Introducing Miné-Akiyoshidai Karst Plateau Geopark

Miné-Akiyoshidai Karst Plateau Geopark is a place where you can experience the 350-million-year-old drama of the Earth and its life.

Enjoy journeying through the geopark as you look out for its white, black and red features!
The white represents limestone. Limestone is a rock that formed as substances such as coral that once lived in the warm sea hardened and piled up on top of each other. 300 million years ago, this limestone began to emerge on the coral reef in the warm, southern sea and was carried to this continent over a very long period on a plate.
The black represents coal.
The coal from Ōmine Coalfield, which was formed from plants that lived about 200 million years ago, is a special type of coal called anthracite. Anthracite is a rare coal in Japan which does not produce much smoke when burned.
The red represents copper.
Copper was produced 100 million years ago through magmatic activity when boiling water interacted with limestone. The copper from this area was used to build the Great Buddha of Nara.

Miné-Akiyoshidai Karst Plateau Geopark is closely linked with the history of our Earth.

Come and enjoy our geopark and learn about the history and culture of the people who live on this land!

What are geoparks?

Geoparks are areas where you can experience the many wonders of the Earth by enjoying the scenery in front of you and learning about the lifestyles of the local people.
At geoparks you can take part in geotours which are led by local people who will act as your guide and show you the wonders of the local area.

In the middle of the Miné-Akiyoshidai area is the Akiyoshidai Karst Plateau, one of the largest karst plateaus in Japan. Akiyoshidai Karst Plateau is formed from limestone that developed as old coral reefs piled up on top of each other. Limestone has a close relationship with the lives of the local people. Many tourists visit limestone caves such as the Akiyoshidō Cave, and limestone is quarried to be used as a mineral resource.
There are many ways to experience the wonders of the Earth’s activity in our geopark in addition to the Akiyoshidai Karst Plateau. Why not visit the Naganobori Copper Mine Ruins where copper that was produced by volcanic activity was mined, or the Ōmine Coalfield where coal that is formed from ancient plants is produced?

Basic philosophy of Miné-Akiyoshidai Karst Plateau Geopark

Based on the Geopark principles of protection, education and sustainable regional development, Miné-Akiyoshidai Karst Plateau Geopark will continue to collaborate with local citizens, the local government and researchers in considering what we can do for the sake of our own region, and increase the happiness of the region in both economic and emotional terms, with the aim of achieving a sustainable regional society.

Charter of Miné-Akiyoshidai Karst Plateau Geopark

Devoting our efforts to Geopark activities and believing in a brighter future for our region, we draw up a charter herein, with the aim of achieving a sustainable regional society.

  • 1.We protect the land, which embodies the eternal history of the earth, and our culture, which our predecessors have long fostered.
  • 2.We learn about the land and culture, and hand them down to our children.
  • 3.We use the land and culture to increase the happiness of our region.
  • 4.We find joy in continuing these activities.

Miné-Akiyoshidai Karst Plateau Geopark and the lives of local people

A story of the land of the Miné-Akiyoshidai area and the local people

The Akiyoshidai Karst Plateau has an area of approximately 100km² and is divided into the eastern plateau and the western plateau by the Kotō River, which flows from north to south through the middle of the plateau. The eastern plateau, which is mainly covered with grass, is protected as a Special Natural Monument in order to conserve the animals and plants that exist in this area. The western plateau is used for quarrying and acquiring spring water, and is more closely linked with the lives of the local people. In this way, Akiyoshidai Karst Plateau is indispensable to the lives of the animals, plants and humans that live in this area. The foundation of the Akiyoshidai Karst Plateau is limestone that was formed from coral reefs that lived in the warm, southern sea approximately 350 million years ago. These coral reefs slowly moved towards the continent on an oceanic plate (where the ocean lies on top of the rock plate that covers the surface of the earth) over a period of 100 million years. Then, several million years ago, the limestone began to dissolve with rainwater and groundwater which created dolines (sinkholes) and limestone caves.(To watch an animation that explains how Akiyoshidai was formed, please click here.)

Many features that reveal the history of the Earth and its people can be seen in the Miné-Akiyoshidai area, such as fragments of the oceanic plate from approximately 400 million years ago, coal and fossils of plants from approximately 200 million years ago, and copper and silver that were formed approximately 100 million years ago. The theme of Miné-Akiyoshidai Karst Plateau Geopark is: “ The history of the Earth and its life is still alive in the karst plateau; draw close to the Earth, and support one another ” We hope you can visit the Akiyoshidai Karst Plateau, the bedrock of our local community, and explore the history of the land and the people living on it!