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Winner of the METI Minister's Award Selected under the 13th Industrial Tourism Town Revitalization Awards Program

September 26, 2019

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) selected the winner of the METI Minister’s Award under the 13th Industrial Tourism Town Revitalization Awards Program, which aims to recognize associations that excel in efforts to revitalize regional economies through industrial tourism. The program is organized by the National Council for Promoting Industrial Tourism and the Japan Travel and Tourism Association.

1. Outline of the program

The awards program aims to recognize organizations, including municipalities, tourism associations, commerce and industry associations, chambers of commerce and industry, NPOs, shopping arcade associations and enterprises, for their outstanding efforts in revitalizing their own towns through industrial tourism and for serving as successful case examples for other towns across Japan. Industrial tourism is a type of attention-attracting approach to revitalizing regional economies in which industrial heritage sites or industrial facilities that are still in operation are utilized as tourist attractions. Since the inauguration in FY2007, the awards program has been organized by the Japan Travel and Tourism Association. In FY2014, the METI Minister’s Award and the Japan Tourism Agency Commissioner’s Award were additionally created.

2. Winner of the METI Minister’s Award

Winner: Nousaku Corporation (Toyama Prefecture)
Details of the winner’s efforts In April 2017, the winner, a manufacturer of cast metal products, constructed a new building as a tourist attraction that is open to the public, in which various aspects of Takaoka Copper Wares are exhibited and explained, including the manufacturing method, history, current situations and future perspectives of the industry. Takaoka Copper Wares are a traditional industry in Takaoka City, Toyama Prefecture. In the building, the winning organization provides guided tours of the industrial facility including various attractions, such as: a factory tour providing visitors with an opportunity to experience the crafts-persons’ working environments that engages all five senses, a chance for visitors to manufacture their own, original, world-unique products, a shop where visitors can buy metal products manufactured by the professional crafts-persons and Nousaku’s products collaboratively manufactured with local industries, and a restaurant which serves foods made from locally-cultivated ingredients, which are served on delightful plates manufactured by Nousaku. The winner has also been contributing to the revitalization and development of regional industries by sharing its technologies with competitors who intend to develop their own products making use of tin, rather than concealing their technologies from them. Through advancing its efforts involving industrial tourism, Nousaku aims to attract more interest from locals and visits from people from outside the prefecture, to encourage more competitors to enter the field of industrial tourism and to create new employment not only in the tourism industry but also for competitors.
Reason for the selection Toyama Prefecture is actively engaged in the vitalization of industrial tourism across the prefecture. Among other businesses committed to this, Nousaku, in particular, has been advancing multilateral efforts for industrial tourism, aiming to make  its own “contribution to the region” and also emphasizing the responsibility to pass traditional industries on to the next generation. The winner was recognized for its established business model, the quality of its attractions that meet the demand of overseas tourists in Japan, and the achievement of strong corporate profitability.

3. Selection process

The National Council for Promoting Industrial Tourism and the Japan Travel and Tourism Association, organizers of the program, received 13 applications. An examination committee of experts,* established by the organizers, examined the applications and selected winners based on the assessment criteria, including the rarity of target industrial heritage sites in the local area and approaches to providing information on such sites to customers.

As for the METI Minister’s Award, the organizers further selected the candidates based on the criteria of whether or not the projects have potential for commercialization or the creation of new business opportunities and selected the winner of the award.

*Note: The examination committee consisted of Mr. Shinji Fukukawa (Chancellor of Toyo University), as chair, and nine other members.

4. Commendation ceremony

A commendation ceremony will be held as a part of the Japan Industrial Tourism Forum to be held at the site of Tourism Expo Japan 2019 Osaka, Kansai.
Date: October 25 (Fri.), 2019
Japan Industrial Tourism Forum: From 16:00 to 18:00
Venue: Hall 6, Intex Osaka (part of the site of Tourism Expo Japan 2019)
(Address: 1-5-102 Nankokita, Suminoe Ward, Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture)

5. Other winners

Division in Charge

Cool Japan Policy Division, Commerce and Service Group