In the Aoyamakogen Highlands, sustainable energy is being produced in harmony with nature.

In the Aoyamakogen Highlands, sustainable energy is being produced in harmony with nature.

Japanese culture has always had a deep respect for the natural world and the country is committed to developing renewable energy sources. This focus on achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will help to ensure that future generations have a healthy planet to call home. In the Aoyamakogen Highlands of Mie, people who come to go hiking and cycling can see a wonderful example of how technology can be used in harmony with nature. The 89 wind turbines on the plateau add to the stunning views of Ise Bay when you reach the observation platform at 756 meters above sea level. A visit to this beautiful area can show people how clean energy can be produced sustainably and help reduce the demand for traditional energy sources.

Written by Nathan Raymond
About the Author:
I live in Gifu with my family. I feel blessed to be living in such an amazing country and I am always eager to explore new spots in Japan that I can write about and share my experiences. I encourage anyone who is curious about Japan to come and choose your own adventure. 

When I heard about the wind farm in the Aoyamakogen Highlands, it sounded like an amazing place. As the world seeks out solutions to deal with the climate challenges of today and tomorrow, it is reassuring to know that Japan is developing sustainable energy projects. I also love being in the mountains and was keen to make my way to the wind farm so I could enjoy the ocean views. The photos I had seen of the wind farm looked very interesting and I was looking forward to seeing it with my own eyes to appreciate the incredible engineering of the massive turbines. 

Caption: The wind farm’s administrative building was modern and the staff was welcoming.

When I arrived at the administrative building for my visit, the president and his assistant greeted me warmly. They brought me inside and I was impressed by the all of the models and displays explaining the details of the wind farm’s design and function.

Caption: The president showed me the energy production process using the model.

The wind farm’s administrative building is very modern and uses state of the art technology to educate visitors about the benefits of wind power. There were three main points that I learned in the presentation from the president:
  1.Wind energy is 100% sustainable and can never be depleted.
  2.Wind energy production does not generate any harmful CO2.
  3.The energy produced by the wind farm can be transferred and stored at a low cost. 

Caption: There are some interactive activities to help visitors learn about wind energy.

After hearing the informative presentations about the Aoyamakogen Highlands wind farm, I played a game to test my newly acquired knowledge. The game was interactive and fun to play as I confirmed what I had learned so far on my visit. I thought this was a perfect example of Japan’s emphasis on education with a focus on making learning fun. Activities like this are a great way to engage young people in the understanding of how we are working to develop sustainable energy.

Caption: I did well on the quiz and enjoyed the experience.

The president was very friendly and it was obvious that he truly believes in what he is doing. His presentations were interesting and his passion for making a better future for our planet inspired me to learn more. We all need to think about our world in a more eco-friendly way and it takes people like the president of the wind farm to spread that idea.

Caption: The turbines have a rotor diameter of 50.5 meters and I could really appreciate their size when I got a closer look.

When you see the wind turbines from a distance or in photos, it isn’t clear how massive they actually are. Each main part that is needed to construct a wind turbine is huge and transportation of these parts presents unique logistical challenges. Japanese roads, especially those in the mountains, are typically narrow and require expert navigation skills when moving the parts. It was interesting to learn how the wind turbines were transported to the Aoyamakogen Highlands and then constructed on the mountain plateau.

Caption: The winding 10 km road to the wind farm made transporting the turbines a challenge.

After learning about wind energy production in the administrative building, the next part of the tour was to see the wind farm itself. We drove for 10 km on the winding road and I enjoyed the lush green scenery all the way to the top. 

Aoyamakogen is a spectacular natural area and it is a popular hiking and cycling spot for outdoor enthusiasts. I could see why as we passed by many species of tress and plant life on our drive up the mountain. When we reached the observation platform, we were 756 meters above sea level and the wind farm looked incredible as the massive turbines turned slowly while generating clean energy from the mountaintop. From the platform, visitors can also enjoy views of Ise Bay, the Ise Plain and the Chita Peninsula. 

Caption: Many seasonal plants bloom in Aoyamakogen.

Caption: The combination of eco-friendly technology and flowers is wonderful.

There are many reasons to visit the Aoyamakogen Highlands and each season offers a unique experience. For example, in the spring you can hike the Tokai Nature Trail that connects the highlands to Mt. Kasatori through a grassland area where lily-of-the-valley and azaleas grow in clusters. The natural beauty of the area is symbolic of what is being protected by developing eco-friendly energy sources. Seeing the flowers and mountain grass with the wind turbines spinning in the background was an amazing image to behold.

Caption: It was my first time seeing so many windmills in one place.

When you first see the wind turbines in the distance, they don't seem that large because they are spread out among the treetops of the forest. As you get closer, their true size becomes apparent and you can see the incredible span of the spinning blades. What surprised me the most was how quiet the wind turbines are. I assumed they would make some mechanical noise, but they were almost silent. As I stood on the plateau and felt the constant breeze on my face that kept the blades turning, the atmosphere was serene and calming.

Caption: The blades were hypnotic as they generated clean energy.

I was amazed at the level of engineering and planning that must have been required to build the Aoyamakogen Highlands wind farm. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to learn more about wind energy and how much effort went into making it a reality. We all know that action is needed to increase renewable energy sources and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Seeing these actions in person convinced me that it is possible.

Caption: My visit was a great opportunity to see how sustainable energy can be generated.

As a global leader in technology, Japan is applying its expertise to work towards a greener future and the Aoyamakogen Highlands are a great example of this. Finding energy solutions that can exist in harmony with the natural world is a lofty goal, but one that is worth pursuing.

It was an educational and inspiring visit to the Aoyamakogen Highlands and I think everyone should see how Japan is developing eco-friendly energy solutions. I enjoyed the hospitality of my hosts and I also appreciated the opportunity to spend some time in a beautiful part of Mie. I will not soon forget the feeling of seeing an army of giant wind turbines spinning resolutely as they generate energy and hope for the future of our planet.

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