“Search for the keys that will unlock the mysteries of the islands”
Celebrating Earth Heritage
The Oki Islands UNESCO Global Geopark are located in the Sea of Japan in between the island arc of Japan and the Eurasian Continent. The closest landmass is Shimane Peninsula, in the western part of Honshu of mainland Japan, which is approximately 40 km from Oki.
The Oki Islands UNESCO Global Geoparks combine the characteristics of Japan as a mobile belt with the geology of the stable landmass of the Eurasian Continent. The basement of the Oki Islands is a fragment of the Eurasian Continent which was left behind during the formation of the marginal sea, and later overprinted by violent volcanic activity about 7 million years ago which created two volcanic islands. This process and combination of activity is unusual throughout the world. Oki basement gneisses contain evidence of their continental origin, and the extensive alkali volcanic rocks present record the formation of the islands. Coastal erosion of rock faces has created stunning scenery featuring numerous sea caverns and steep sea cliffs. The UNESCO Global Geopark also features a unique ecosystem that is thought to have been formed by climatic change and geographical changes between ice ages.
Sustaining local Communities
The UNESCO Global Geopark area contains four inhabited islands and 180 small uninhabited islands and rocky reefs. The three inhabited islands nearest the mainland Japan which form a volcanic caldera (Nishinoshima Island, Nakanoshima Island, and Chiburijima Island) are known as the Dozen Islands.
The UNESCO Global Geopark is actively implementing education programs within the local school curricula as well as the wider community. These programs introduce the key concepts of the UNESCO Global Geopark as well as numerous topics to spread awareness of the heritage of the land and highlight its relationship to the natural and cultural heritage of the Oki Islands. A number of programs aim to raise awareness about the sustainable use and preservation of local resources. The UNESCO Global Geopark aims to develop sustainable educational programs in schools in the Oki Islands by systematically linking the content that students study from pre-elementary school up to secondary school. As a notable result of sustained efforts to promote Geopark education in the region, a Geopark class dedicated to UNESCO Global Geopark themes and issues has been adopted into the formal curriculum at the Oki Prefectural High School. The UNESCO Global Geopark is working closely with local education boards as well as the national Ministry of the Environment in planning and coordinating these initiatives.