at a lower cost by preparing PR on the benefits.

The Chichijima team narrowed their discussion to three points and talked about what they felt and noticed, possibilities and chances if it were to happen on their island, and what they can use for branding. Each person expressed their ideas. Hanare deliberately not providing meals to have guests go out in the region, and Kissa Laundry renovating existing space to reuse the location were ideas that were praised. While talking about their own island, the topic delved into what they can offer to visitors, setting up the foundation for the next discussion.

Using Success Stories in Other Regions for Island Branding

After the groups shared and discussed what they learned and noticed at the study tour, Akira Yanagisawa (Account Director of SEEDATA), the moderator of the discussion, Ryuma Sato (Vice Board of incorporated NPO FLAG), Tetsuya Suzuki (Board of the general incorporated association Local Co-work Association, Atsuhiro Isoki (Representative Board of the general incorporated association picobirds), and Naoya Goto (CEO of makes, Co., Ltd.) held a talk session. The theme was: "How to improve and communicate appeal by looking at examples from other regions."

Examples that were introduced included hotels in Fussa City that operate while receiving subsidies, a winery in Kasama City, Ueda City in Nagao Prefecture, which became famous for its appearance in the NHK drama "Sanada Maru," Hachinohe City in Aomori Prefecture, where tourists from around the world visit, and Yuki City in Ibaraki Prefecture, which is engaged in urban development with those from the young generation.

Furthermore, Mr. Goto introduced the cooperation among four cities, towns, and villages in the former Nanbu Domain which created the Cassiopeia Federation over a span of 1.5 years. In terms of using existing resources in the region which is necessary for the island branding, Mr. Suzuki introduced Ishigaki National Park which was designated as Japan's first "starry sky preservation area." To wrap up the Tokyo Treasure Islands meeting, the five facilitators told the participants on how they felt about the Tokyo Treasure Islands Project.