HOST TOWN AT FOREFRONT OF ICONIC SIGHT
The town of Fujikawaguchiko is making steady steps toward globalization through sports.
Attention toward the Fuji Five Lakes area has been increasing recently, both from overseas and locally. One of the major reasons is that the scenic area near Lake Yamanaka, offering stunning views of Mount Fuji, will host the 2020 Olympics road cycling competition. Starting from Musashino Forest Sport Plaza in Tokyo, the race route will finish at the Fuji Speedway. The men’s race will see 4,865 meters of climbing, while the women’s will see 2,692 meters, both facing a few brutal slopes. Although both routes are expected to be tough for the cyclists, the spectacular Lake Yamanaka with Mount Fuji in the background will definitely be one of the highlights of the races.
The town of Fujikawaguchiko, located right next to Lake Yamanaka, has been working to become an international sightseeing spot that attracts visitors from all over the world.
In March 2016, Fujikawaguchiko set up the Fujikawaguchiko-machi Sports Camp Attracting Committee — a group promoting the area as a training camp locale for various international sports competition teams. As a strategy to make the Fujikawaguchiko area grow as a next-level tourist destination, they emphasized the importance of hosting international events and promoting exchange programs with countries that chose the area for sports training camps. They have been actively working to attract international events such as the Olympic Games, Paralympics, world cup competitions and others.
With the Rugby World Cup (RWC) 2019 scheduled to be held in Japan next year, the committee has already achieved great success. On April 20, the informal decision to certify both the city of Fujiyoshida and Fujikawaguchiko as official training camps for the French team was announced by the RWC 2019 Organizing Committee. In July, it became official that the town of Kawaguchiko and the city of Fujiyoshida concluded an agreement with the RWC 2019 Organizing Committee as approved training camps for participating teams.
In addition to attracting foreign teams to training camps, Fujikawaguchiko also encourages local communities and citizens to be more aware of health and international exchanges through sports.
On April 14 and 15, a free public viewing of a rugby match between the Japan’s National Women’s Team Sevens and their French counterparts took place at Fuji Hokuroku Park.
From May 6 to 10, a French triathlon team stayed at the Fuji Premium Resort in Fujikawaguchiko during their training for the ITU World Triathlon Yokohama on May 12. Fujikawaguchiko organized a tour for local residents to cheer on their French guests, and approximately 30 people enjoyed a day trip to Yokohama to watch the ITU World Triathlon Yokohama.
With Fujikawaguchiko as the official host town for the French team for the Rugby World Cup 2019, a French Fair and para-sports trial session were held at the Fujikawaguchiko Town Festival on July 15. To provide a better understanding about French culture to local communities, there were a few booths selling French foods and drinks. The visitors also enjoyed a chanson performance by French singers. In addition to live entertainment, many visitors enjoyed boccia, a para-sport that is played in over 50 countries worldwide. It was originally created to be played by people with cerebral palsy, but now includes athletes with other motor skill limitations.
As a host town, Fujikawaguchiko is determined to make the experience for the French Rugby World Cup team unforgettable for both children and adults within the local community. The town hopes that various sports-related promotions, including sports tourism, will play an important part in regional revitalization.