UNZEN VOLCANIC AREA GEOPARK (Japan)
The theme of Unzen Volcanic Area Global Geopark is “the coexistence of an active volcano and human beings”. The area around Unzen volcano was designated as the first national park in Japan in 1934 and its natural environment has been conserved since then.
Conservation, Education & Tourism
Unzen volcano gives us a lot of gifts: outstanding landscapes, hot springs, spring water, fertile agricultural soil, and so on. On the other hand, Unzen volcano erupts repeatedly and causes serious disasters. In 1792, about 15,000 people were killed by the tsunami derived from the strong earthquakes due to sector collapse of an old lava dome, one of the worst volcanic disasters in Japan. In 1991-1995, a part of lava dome at the summit of the mountain collapsed. The pyroclastic surges containing giant hot ash clouds took 44 lives. Many buildings, houses, and school were also completely burned or buried by the flows and many residents lost their property. This eruption has damaged both local tourism and the economy. Local residents, however, have recovered repeatedly from these volcanic disasters.
We think passing on the knowledge and recovery experience of volcanic disasters to future generation is very important. That’s why the burned school building and destroyed houses of the last eruption have been preserved just as they were. Now, these facilities are the main geosites of the Geopark and have been utilized widely for local disaster prevention educational programs in Japan.
The Global Geoparks Network is supported by UNESCO at the request of Member States