Shimokawa Town: Mayor Kazuyuki Tani

In Shimokawa Town, we are promoting efforts to build our town as “Forest Future City Shimokawa” by 2030. Our vision is to create a city surrounded by a rich forest environment, providing great economic value through the forest, learning in the forest, playing, cultivating physical and mental health, and living a rich life wrapped in trees.

Among efforts utilizing the forest resources, which are the advantages of the town, we have received high praise from the Japanese Government; Shimokawa Town was selected as an "Eco Model City" in 2008, a "Future City" in 2011, and a "Biomass Town" in 2013.

In a country like Japan which faces a unique set of challenges, Shimokawa Town is also dealing with its own problems, therefore, we would like to make further efforts to achieve sustainable community development by cooperating and collaborating with ICLEI participating cities.

Overview of Shimokawa Town


Population: 1,943,598 (as of 2017)

Shimokawa Town is located in the northern part of Hokkaido, about 100 km north of Asahikawa City. It has a large area of about 20 km east to west, about 30 km north to south, and spreads over 64,420 ha of land, a size almost equal to Tokyo’s 23 wards. The forest is 56,936 ha, which is 90% of the town, and is rich in resources and abundant beautiful nature.

The city features an inland climate. The temperature difference is quite extreme with a maximum temperature of about 30 degrees Celsius and a low temperature of about -30 degrees Celsius. The annual temperature difference amounts to around 60 degrees Celsius. Snowfall lasts from late November until late March, with long winters and short summers.

Shimokawa Town has been developed based on the forestry industry as the forest accounts for about 90% of the land area of the town. Due to the "Temporary Measures Act for National Development of the Forest Region" in 1952, we received 1,221 ha of national forest from the government. As a result, in order to create a forest that continues to exist into the future, we have planted about 50 ha of trees every year. In addition, we have built a sustainable rotating forest management system in which we can harvest a different 50 ha area of trees each year for 60 years. Today, we have secured about 4,583 ha of forests in our town for use in the sustainable system, and at the same time we are building sustainable management practices that ensure employment and a steady supply of forest products.


Environmental initiatives

In Shimokawa Town, all the town-owned forests have acquired the international certification "FSC® Forest Certification" which is proof of responsible forest management. We are the first municipality in Hokkaido to receive this certification. Using wood chips from the town's sawmills as fuel, we introduced woody biomass boilers in the Gomi public hot springs and other public facilities to reduce carbon dioxide and reduce expenses. Further, we have pioneered sustainable efforts such as carbon offsetting.

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