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Planet-Saving Rice Becoming a Hit Amongst Travellers

January 12, 2018 Destination North Asia No Comments Email Email

Rich nature, world-famous hot springs and delicious cuisine: whilst these are the drawcards usually associated with Kinosaki, there is one less obvious, but certainly no less impactful attraction eco-conscious travellers are increasingly embracing when visiting the area: its stork natural rice, a rice that saves Japan’s biodiversity one grain at a time.

Born out of the successful mission to save Japan’s iconic Oriental White Stork from extinction, this sustainably grown type of rice is becoming increasingly popular amongst Japanese locals and travellers alike.

The region’s commitment to sustainable farming has always been closely linked to saving the Oriental White Stork. Toyooka city is the stork’s natural habitat, they used to fly freely in the area until they started to die out due to poisoning from agricultural pesticides in the 1960s. To rescue the birds from extinction, a reintroduction program was set up in the 1970s that would reduce the use of agricultural chemicals in rice farming focusing on organic farming methods – and it was a success: in 2005, the city succeeded in releasing storks back into the wild.

Today, stork natural rice is a truly sustainable brand of rice that supports not only the reintroduction of Oriental White Storks back into the Japanese landscape, but also farmers helping to protect their way of life and surrounding environment, and consumers looking for a healthy, safe, option for a staple food. On top of being extremely popular amongst Japanese consumers, it has also become a symbol of the city’s sustainability commitment, a drawcard luring eco-conscious travellers that want to support the city’s commitment to sustainable practices.

“Savouring a local delicacy whilst protecting the country’s biodiversity, we know that this is the kind of feel-good experience today’s traveller is craving” said Alison Roberts-Brown, Director of Tourism Garden, representative of Kinosaki Onsen and Toyooka City in Australia.

“Virtuoso recently named the “seeking of authentic experiences” and “personal enrichment” amongst the top travel motivations for 2018 and that’s one of the reasons for this regions success and popularity with visitors” she added.

In Hyogo, a prefecture in Japan’s main island, Honshu, and a 20-minute drive from Kinosaki Onsen, the Hyogo Park of the Oriental White Stork is a facility which explains the stork’s history, sustainable rice farming practices and invites visitors to witness a stork live feed.

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