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.
Yuji Hayashi / Web Master, Nifty’s “Daily Portal Z”
We 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
As 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
Our 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.
Simple 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”
Keywords: DIY, socialize, scavenge
●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.
Shinichi Chiba, “A Trip to Make the Ultimate Shaved Ice”
Keywords: Ishigaki fields, scavenge, DIY
●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.
Yuji Yamada, “A Lap Around Ishigaki Island”
Keywords: Ishigaki ocean, Ishigaki fields, Ishigaki mountains
●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.
Tohaku, “Working Holiday in Ishigaki Island: Become an Islander and Discover the Hidden Parts of Ishigaki Island”
Keywords: meet people, socialize, DIY
●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.
to+, “A ‘Song Journey’ with Elders: Design AR, Listening, and Mutual Sympathy”
Keywords: scavenge, sound, socialize
●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.
MABFILM, “Turn Boulders Lining the Ocean Into Meeting Points for Climbers: An Ocean (Island) Where Anyone Can Become a Climber”
Keywords: Ishigaki ocean, climb high, meet people
●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.
Keiichi Yagi, “Leave Behind the Old Ladies’ Way of Life! A Trip to Search for Hints for a Society of Longevity”
Keywords: longevity, search, inherited wisdom
● 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.
Sho Ishikawa, “A Trip to Become an Apprentice for One of Ishigaki Island’s Many Masters”
Keywords: meet people, inherited wisdom, dive deep
●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.
★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”
Keywords: Ishigaki ocean, scavenge, longevity
● 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.
Yao-Chi Li, “The Ocean and Gourmet Dialogue: Enjoy the Unique Local Deliciousness with the Locals”
Keywords: Ishigaki ocean, DIY, eat
● 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.
★ 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)
“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)
「“A Trip for the Pleasant, Enchanting, and Somewhat Bewitching Fragrance that Permeates Everywhere on Ishigaki Island”
>>View Plan Details (PDF)
“Create ‘Ishigaki Karuta (a Japanese card game) for Everyone’ with Island Words & Travel Memories”
>>View Plan Details (PDF)
“A Trip to Eat and Drink Everything in Ishigaki Island”
>>View Plan Details (PDF)
“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.