Hokkaido University Research Profiles


Tourism / Community development: 7

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  • Life Sciences
  • Information and Communication
  • Nanotechnology / Materials
  • Manufacturing Technology
  • Human and Social Sciences
  • Energy
  • Environment
  • Tourism / Community development
  • Arctic Research
  • Social Infrastructure
  • Open Facilities
  • An Organizational Study of Tourism Associations as DMOs

    Focusing on the differences in strategies depending on organizational structures and organizational culture

    DMOs (destination management organizations), which are attracting attention as a national policy, are studied, mainly from the perspective of organizational theory.


    With the growing interest in the Japanese version of DMO, tourism associations are now expected to play a leading role in the promotion of tourism in the region. However, tourism associations were originally formed for the purpose of resource management, such as conservation associations or trade associations of tourism-related businesses. Therefore, for the tourism association to become a DMO, it has to undergo fundamental changes as an organization. This study examines the nature of such changes from an organizational perspective.
    For example, in the field of organization theory, it is said that certainty in consensus building and the means to achieve goals can define the strategy that a leader should adopt, and we believe that these theories can also be applied to tourism associations. By identifying the leaders in a tourism association, their strategies, and how to control the organization based on the organizational structure and culture, we can conduct practical research on how to develop a tourism association into a DMO.

  • Applied Research on Content Tourism

    International comparative study on the propagation and acceptance of culture through content tourism and its application to the planning of tourism town planning measures

    We are conducting an international comparative study of content tourism from the perspective of the propagation and reception of pop culture to clarify the role that such tourism plays in understanding others. The knowledge gained through this research is also returned to the fields of tourism and urban planning in the form of specific measures.


    Through this research, we are conducting an international joint research project on content tourism (the act of actually visiting a place that is given meaning by a “story” or “work” and its constituent elements, and experiencing the relevant content) with the following three objectives:
    First, we will clarify the role that such tourism plays in understanding others by rethinking content tourism from the perspective of the propagation and receipt of pop culture. Secondly, based on this, we will consider how to create a model exchange-oriented tourism town with content at its core. Thirdly, we will focus on the East Asian region, where Japan's geopolitical situation calls for international mutual understanding, and consider the possibilities and challenges that content tourism, triggered by Japanese content, has for Japan's cultural security.

  • Changing the Region through Border Tourism

    Nemuro, Soya, Okhotsk

    The Boundary Research Unit (UBRJ) established at the Center in 2013 is a unique organization in Japan that leads border studies in Japan and abroad. It is composed of faculty members from the humanities and social sciences and museums at Hokkaido University. Recently, we have been working on the promotion of tourism in border regions.


    The 12th International Scientific Meeting on Border Regions in Transition was held in Fukuoka and Busan in November 2012. We took a jetfoil from Hakata to Izuhara (Tsushima), and after a bus tour of the famous sites, we headed north to Hitakatsu and from there to Busan. The success of this project attracted attention both at home and abroad, and we started a border tourism project with a regional think tank and related local governments based on the belief that “borders can also be a tourism resource in Japan.” Cross-border tourism between Tsushima and Busan, Wakkanai and Sakhalin, and “border tourism without crossing borders,” involving traveling overland from Nemuro to Wakkanai, have been widely covered by the media. For more information, please visit the following URL: http://src-h.slav.hokudai.ac.jp/ubrj2/projects/border-tourism/

  • Community Development and Environmental Conservation through Interview Surveys

    Consensus building based on diversity

    Based on fieldwork in the Solomon Islands, Miyagi, and Hokkaido, we are studying the relationship between nature and local communities, and are conducting research on and implement the promotion of environmental conservation and community development from the bottom up. After the Great East Japan Earthquake, we have been conducting research in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, to support reconstruction efforts.


    We are conducting research to apply "interviews" to policies and activities. Local residents, researchers, and students collaborate to investigate people, nature, history, culture, and social issues in local communities, to identify issues, think of solutions, and consider the future of the region. We are practicing and applying the methods of interviewing and verbatim recording as tools for this purpose. We are researching the possibilities of qualitative research (interviews and verbatim recording) as a way of visualizing what cannot be seen in conventional quantitative research (statistics and questionnaires) and workshops, and to build relationships of trust.

  • From Landscape to Hometown Revitalization

    Creating community value through resident participation

    From the perspective of landscape planning, we are researching ways to preserve and utilize the local environment by linking it to people's awareness and social understanding. In recent years, we have been practically researching how values and spatial needs that change with society, such as “health” and “funerals” can be reflected in the landscape.


    To conserve and manage local resources through resident participation, the “landscape” approach, which views the region from people's perspective, is very effective. We are developing research on people's and society's landscape perception, and conducting empirical research on how to utilize people’s place attachment in local resource management.
    Environmental planning using health resorts (Kurort)
    In Germany, medical insurance covers services at government-recognized recuperation and health resorts that make use of the natural environment such as hot springs, the sea, and the climate. In Japan, too, efforts are underway to create health resorts (Kurort) that combine health tourism with local health promotion.
    Forest utilization as burial sites:
    To utilize forest resources, we are conducting practical research on the development of forest burial sites in Japan, modeled after Germany’s examples. As a new method of managing forests, which account for 70% of Japan’s land area, we are promoting the creation of forest burial sites in various regions as a means of regional management in aging society.

  • Research on the Conservation and Utilization of Cultural Heritage and Tourism

    Planning and implementation of international cooperation projects on cultural heritage in Southeast Asia

    We are conducting research on the relationship between the conservation and utilization of cultural heritage and tourism in Southeast Asia, with special focus onmonuments. Based on the results of our research, we collaborate with other organizations to implement international cooperation on cultural heritage.


    In Southeast Asia, there are many archaeological sites such as the Angkor complex (Cambodia) and Borobudur (Indonesia). Faced with political turmoil and crises caused by natural disasters such as the Sumatra earthquake and tsunami (2004), each country has been working to preserve and utilize these sites. Tourism used to be considered dangerous as it would have a negative impact on the sites, but since the adoption of the International Charter on Culture and Tourism in 1999, it has come to be seen as an essential part of cultural heritage preservation. For example, in the Angkor Complex, which attracts more than 2 million tourists a year, the tourism industry has become an important means of earning foreign currency at the national level, and the revenue from tourists is used for the conservation of the vast ruins. On the other hand, the balance between the ever-increasing number of tourists and the preservation of the monuments has become increasingly complicated due to the local environment, economy and other issues.

  • Research on the Creation of Tourism Through the Development and Operation of Public-Private Partnership-type Long Trails

    Focusing on the relationship between actors in- and outside the region

    Long-distance footpaths (long trails) that start from tourist spots, railroad stations, airports and other sites have been attracting attention. We are researching how to develop and operate trails that allow people to walk and enjoy local natural and cultural features, with the focus on measures for cooperation between the public and private sectors and participation of residents.


    In many parts of Japan, long trails are being developed as a means of regional cooperation, a way to utilize local resources, and as a new program for visitors staying in Japan. With this study, we focus on the role of long trails as tourism content that conveys the enjoyment of walking through mountains, towns, and coasts while experiencing the natural environment and culture of the region, and as a regional network device that preserves the local natural environment and culture and promotes cooperation among the government, private businesses, and local residents. We are examining the creation of a mechanism to effectively and efficiently fulfill each function.
    The Michinoku Shiokaze Trail is a new long-distance footpath that is being developed by the Ministry of the Environment along the coast of the Sanriku Fukko National Park and stretches from Aomori to Fukushima, which was damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake, allowing visitors to walk around the relics of the earthquake. Taking into account our mission to pass on the experience of the disaster to future generations, the existence and operation of a policy framework is discussed as a target site for this research.