Sosei Partners (Urahoro) 9/12 ~ 9/17

Urahoro Day 1

We arrived at Urahoro, located in Eastern Hokkaido (Tokachi region), with four participants from Spain, Vietnam and USA. Our local coordinators picked us up from the Obihiro Tokachi Airport as we headed for Tokomuro Lab, a satellite office and co-working space that was refurnished from an old elementary school. 

Together with the CEO and staff of Relation (our local partner), the founder of Urahoro style education, and an Italian photographer, we had an opening meeting where we learnt about the current projects in Urahoro. In the evening, we had chanko nabe with the locals as we engaged in lively discussions on our first impressions of this town. We will be spending the next five days exploring this town, discovering new possibilities and presenting our proposal to inject fresh perspectives into this town.


今日はスペイン、ベトナムとアメリカの地方創生パートナーズと一緒に北海道の東部、十勝地方の浦幌町にやってきました。帯広とかち空港を出て、常室小学校という廃校をサテライトオフィス・コーワキングスペースに改装したTokomuro Labに向かいました。


Urahoro Day Two

We were blessed with blue skies, white clouds and sunny weather on our second day, as we drove to the coast and savoured the breathtaking sceneries of the Pacific Ocean. Thereafter we went back to the central area, as we walked around the town, talking to random locals, including a raspberry farmer, vegetable sellers, middle school teachers and so on. It was an enriching day meeting different people and hearing their opinions and visions of this little town.




Urahoro Day 3

We kicked off the third day with tofu making with some local grandmas. Many young people nowadays have lost touch with food production, and do not know where food comes from, and so a local grandma decided to organize workshops to teach young people how to make miso, tofu and other food. We started by grinding soy beans, before steaming, filtering and compressing to produce tofu. It took us close to four hours! 


Thereafter, we headed to the local middle school where we met the school principal and had a class with the local students. We played some games, and split into groups to talk to them individually, asking them about what they like about their hometown, and what they wish to do in the future. The students’ voices gave us a sense of how their education system has shaped their minds, and possibly paving the way for a new future of Urahoro.






Urahoro Day 4

We started off the day by entering the vast forests of Urahoro together with the chief of the forestry industry in this town. He demonstrated to us the latest technology and spoke at lengths about the importance of forestry, the challenges they face and how forestry sows the seeds for the future of our next generations. Thereafter, we went to a chopstick-making workshop to make our own chopsticks! It was interesting to see how the forestry industry is gradually gaining momentum, and how the primary industry is connected to the secondary and tertiary industries. We will be having our presentation tomorrow to display what we have experienced so far, and to present to the locals our novel suggestion to revitalize Urahoro from international perspectives.

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Urahoro Day 5 and 6

We had our final presentation today to the town residents, where we spoke about our experiences in Urahoro, some case studies of how other cities in the world reutilize vacant buidlings to brand their cities, and other suggestions on how we can continue working with the local region. It has been an enriching 6 days where we interacted with people from all walks of life, including primary industries such as forestry and farming, teachers, students, government officials, NPOs, new residents, foreign nationals and so on. All of us gave us a slightly different perspective of this town but there was a sense of community and unity, which we believe is the true value of Urahoro. This might be the end of our stay at Urahoro, but this is certainly just the beginning of a long journey ahead. 




A huge THANK YOU to everyone we have met in Urahoro, and everyone who has made our experience here a memorable one.