Itoigawa Geopark was the first of its kind in Japan to be designated as a UNESCO Global Geopark. Centred around the Fossa Magna, the massive rift in the earth that was formed when the Japanese archipelago detached from the Asian continent, the geopark is where you can see geologically rare formations and minerals. The region is also famed for the production of domestic jade. Itoigawa jade was created approximately 520 million years ago and is said to be the world’s oldest jade.There are a total of 24 “geosites” in Itoigawa City, where you can see and feel the topography, culture and history of the region. By visiting all of these sites you can learn about the formation of the islands of the Japanese archipelago and the culture and history of Itoigawa. Give that there are many mountainous areas in Itoigawa very often it is necessary to come down to the coast to move from valley to valley and therefore getting around can take more time that you would perhaps think. It is for this reason that using a car is recommended, but there are also rental cycles available in towns and depending on where you are heading it is possible to combine a car trip with a cycle tour.