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歓迎メッセージ / Greetings
開催地 / Location
今年のサミット大会 / This Year's Summit
This year’s summit will take place on Noto, a beautiful rural peninsula jutting out of the west coast of Japan. It is an area relatively untouched by western influences and should therefore appeal to those who are keen to discover Japanese culture.
There are many reasons to attend this year’s summit, but the following three particularly stand out.
Japanese style hotels:
This year, in contrast to previous Summits, we have arranged for participants to stay in Japanese style hotels, or ‘ryokan’. These are just as comfortable as western style hotels and in addition provide one a glimpse of old Japan.
‘Ryokan’ is Japanese for ‘Inn’ and refers to hotels designed in the traditional Japanese way, with tatami (straw matting), shoji (paper curtains) and ikebana flowers. Instead of beds, there are futons (soft mattresses). The tatami keep the room cool in the summer and the futons are surprisingly comfortable. The unique design of these rooms, as well as being extremely beautiful, creates a sense of calm and reveals the ‘wabi-sabi’ spirit of Japan. ‘Wabi-sabi’ denotes simplicity and quietude and refers to the Japanese sense of beauty. Experiencing this aesthetic form leads one to an understanding and appreciation of Japanese culture as a whole, with its emphasis on simplicity and humility. The hotels we are using are traditional in style but modern in terms of facilities. They therefore provide traditional elegance as well as modern comfort. ‘Kagaya’ is a top-class ‘ryokan’ and is the location for the welcome party and one night’s accommodation.
It has been rated the best ‘ryokan’ in Japan for the past 24 years. The service at ‘ryokans’ is of the utmost quality, with the staff, dressed in Kimono, ensuring that you experience Japanese hospitality to the full.
Known in Japanese as ‘onsen’, hot springs are an important part of Japanese culture. The hotels we are using are all located in the famous hot spring resort of Wakura, and have their own hot spring baths attached.
The volcanic nature of the Japanese islands has produced many mineral-rich hot springs, or ‘onsen’. The Japanese discovered the health benefits of these springs many centuries ago and developed a ‘bathing culture’. Bathing for the Japanese is not just a way to get clean but also to relax and ‘bond with nature’. Onsen are found mostly in the countryside, often with views of the surrounding nature, and the bathing policy is also ‘au naturel’, i.e. no swimsuits! (There are, of course, separate bathing facilities for men and women.) Ryokan and onsen can be found all over Japan, but ryokan which have their own onsen attached are quite special. These onsen-ryokan are possibly the most popular vacation destinations for the Japanese. An overnight stay in one of these hotels is a very relaxing and pleasant experience.
Noto is famous for ‘kiriko’ festivals. These festivals, in which ‘kiriko’, or tall decorative lanterns, are paraded through the streets in a riot of color and activity, are unique to this area of Japan. Festivals such as these reveal the sense of community and emphasis on the ‘group’ that is so important in Japan.
The Noto peninsula is not part of the typical tourist route, which means that there are few non-Japanese people here. Those that do come therefore have a unique opportunity to experience the ‘real Japan’.