Results of the Review of Entries for New Travel Plans in Ishigaki Island


In January of 2015, in both Tokyo and Taipei (Taiwan), committees held reviews for “USIO Design Project #02 Recruiting Travel Designers: Design a Trip that Only Ishigaki Island Can Provide”. As a result of serious discussion and selection, let us introduce you to the plans that won the 10 Travel Designer awards and 6 Good Idea awards out of the 212 travel plans that were submitted.


This project was started because we want to draw upon the local charm of Ishigaki Island to design a trip that has not yet existed. Each of the judges spent much time deciding on the travel plans that were full of great individuality and were submitted by 153 different people of different occupations, ages, and places of residence.
The key points to the discussion were the novelty in terms of tourism in Ishigaki Island, feasibility, affinity with the island’s culture and people, ability to generate buzz, and appeal to travelers from Taiwan, the neighboring nation that is key to tourism in Ishigaki Island. In the end, the travel plans that were chosen are able to express value of the island in a new way from both a local and global perspective.


General Comments

Yuji Hayashi / Web Master, Nifty’s “Daily Portal Z”

20150129_03We chose travel plans that do not directly say “Ishigaki Island’s nature is incredible,” but that say it nevertheless. Even without being related to the traditions or history of Ishigaki Island, the plans have the power to grab your attention. Furthermore, there were so many plans that featured alcoholic beverages that I started wondering whether people from Ishigaki are actually drinking all the time. I certainly must visit there.

There were also ideas that I would like to use on the web media site I manage, “Daily Portal Z”. If possible, I would like to not just make the travel plans become real, but I would also like to make them into articles on Daily Portal Z. I have been greatly stimulated by everyone’s ideas. Thank you!

Wen-Long Chen / CEO, Taiwan Design Centre

20150129_04As a follow-up to the last fiscal year’s “Local Specialties Redesign Project”, the theme for this year’s USIO Design Project is “Travel”. Using Design Thinking and intimate methods; and with a plan developed on the basis of experiencing culture, scenery, and local agricultural resources through travel; the goal of this project is to deepen the possibility that many people will come to Ishigaki to travel.

Numerous entries came from Taiwan. We could see the discrepancies that arose from cultural differences, which contributed greatly to the diversity of the project. Of course, we were able to see the processes by which the applicants’ plans developed, but we were also able to glimpse the needs of general tourists visiting Ishigaki Island.

The project achieved diversity and internationalization, and I think it gives good hints to the local government of Ishigaki Island as well as other local governments when it comes to promoting various events.

In the present participatory model and open society, this project gathers everyone’s ideas through the form of a competition and continuously casts sparks to make possibilities blossom. In terms of products, lifestyle, travel, and business, the project was able to create an environment that supports positive thinking, and I felt that the project model, which developed interactively, is truly remarkable.

Dai Takakura / Acting Director, Secretariat of the Ishigaki City Tourism and Exchange Association

20150129_05Our tourism and exchange association is always looking for new travel ideas. I mostly chose travel plans that include contact with locals, sharing traditional culture, sports, and standardization plans for one year and that approach problems from the perspective of those facing the problems.

For example, summer marine sports are currently the staple of Ishigaki, but it was good to see plans that include sports trips that adopt sports associated with different seasons, such as cycling and bouldering. It was also great that many plans include opportunities for exchange with the islanders. People are what make repeat travelers. Therefore, ideas that create interactions with locals are especially good. I want people to think, “Let’s go see grandpa and grandma!”

Even while reviewing, it was a lot of fun because of the diverse ideas. It makes me happy that Ishigaki Island is receiving so much attention from people. Thank you!

Chiaki Hayashi / Representative Director, Loftwork, Inc.

20150129_06Simple messages are powerful. They are easy to remember and easy to imagine. If you want to communicate something, simplification is the formula. However, the “this and that” which have been cut out and thrown away exist in the background of the simplified message. But I think what lies behind those things is that they make people chuckle and they make for unforgettable experiences that slowly sink into people’s hearts.

For this call for applications, the spotlight was taken by entries featuring things that are easy to overlook, the “Side B of Ishigaki Island”, which thrilled me because it seemed like a fresh way to enjoy Ishigaki Island was about to be discovered. All of the plans were unique and abnormal (!), such as “Become a Rock in Ishigaki Island” (the Japanese word for “rock” has the same Chinese character and pronunciation as “Ishi” in “Ishigaki”), “Stay in Ishigaki through Bartering”, and “Creating a Mystery Romance Novel with an Elderly Woman”. Aren’t they great?

Assuming we are concerned, we may ask whether anyone cultivated a “travel design” that properly delights ordinary people. I pray that the 10 travel designers put up a good fight and make good on their promises!


★ Travel Designer Awards

The following 10 people, as travel designers, will actually implement their travel plans in Ishigaki Island (planned for February to March 2015). All of the adopted ideas were terrific, but the each of the judges have given advice to help polish the travel plans so as to make them more concrete. Let’s brush up the “design” of the trips together with the islanders and USIO members!

Jyun, “Become One with Ishigaki Island! Become a Rock Hide and Seek Tour”

20150129_11Keywords: DIY, socialize, scavenge

Trip Overview:
●Play hide and seek and become one with Ishigaki Island’s nature—the ultimate nature tour.
●The travelers will create a cloak that imitates Ishigaki Island’s rocks, grass, or beaches. Take commemorative photos while merging with the island’s scenery.
●Display the photos on social networking sites and the tour’s public website, and ask people, “I’ve become one with Ishigaki Island: where am I in this photo?” The goal is to generate buzz via word of mouth.

>>View Plan Details (PDF)

Award Winner: jyun (game designer)
I develop games as a director and planner. If you introduce play and rules, then anything can become a game! Since I like planning, my travel plan tends to involve lots and lots of historical sights.

Evaluation and Advice from the Judges:

Internet Humor and an Island Legend

It may seem like a wild idea at first glance, but there is actually a famous Ishigaki Island legend that involves people becoming rocks. We do not know how far the creator wanted to take that point, but the completely different opening from which people who are not interested in the traditions or history of Ishigaki Island can be approached is fantastic. Furthermore, we sense the Internet-style humor of going out of your way to a distant and isolated island to implement a seemingly ridiculous idea. When implementing the plan, we think it would be good to first show a funny picture of “becoming a rock”, and then mention, “Actually, there is a legend…” and create a story through that order of events. This is a unique idea that feels like it has the potential for collaboration with the USIO Design Project’s media sponsor, “Daily Portal Z”.

Shinichi Chiba, “A Trip to Make the Ultimate Shaved Ice”

20150129_12Keywords: Ishigaki fields, scavenge, DIY

Trip Overview:
●A trip to enjoy the ultimate shaved ice, which can only be tasted in Ishigaki Island
●Participants find and obtain ingredients on their own, such as local specialty fruits, sugarcane, and the red bean soup that evolved independently on the island.
●The goal is to find the ingredients, make the ice, and eat the shaved ice that is packed with Ishigaki Island experiences, including the place and situation where it is eaten.

>>View Plan Details (PDF)

Award Winner: Shinichi Chiba (business management)
I was born and raised in a tourist spot, where I now manage a restaurant. In a situation like mine where the word “tourism” is becoming cliché, I am very happy with this plan since I want to take back the word “tourism” and redefine it. Tourism means to see what shines in that place (the Japanese word for “tourism” contains the Chinese characters for “light” and “see”). Using that as a base, I designed the trip. By the way, I traveled with my wife in Kuroshima, Taketomi Island, and Ishigaki Island when I was in my twenties. I vividly remember the shaved ice red bean soup I ate in Taketomi Island and the pineapples I ate in Ishigaki Island and how incredibly delicious both were.

Evaluation and Advice from the Judges:

The Ultimate Sweet from Island Ingredients

“Shaved ice red bean soup” is a popular sweet in Ishigaki Island. The shaved ice, which uses ingredients from the island like island bananas and honey, has a lovely charm and seems like it would be a hit. Even using island vegetables in the winter might make for a unique treat.
However, from the perspective of Taiwan, from where travelers to Ishigaki Island are increasing, Taiwan has more varieties of fruit and chilled sweets than Ishigaki Island. Rather than proceeding with the idea as it is, we would like to see a plan to create an ultimate sweet that uses island ingredients (not limited to shaved ice) that takes advantage of the expertise and knowledge of café managers and food producers with good track records. We hope someone will take on the challenge of collaborating with a local café to create the first USIO Design Project local specialty and generate buzz and draw out the charm of the new Ishigaki Island food.

Yuji Yamada, “A Lap Around Ishigaki Island”

20150129_13Keywords: Ishigaki ocean, Ishigaki fields, Ishigaki mountains

Trip Overview:
●Hold a long-ride event in Ishigaki Island that makes a lap around the island and its lakes.
●A lap around Ishigaki Island is 120km, which will appeal to people who want to attempt their first long ride.
●Since they are cyclists, they can stop by at places that catch their attention while cycling.
●Through the air and smell of the island, for example, an experience that uses the five senses is possible.

>>View Plan Details (PDF)

Award Winner: Yuji Yamada (painter)
I like riding bicyles (road bikes), and I always bring my bicycle with me to my travel destination and I roam around the land. By the way, the longest distance I have traveled in one day is 180km. I want to challenge myself to go even farther this year!

Evaluation and Advice from the Judges:

Cycling (popular!) Around the Island!

Taking a lap around the island is charming and leaves a sense of accomplishment. Recently, bicycle sports such as pottering have been becoming popular in Asia, and “bicycle touring” is even getting attention in Ishigaki Island. Tourists from Taiwan come to Ishigaki Island to enjoy cycling in groups, and a large-scale cycling event was held in November. If you avoid summer, the weather is warm, the grade is perfect, and the scenery is beautiful, which gives it a good reputation among cyclists. Island + cycling would be a tourist attraction that would appeal throughout the world. When implementing the idea, we would like to see further research into issues like which season is the best, what elements make for a more exciting trip, how to overcome problems related to infrastructure, etc.

Tohaku, “Working Holiday in Ishigaki Island: Become an Islander and Discover the Hidden Parts of Ishigaki Island”

entry_sheet_1204Keywords: meet people, socialize, DIY

Trip Overview:
●A plan conceived from the “working holiday” through which travelers work while traveling.
●By helping islanders, travelers are offered a place to stay for the night and a meal.
●Travelers can have a deep experience of the real lifestyle and scenery of Ishigaki Island, which are not featured in guidebooks.

>>View Plan Details (PDF)

Award Winner: Tohaku (office worker)
Until now, travel has been framed in terms of “pay money, buy experience”. With my plan, I want to remove that frame. When I visited Ishigaki, I expressed the dissatisfaction I had felt. Not simply ending with just an idea, my idea sincerely aims at commercialization. For that reason, I did not just design an individual travel plan, but I challenged myself to redesign the framework of the travel experience itself.

Evaluation and Advice from the Judges:

Working to Barter for Island Hospitality

This travel plan is not just about one-sided volunteer work, but it is a travel plan that can promise sustainability and that recognizes the mutual merits that travelers and the islanders can offer each other. There were several entries that proposed staying with communities and families on the island, but this idea is highly feasible and the point about a fair exchange was good. In fact, Ishigaki is actually shorthanded. If helpers can be successfully found, then it should become a plan that can successfully involve the islanders. As a trip that puts you in contact with the Japanese language while you live and work, it seems like it would be popular with foreigners learning Japanese. However, since “working holiday” is an official cross-national system, we would like to see the naming and promoting to be brushed up so as not to cause confusion with the actual working holiday system.

to+, “A ‘Song Journey’ with Elders: Design AR, Listening, and Mutual Sympathy”

20150129_15Keywords: scavenge, sound, socialize

Trip Overview:
●Collect various songs rooted in the area (e.g., festival songs, lullabies, prayers for big fish catches, etc.) from islanders, and then create an AR (augmented reality) by compiling the songs and matching them to photos.
●Through the AR experience, travelers may glimpse at the wisdom and lifestyles that have been cultivated locally over generations.
●A chance to take songs that have been handed down for generations on Ishigaki Island and pass them on to the next generation.

>>View Plan Details (PDF)

Award Winner: to+
While being engaged for over 10 years in community planning that uses contemporary art, for 2 of those years, I worked in the city hall’s tourism and exchange department. While there, I decided on the plans for numerous community-based tourism tours and inbound trips from various neighboring Asian countries. I have done sales, tie-ups, and implementations with travel agencies, and I have experience creating new directions in local tourism. Currently, through diverse collaborations, I am managing various businesses related to art and design.

Evaluation and Advice from the Judges:

Cut Out Ishigaki Island with Sound & Digital Archives

When it comes to experiencing the culture of Ishigaki Island, sound, song, and music are a charming gateway. If there were a structure for sharing the recorded sounds with people outside of the island, we think interest in and empathy for Ishigaki Island would increase. The part of the plan that involves travelers having various experiences, which are evocative of the island, through collecting music is appealing. Concrete images spring out from the entry sheet, so the plan is one we can trust. However, we think there is room to consider whether AR is the optimum technology for expressing and transmitting those images. We would like to see that point actually implemented and followed by reconsideration of the appropriate means of expression.

MABFILM, “Turn Boulders Lining the Ocean Into Meeting Points for Climbers: An Ocean (Island) Where Anyone Can Become a Climber”

20150129_16Keywords: Ishigaki ocean, climb high, meet people

Trip Overview:
●Internationally celebrated climbers choose to climb Ishigaki Island’s rock walls, and Ishigaki Island is becoming a place that draws attention from many experienced climbers.
●There are areas where even beginners can climb safely.
●Travel plan where climbers can notice the charms of Ishigaki Island and non-climbers learn of the charms of climbing.

>>View Plan Details (PDF)

Award Winner: MABFILM (office worker)
I support people who take climbing as the center of their lives. I record, edit, and share videos. I also provide clothing and gear. MABFILM climbers increase each other’s overall value and support each other in an effort to make it possible to create an even better climbing environment.

Evaluation and Advice from the Judges:

A Sport that Creates a New Way to Enjoy the Ocean

Creating a new way to make use of Ishigaki Island’s ocean (coast) through a sport that is becoming more and more popular is an attractive point. Since diving and other marine sports have already matured as tourist programs, it would be good to try and make climbing popular as a new activity. Actually, although Ishigaki Island has plenty of rocks ideal for bouldering, there are still few business people in the island who support the sport. Thinking about developing it as an industry, professional development and recruiting talent seem like they would be a problem.
Although bouldering is growing in urban areas, places where you can climb rocks in a natural setting are limited. Therefore, for bouldering, a trip like one to Ishigaki Island is sure to get attention. So that this style of travel becomes established, a steady stream of marketing is necessary.

Keiichi Yagi, “Leave Behind the Old Ladies’ Way of Life! A Trip to Search for Hints for a Society of Longevity”

20150129_17Keywords: longevity, search, inherited wisdom

Trip Overview:
● Ishigaki Island is known as an island of longevity. Look to elderly people in Ishigaki Island for secrets connected to the future of Japan as a nation that is experiencing an aging population and decline in the birthrate.
● Interview the elderly people of the island and ask about everything from their eating habits and love stories to their memory of the war.
● Widely share the ways of life and stories of the elderly people you interview.

>>View Plan Details (PDF)

Award Winner: Keiichi Yagi(mystery writer & copy writer)
Although I am only a beginner, I work as a mystery writer and copy writer.(I won Takarajimasha’s Twelfth “Kono Mystery ga Sugoi!” (lit., “This Mystery is Excellent!”) award). I currently work on a car and mystery novel, “Operative Girl: Car Insurance Inspector Miki”, which is published daily on Toyota’s portal website, “GAZOO”. I am also currently writing a serialized novel about the activities of young employees for The Pokémon Company’s website for newly hired fresh graduates.

Evaluation and Advice from the Judges:

Going Around the Setting of a Mystery Novel Whose Protagonists are Elderly Women

We are interested in what kind of chemical reaction will occur from the unique combination of an authentic mystery writer and grandmas from Ishigaki Island. Using a novel as an opportunity for tourism by making people want to visit the story’s setting is a fresh idea. We would definitely like to see the old ladies who were born and raised on the island be interviewed and have their stories, from when they were young until now, put into words. For instance, it would be intriguing if their stories were to lead to an incredibly heavy and deep mystery romance novel. As a new travel idea that reaches artistic people, we have high hopes for this plan and would like to adopt it.

Sho Ishikawa, “A Trip to Become an Apprentice for One of Ishigaki Island’s Many Masters”

20150129_18Keywords: meet people, inherited wisdom, dive deep

Trip Overview:
●Gather masters whom you can only meet in Ishigaki Island, and provide the opportunities for tourists to meet them as an important tourist attraction.
●Travelers select one master he/she would like to be an apprentice for from three categories (“career”, “daily lifestyle”, or “entertainment”).
●As an apprentice follow your master’s instructions and experience the lifestyle of your master.
●The master/apprentice relationship continues even after the journey as an apprentice is over. Travelers will come back to Ishigaki Island to visit the place where their masters live.

>>View Plan Details (PDF)

Award Winner: Sho Ishikawa(office worker)
When I was in college, I lived in Izena Island, Okinawa and I experienced a movie filming internship there for more than a month. Since my natural skin color is dark and I have defined face, I got along with the locals to the extent that elderly people from the island started conversations with me in Ryukyuan languages.
Since I think the most important point of this project is how much travelers can interact with local people, I believe I can use my experience and character to successfully implement the travel plan.

Evaluation and Advice from the Judges:

Become an Apprentice for One of the Island’s Talent Masters!

“A Trip to Become a Master’s Apprentice” is an easy-to-understand opener and, out of the travel plans involving the islanders, it is an especially realistic and good proposal. The idea of learning the ropes from someone who is capable of something ought to make travelers want to participate right away. An interesting point is that it seems like you will not just hear technical conversations while going about the master’s work, but also unexpected digressions about the island. Assuming the perspective of foreign tourists (although there is the language problem), they also seem like they would be interested in the local skills and craftspeople.

★Travel Designers Award (Collaboration Award)

The two travel plans below are expected to create one travel plan by combining the two travel plans made by the award winners.


feng yu ting, “Mobility-Impaired Elderly Persons with Wheelchairs Can Also Enjoy Ishigaki’s Ocean and Search for Ishigaki’s Treasures as well as Discover the Treasures in Their Own Hearts. Learn How Kajimaya Elderly Persons Live Healthy Lives”

20150129_19Keywords: Ishigaki ocean, scavenge, longevity

Trip Overview:
● Have elderly people with wheelchairs enjoy a trip to the beaches of Ishigaki Island, and learn about the healthy lifestyle of kajimaya (celebration for 97 years of longevity) seniors.
● In Ishigaki Island, barrier-free accommodations are available, and the event, “JAL Yuimal Barrierfree Marine Festival World Event in Ishigaki”, has been held there.

>>View Plan Details (PDF)

Award Winner: feng yu ting
I am a 28-year-old female from Taiwan, and I love traveling freely. I have visited Okinawa and Ishigaki Island, and I became fond of the relaxed island atmosphere and I have now become a big fan of the clear blue ocean of Kabira Bay (and the delicious sea grapes). I hope I can get my disabled family member to like traveling.

Yao-Chi Li, “The Ocean and Gourmet Dialogue: Enjoy the Unique Local Deliciousness with the Locals”

20150129_20Keywords: Ishigaki ocean, DIY, eat

Trip Overview:
● With Ishigaki’s nature as the setting, it is a tour that allows you to experience every step, from fishing to preparing the dishes, and to fully enjoy the ocean’s fortune.
● Take a finishing boat early in the morning, and line-catch fish on your own.
● Have a chef prepare a dish with fish you caught, and enjoy.

>>View Plan Details (PDF)

Award Winner: Yao-Chi Liu
I do film-related work in Taiwan. Since I grew up in rice fields and grassland, I love nature and like to observe people interacting with each other. I have traveled all around Taiwan twice while recording the lives of the people I encountered along the way. One time was on my bicycle, and I sweated and felt the earth breathing. The other time was on my motorcycle, and I brought an instrument and sang while walking around Taiwan. Lately, I have been trying to spread this abroad and, through bumping into other cultures, become one. Furthermore, I want to create just one story for this one world.

Evaluation and Advice from the Judges:

A Barrier-Free Trip that is Friendly for Taiwanese Travelers

※This project is a collaboration proposed by the review committee in response to two different plans.
If there are active trips, there should be slow trips too. The focus of taiwan-based fengyu ting’s idea on Ishigaki Island’s barrier-free initiatives is engaging. As such, the trip is lacking in concrete proposals, but it is important that people with various health circumstances and of different ages can enjoy themselves. There are many elderly people in Taiwan who are yearning to visit Japan, but are afraid of the voyage to big cities, so there must be high demand for a specialized barrier-free tour in Ishigaki Island.
In addition, fresh fish is also popular in Taiwan, where there are not many types of fresh seafood. So how about combining the idea about experiencing nature and gourmet food proposed by Yao-Chi Liu, who also lives in Taiwan, into a single plan with the barrier-free Ishigaki Island trip aimed at Taiwan? While it is unusual for a review committee to make a reverse proposal for collaboration with individual applicants, we hope that you, two young people who live in Taiwan and are overflowing with ambition, are willing to take on the challenge of drawing out the charm of Ishigaki Island from a new perspective.


★ Good Idea Award

We would like to share travel plans, which unfortunately did not win the “Travel Designer awards”, but are nevertheless fascinating. USIO Design Project will give each Good Idea award winners a special gift from Ishigaki Island.


“A Trip to Eat Japan’s First New-Rice Rice Ball
Where Rice Can be Harvested First in Japan, Ishigaki Island”
>>View Plan Details (PDF)

Team Chinchinnati

“Our proposed design is to turn traveling in Ishigaki Island into an adventure. The experience only requires minimal planning while participants can see a wide range of the Ishigaki Island through a playful way”
>>View Plan Details (PDF)

Masayuki Yoshihama

「“A Trip for the Pleasant, Enchanting, and Somewhat Bewitching Fragrance that Permeates Everywhere on Ishigaki Island”
>>View Plan Details (PDF)

Yuki Kosaka

“Create ‘Ishigaki Karuta (a Japanese card game) for Everyone’ with Island Words & Travel Memories”
>>View Plan Details (PDF)

Sho Ishikawa

“A Trip to Eat and Drink Everything in Ishigaki Island”
>>View Plan Details (PDF)

Sonoka Sagara

“The Colors of Ishigaki”
>>View Plan Details (PDF)


Thank you for sending so many travel plan entries!

Regarding the prizes and benefits, invitations to Ishigaki Island, and special gifts, the USIO Design Project office will sequentially contact winners via email.
The USIO Design Project will continue to share the performance and progress of travel plans and merchandising with you. Please wait patiently for updates.