Hondas Hello Woods program, which celebrated the 10th anniversary of its creation in 2010, is the result of its dedication to inspiring society to dream and experience joy.
In 1988, a plan was developed to build a track in Motegi, Tochigi Prefecture, out of a desire to go beyond merely selling products and communicate the joy of mobility. However, some within the company were hesitant due to questions of whether the enormous cost of building the facility could ever be recovered. Nonetheless, the project was green-lighted by then-president Nobuhiko Kawamoto, who pointed out that making dreams come true to ensure customers joy regardless how difficult that task might be was the philosophy of Honda founder Soichiro Honda and the very reason for the companys existence.
The project came to be seen as a gift for the society of the 21st century, and its realization became a shared dream of all Honda associates as they were encouraged to provide ideas and apply to work at the new facility. With a total area 137 times that of Tokyo Dome, the track was the largest-scale construction project to be undertaken by a company in Japan at the time. In 1997, Twin Ring Motegi opened as a place where everyone can enjoy the appeal of mobility to the fullest.
The track site, which was in a run-down state due to its having been neglected for many years, was part of a satoyama-style ecosystem combining upland forests with an abundance of trees and water with surrounding inhabited areas. We hoped that by recapturing the vitality of the area through a series of repairs and improvements, we could provide an opportunity for visitors to talk about life and renew their awareness of the links between nature and society. This approach ultimately led to a plan to establish Hello Woods next to the Twin Ring Motegi track. Hello Woods, which opened in the summer of 2000 as an expansive, 42-hectare site dedicated to playing and learning, works to keep children and forests alike healthy and energetic by providing a range of hands-on programs and developing infrastructure to support various activities.
We spoke with Ryuichiro Sakino, who was involved with the project from its earliest days and who now serves as a Forest Producer at Hello Woods, about his feelings toward the project during its early days and the social role of forests.
Twin Ring Motegi
Neglected satoyama-style ecosystem (before the opening of Hello Woods in 1999)
Working to restore the area to a healthy state
The satoyama-style ecosystem after restoration by Honda