7th Tokyo Treasure Islands Meeting Held

The Seventh Tokyo Treasure Islands Meeting was held on Thursday, July 8, 2021. The biannual meeting aims to share the branding initiatives of the eleven islands of Tokyo, and refine ideas by sharing business perspectives, knowledge, and insights.

As with the fifth and sixth meetings prior, the meeting was held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, the meeting provided a spirited forum for each island to share the status of their positive efforts as well as a lively question-and-answer session.


●Lively exchange of opinions on the presentations of each island's initiatives

The first part consisted of presentations from each island moderated by Mr. Masahiro Okubo, director of The Archipelago News (Rito Keizai Shimbun).


The first island was Chichijima, with its brand concept "an otherworldly island where life shines as it is". Last fiscal year, Chichijima established the Ogasawara Traveler's Log (Oga Log). The crowdfunded project raised 2.12 million yen, exceeding its goal of two million yen. In return, supporters were sent their own logbook, and an official Oga Log website was launched.


Presenter: Mr. Nishimoto
"This fiscal year, we plan to build ecommerce functionality into the Oga Log official website, develop new products using invasive timbers, use social media for information sharing and develop content on environmental conservation. At the same time, we formed the Chichijima Mirai Conference for locals, which discusses maintaining happy living on the island. We held seven meetings last fiscal year and plan to continue these monthly this fiscal year, in preparation for our presentation in February 2022".

The second island was Toshima. Adopting the brand concept "fully enjoying the blessings of an island, providing happiness for 6,000 years", the island is focused on developing products that broadly showcase the charm of Toshima. A call for commercialization ideas was put out to the locals last fiscal year, and the island is working with food experts to come up with recipes and create manufacturing processes and manuals to commercially produce ashitaba and camellia oil sauce, which can be done on the island.


Presenter: Mr. Hasegawa
"We had planned a food tasting event on the island but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were unable to do that. Instead, we distributed food samples from June 29 and we are currently collecting survey results. This year, we are carrying out manufacturing, research and analysis, and PR investigations with the aim to commence sales of these products from November".

The third island was Kozushima, whose brand concept is "an island with an abundance of water that'll make you realize ordinary miracles". The island has been working to convey the appeal of Kozushima's water to foreigners. Last fiscal year, the island poured its effort into building an English-language website, paying specific attention to word nuances and its user interface. Additionally, the island is undertaking surveys on water quality and publicizing the site internally on the island.


Presenter: Mr. Nakamura
"This year, the island's efforts are spread across three pillars: digging deeper into its water brand story; developing narratives around Kozushima's fishing industry and its overnight fishing village stays; and continuing to disseminate information via the English-language website. We are aiming to attract tourists to Kozushima by equipping the locals with language to talk about the island's attractions and draw visitors during the off season".

The fourth island was Oshima, with the brand concept "a repeat-worthy island where you'll find things just right". In addition to developing products around the island's symbol (a figure called Anko-san), Oshima produced a booklet and website for PR purposes.


Presenter: Mr. Chiba
"We are looking to continue to promote Anko-san products through the booklet and website produced last year. In the PR team, we are planning lifestyle and enjoyment offerings with a link to beauty through collaborations with Miss Oshima and wellness foods and plants like the ashitaba herb and camellia oil. To further bolster the Anko-san branding, the island will support the Izuoshima Anko Culture Preservation Meeting being held in November. We look to carefully collect the data and turn this into an enduring PR opportunity".

The fifth island was Shikinejima. The island's brand concept is "an island that creates a new nostalgia, where your workplace is a fun place", and they are predominantly engaged in promoting the island as a workation destination. The Shikinejima Academy was held three times last fiscal year, where 13 monitors were accepted to exchange opinions on workations unique to the island, and promote the attraction of workations via social and other media.


Presenter: Mr. Miyagawa
"This fiscal year, we're looking to build a more long-term population with an eye on permanent residents, as well as establishing 'island workations' unique to the island. While rolling out these workations at full scale, through charging for the Shikinejima Academy and other initiatives, we are looking to offer new workation experiences using motorhomes, and making these known to the locals. We are also thinking about collaborating with companies in Tokyo's Shibuya and Minato wards, where Niijima Village has regional alliances".

The sixth island was Aogashima, with their brand concept "an island with picturesque views and superb oceans that waken your strengths". The island's aims are to communicate Aogashima's appeal both on and off the island, improve awareness and understanding of Aogashima, and cultivate core fans of the island, linking solutions to regional challenges. Last fiscal year, the island produced a leaflet called Hello Aogashima, written from the perspective of island locals.


Presenter: Mr. Arai
"There are three pillars to this fiscal year's efforts: a leaflet campaign both on and off the island; implementation of a social media hashtag (#helloaogashima); and the creation of places to interact with core fans. We have completed the distribution of leaflets on the island, and are looking to distribute these to core fans outside Aogashima. We look to disseminate this messaging and undertake online exchanges via Twitter".

The seventh island was Hachijojima. Under the brand concept "a rainbow-colored island where you can restore your colors", the island is engaged in communicating the charm of its locals. Last fiscal year, they published the Seven Colors of Hachijo Talent Directory, which introduced 35 locals who convey the island's charm. This photo book is being distributed to Hachijojima's accommodation providers and restaurants. Additionally, the island has established the Instagram account "@7iro8jo" to promote the island's attractiveness, centered around the 35 people featured in the photo book.


Presenter: Ms. Tashiro
"Given the great response to the photo book, we are planning to produce a digital version to allow more people to access it. It's our hope that it will be seen by those interested in migrating here, and used in classrooms so that children can learn about the island. We're planning to further utilize our social media to disseminate images of the Hachijojima landscape and daily life".

The eighth island was Hahajima. Its brand concept is "a motherly island where people can live as they like". Locals of all ages from a variety of community standings gathered to discuss how to "learn, consider and act for Hahajima's past, present and future" in a space called the Hahajima Bukatsudo. Last fiscal year's Bukatsudo sessions were conducted online.


Presenter: Mr. Miyagi
"The Hahajima Bukatsudo was also held in June this fiscal year, and highlighted issues including the shrinking younger population, lack of housing for those looking to live here, and shortages in health care. We would like to continue the discussions this fiscal year and include them in our presentations in February 2022, while also promoting multi-generational and multi-regional exchanges through traditional practices on the island".

The ninth island was Mikurashima. Its brand concept is "an island where everything becomes special and treasures you". Last fiscal year, the island ran the Mikurashima Winter Sharing Project using the kabutsu (daidai), a citrus fruit grown on the island, and acquired 46 recipes from 30 participants. This fiscal year, activities are being promoted under the new regional coordinator Mr. Inoue.


Presenter: Mr. Inoue
"We plan to work on the Mikurashima Local Cuisine Project this fiscal year. Rather than work on new tourism content, we are looking to uncover the uniqueness of Mikurashima cuisine through discussions with island elders, and to develop and document recipes for sharing in an effort to make the most of the treasures already on the island".

The tenth island was Niijima with its brand concept "an island that connects with the new". The island introduced Velotaxis, a new form of transportation, and created Velotaxi tours last fiscal year. The tours were also registered with experience provider TABICA and publicized both on and off the island. The Velotaxi vehicles are being repainted with Niijima-inspired designs.


Presenter: Mr. Nishitsugu
"The first tour was booked via TABICA in June. We became friendly with the passenger; the experience was really enjoyable, becoming a means of communication rather than a tour. We hope to fully utilize and establish the velotaxis this fiscal year. We are looking to put a system in place to enable stable operation of the velotaxis and increase local understanding of them through efforts such as securing drivers, improving guide content and establishing courses".

The eleventh island was Miyakejima with its brand concept "living with a volcano to awaken the five senses". The island is promoting its tourism programs, experiences and attractions related to the volcano. Miyakejima is specifically considering the use of digital sightseeing tour apps and photo printing devices.



Following the individual island presentations, the island representatives also asked each other questions, with many interested in hearing about efforts and ideas that could be implemented on their islands.

There were islands whose efforts had significantly progressed since the Sixth Tokyo Treasure Islands Meeting, with this fiscal year's activities making for increasingly exciting presentations.

● New possibilities for online experiences

Mr. Yu Uchida from ASOVIEW Inc. gave a presentation on online experience trends in the latter half of the meeting.


Amid difficult conditions for actual travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, the online experiences market has increased in size, with major travel agencies also growing their online experience inventory.

Last year, ASOVIEW Inc.'s website "asoview" succeeded in developing programs for remote islands including the development of the Okinawa Remote Islands Online Experience Program.


The presentation focused on how to best set up local resources when developing online experience programs. The set-up of local resources can be roughly divided into the following three categories:

Category 1: Developing online guided tours
This involves developing tours of locations that only the locals are aware of for online consumption. Examples given included Beppu's Yukemuri online tour and Kawagoe's online rickshaw tour.

Category 2: Bringing people and skills online
This involves building online programs that allow people to interact with unique individuals and skills in the region. Examples given included interactions with dancers in the remote islands of Okinawa, and exchanges with people involved in reinvigorating towns through firefly squid fishing in Hyogo Prefecture.

Category 3: Selling products online
These are programs that involve selling products and experiences as a set. A combination of items and online events pair well together; examples given included a program to grow Miyakojima sugar cane from seedlings to make brown sugar, and sake talk events where sake tasting kits are sent in advance to participants.


Mr. Uchida suggested that the islands consider similar programs in their regional undertakings, and an opportunity was provided for the island representatives to engage in a discussion on this.

Instances where some islands had already implemented online experience programs, and the possibility for exchanges with islands to which travel currently remained difficult as well as expectations to extend these to overseas audiences were also discussed.

The meeting provided an opportunity to rediscover how taken-for-granted, daily island practices can enlighten and surprise, simply by changing the way in which they are presented.

When considering the state of the islands both during and after the COVID-19 crisis, online experiences have the potential to not only function as a temporary measure, but become a means to acquire new fans for the islands in the future.

This Tokyo Treasure Islands Meeting provided an opportunity for representatives to interact and communicate with their fellow island counterparts, with all eleven delegates looking forward to the day when they will be able to meet again.