Protecting our natural heritage for future generations National Parks of Japan
Definition of National Parks

Regulated Utilization

Main body

Outline of the Regulated Utilization Areas system

Increasing numbers of visitors in recent years to areas of our National Parks where unspoiled wilderness can be found have led to a diminishment of a primeval atmosphere and to impediments acting on efforts to conserve scenic landscapes and biodiversity.
From the standpoint of the use of Natural Parks, however, primeval natural sites are important as areas where visitors can come into contact with more sublime examples of nature. It is conceivably effective to attempt to enable sustainable use under certain controls.
Thus, in order to maintain and facilitate the use of the scenic beauty and landscapes of our National and Quasi-National Parks, a Regulated Utilization Areas system under which Regulated Utilization Areas are designated and only users authorized by the Minister of the Environment or a prefectural governor (or the relevant designation and authorization body where one has been designated) can gain access was established at the time that revisions to the Natural Parks Law came into effect in 2002.
The criteria for the number of visitors and the duration of stay are stipulated at the time of the granting of access authorization.

Designated authorization body

As it is desirable to have functions with respect to the authorization of users of Regulated Utilization Areas undertaken efficiently in locations that are proximate to the zone in question, local organizations are designated as bodies charged with carrying out authorization functions. Only one designated authorization body can be designated for each Regulated Utilization Areas. In order to ensure that appropriate and proper authorization-related functions are performed, rules have been set forth with respect to compliance matters, confidentiality, supervisory orders, the collection of reports, on-the-spot inspections, and other matters.

Authorization fees

Fees for granting an authorization and for reissuing an entry authorization certificate shall be borne by the visitor. These fees will fund the administrative costs related to authorization. Fees will be set to appropriate amounts in the separate ordinance taking into consideration the actual amounts incurred.

First Regulated Utilization Area in Japan (Odaigahara Area, Yoshino-Kumano National Park)

A decision was made in December 2006 to set up Japan's first Regulated Utilization Area in Nishiodai, a part of Odaigahara in Yoshino-Kumano National Park. This area boasts a natural environment that is relatively exceptional even within the Odaigahara area. The decision to make this designation was undertaken for the purpose of maintaining the tranquility and other positive attributes of the area to provide natural experiences at an even higher level of quality. Since September 2007, access to the mountainous zone has required, among other steps, the submission of an application in advance together with the payment of fees made to the designated authorization body designated by the Minister of the Environment.