International Symposium: Miyawaki Forests and Urban Forests
- Towards the Creation of Miyawaki Forests as Nature Labs in Schools


Since its inception in Japan about 50 years ago, Miyawaki forests have gained global attention and recognition as a fast and effective way to develop forest ecosystems within small areas, suitable even for urban landscapes. The importance of Miyawaki forests as a community activity, education tool and even as a biodiversity conservation measure will only increase in the decades to come.

The G20 Global Land Initiative was established by the G20 countries in Riyadh in 2020, during the Saudi Arabian Presidency of the G20. The Initiative aims to translate the commitment of the G20 leaders to achieve a 50% reduction in degraded land by 2040. Increasing awareness among children and communities about land degradation and opportunities for restoration is an integral part of the strategy of the G20 Global Land Initiative. In this context, the G20 Global Land Initiative is planning to organize, with partners, in Japan in 2024, an international Symposium on Miyawaki Forests and Urban Forests – especially “Towards the Creation of Miyawaki Forest as Nature Labs in Schools”.

Sumida Ward, Tokyo, an urban desert with very little green space.


  1. To bring together key experts, enthusiasts and supporters of Miyawaki Forests and other urban forest initiatives to discuss how to increase the scale and implementation of urban forest ideas
  2. To bring together key organisations, such as UNCCD, UNEP, FAO, IUCN, WWF, UNESCO and ICRAF, who could help support and promote urban forest concepts globally
  3. To discuss experiences and strategies for urban forest implementation, in particular, school-forest experiences and strategies globally, and to come out with recommendations for scaling up and coordination.
  • Explore the potential of Miyawaki forests as nature labs in schools.
  • Discuss how these labs can connect young people and children with land, nature, and biodiversity.
  • Showcase successful school implementations of Miyawaki forests.
  • Share strategies for fundraising and resource mobilization for school-based nature labs.
  • Highlight how Miyawaki Forests can be used to increase awareness about climate change, biodiversity loss and land restoration.
  • CASE01

    Ominato Elementary school

  • CASE02

    Kindergarten in Hannan City, Osaka Prefecture

Target Audience:

  1. Technical experts with expertise in implementing Miyawaki Forests/Urban Forests globally
  2. Organisations, including UN, NGO, Private Sector and others, who have the capacity to project the idea globally
  3. School administrators from around the world who have experience and interest in implementing Miyawaki/Urban Forests globally
  4. Mayors and other city administrators with interest and experience in implementing Miyawaki/Urban Forests globally
  5. Communities, including urban communities and gated communities, with interest and experience in implementing Miyawaki/Urban Forests globally
  6. Media personnel who have the potential to promote Miyawaki and Urban Forests globally

Education ministers, education administrators, school owners, and curriculum developers, people who created Miyawaki Forest.

Symposium schedule (tentative):

Day 1:
October 10 (Thu), 2024
Morning and Afternoon:
  • Welcome and Opening Remarks: High-level representatives from the Japanese government and the G20 Global Land Initiative
  • Keynote Address: Renowned expert on Miyawaki forests and their ecological benefits.
  • Case Studies: Presentations from diverse schools showcasing their successful Miyawaki forest projects. Q&A with students.
  • Panel Discussion: Education leaders from countries implementing Miyawaki forests in schools. Sharing experiences and best practices.
  • Poster session: Activity reports on Miyawaki forest activities around the world.
Day 2:
October 11 (Fri), 2024
  • Field Visits: Participants visit the campus of Yokohama National University, with its long-established Miyawaki forests.
  • Workshop: Interactive session on designing and implementing Miyawaki forests in schools. Led by experts and experienced schools.
  • Special Session: Fundraising strategies for school-based nature labs. Featuring successful campaigns involving alumni, local businesses, and grants.
  • Roundtable Discussion: Participants share key takeaways and recommendations for integrating Miyawaki forests into school curricula and policies.
  • Closing Remarks and Action Plan: Summarizing key outcomes and outlining next steps for promoting Miyawaki forests in schools globally.
  • Networking Reception: Opportunity for participants to connect, share ideas, and explore potential collaborations.

Site Visits (tentative):

Following the symposium, participants can embark on optional site visits to various locations:

  • Training for making potted seedlings/saplings, in the morning, and renowned Japanese gardens and natural landmarks, offering inspiration for nature-based learning (Hama-Rikyu Garden in Tokyo), in the afternoon of Oct. 12
  • Participation in a Miyawaki plantation ceremony with common people/children, in the morning, and participants visit a primary school with established Miyawaki forests) (interact with teachers, and experience the nature lab firsthand after plantation, in the afternoon of Oct. 13. (Additional schools with Miyawaki forests, showcasing unique approaches and settings)
  • Visiting a Miyawaki school forest and participating in a plantation at a school on Oct. 14.

The symposium and activities will be published after all activities.


Yokohama City is located in the eastern part of Kanagawa Prefecture and next to the Tokyo Metropolitan area. It is the second most populous metropolis in Japan, with ca 3,770,000 people living on 435.43km2. Although Yokohama is a large city located just 30 minutes from the center of Tokyo, it has a beautiful port that is visited by foreign cruise ships; a group of historic buildings that still retain traces of the time when the port first opened; and parks that blend into the cityscape. Following the Japan-US Treaty of Amity and Commerce concluded on July 29, 1858, Yokohama Port opened in 1859 and has since developed into one of Japan’s leading trading ports. Many foreigners live in the city, including in Yokohama Chinatown, the world’s largest Chinatown, and the city retains an exotic atmosphere and unique culture. Having experienced a unique transition from small fishing village to Japan’s second largest city in just 150 years, it is the starting point of Western culture in Japan, including railways, daily newspapers, city lights, water supply, tennis, and beer. Yokohama National University (YNU) is located in the east-central part of Yokohama. Its predecessor, Yokohama Normal School, was founded in 1876, and the new system university, Yokohama National University, opened in 1949. The Tokiwadai Campus was established in 1974, on the site of the relocated Hodogaya Country Club, integrating campuses that had been scattered in several places. Miyawaki forests in Yokohama National University began in 1976 around Prof. Miyawaki’s new office. Campus planning of Miyawaki forests was decided in 1979, from the main gate to various campus spaces, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of YNU’s founding.

Quoted from Yokohama National University homepage

Secretary General: Makoto Nikkawa (Secretary General of MORINO PROJECT)
Executive Committee: Kazue Fujiwara, Elgene O. Box, Grey Coupland, Kazuhiro Mizuta, Shin-ichi Suzuki, Teruko Sano, Mio Urata
Organizers: Muralee Thummarukudy, Director, Global Land Initiative, UN Convention to Combat Desertification, Bonn, Germany, mthummarukudy@unccd.int
Symposium fee: free
Deadlines: June 15: Applications to G20 for staying grants
(Send to Dr. Muralee Thummarukudy mthummarukudy@unccd.int)
July 5: Registration
July 5: Abstracts for oral and poster presentations
(Oral presentations are for case studies of Miyawaki school forests;
poster presentations are for other Miyawaki forest activities)
July 19: Announcement of oral or poster presentations
August 19: Sending of presentation PDFs to the Secretariat for bilingualization of English and Japanese

Registration form

MORINO PROJECT (Public Interest Incorporated Foundation)
Address: 2F 372 Toranomon Building 3-7-2 Toranomon Minato-ku Tokyo 105-0001 JAPAN
Tel: +81 (0)3-6432-0085
Mail: info@morinoproject.com