Helping develop his hometown through tourism
Takeshi Hinata likes to go around Nakafurano in his road bike while wearing sporty but stylish clothing. Born and raised in this town, he always loved the nature here since he was a child. One of his favorite spots is the Choei Lavender Farm, which turns into a ski slope in winter. His hobbies include skiing and cycling. Although he left Nakafurano for a few years for his university studies, he came back to inherit his family’s metal works business. After joining the Young Entrepreneurs Group of the local Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he became closely involved in the town’s community development and promotion. Nowadays, in addition to running his own company, he currently spends his busy but fulfilling days as the head of the Nakafurano Tourism Association, the vice chairperson of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the president of the Nakafurano Ski Club, the vice president of the Furano Ski Federation, and many other affiliations.
Realizing the beauty of the town through his wife
Throughout the years, Hinata received the most support from his late wife, Michiko. The two of them met at a children’s toy store in Asahikawa, where he was working in sales and Michiko was doing office work. It was when Hinata decided to return to Nakafurano to inherit the family business that the two got married. He still fondly remembers the first time he took Michiko to visit Nakafurano. It was early summer, and as they were driving into town, Michiko expressed her amazement at the beauty of the place. It was this moment that sparked Hinata to let the world know of Nakafurano’s charm. Even today, it is the memory of Michiko’s smile that gives him strength and encouragement to do his various endeavors.
Mt. Ashibetsu-dake and Mt. Furano Nishi-dake reflected on a paddy field during an early morning in May (photo taken by Takeshi Hinata).
A life constantly in touch with vast nature
With a proud smile, Hinata points out to us his favorite spot at the Choei Lavender Farm. From here, you can get a perfectly-angled view of the towering Daisetsuzan and Tokachidake mountains, with the prominent snow-capped peaks of Mt. Tokachidake, Mt. Furanodake, and Mt. Asahidake. On some days during the sunrise, you can even see a sea of clouds spread before your eyes from this spot. It is as if the mountains are titans safeguarding the town of Nakafurano below. Hinata also expresses his admiration for the the town’s beautiful rural scenery and the lifestyle of the townsfolk. Here in Nakafurano, you will find a life embraced in beautiful nature.
A sea of clouds beneath the Tokachidake mountains, as seen from the Choei Lavender Farm observation deck during a sunrise in mid-October (photo taken by Takeshi Hinata).
His vision for the town’s tourism
One of the challenges facing Nakafurano tourism is how to link it with the town’s farming industry. It is from this issue that Hinata came up with the Nakafurano Cycling event, where participants get to ride a bicycle to visit various checkpoints in the town. These checkpoints include sightseeing spots, local shops and restaurants, and even a place where you can try log sawing. The event lets you truly experience the charm and lifestyle of Nakafurano, an experience you would have missed if you were just driving by. Hinata says that he has many other exciting projects in mind, and with the help of the local people, he plans to continue contributing to the development of the community through tourism. Though it has been over 35 years since he returned to Nakafurano, he still beams with happiness as he says, “I’m glad to be back”.