The 15th International Turfgrass Research Conference (ITRC) will be held at the Karuizawa Prince Hotel West in Karuizawa, Nagano, Japan from 12-17 July 2025. This is only the second time that the conference will be held in Japan; it was first hosted in Tokyo in 1989. Karuizawa is a popular summer resort area for the residents of Tokyo. It has convenient access from central Tokyo, which has ensured its popularity as a location for second homes.
The International Turfgrass Society (ITS) is a non-profit scientific organization established in 1969 to encourage research and education in turfgrass science. The mission of ITS is to promote personal communication among the international community of turfgrass researchers by organizing international conferences for the dissemination of research and information on all phases of turfgrass production and use. To this end, International Turfgrass Research Conferences are held at 4-year intervals. Past conferences have been held in the United Kingdom (1969, 2005), United States (1973, 1993, 2017), Germany (1977), Canada (1981, 2001), France (1985), Japan (1989), Australia (1997), Chile (2009), China (2013), and Denmark (2022). Following the latest conference in Copenhagen, the ITRC will be held in Japan in 2025 for the first time in 36 years.
Technologies related to turfgrass management? science? have made great strides in recent years. Turfgrasses in Japan have been mainly used for beautifying Japanese gardens and for erosion control. However, with the golfing boom from the late 1980’s, turfgrasses have also become popular for use in sports venues. Since the inauguration of J-League soccer in 1993, turfgrass soccer pitches have been created all over Japan. The turf used on soccer fields is well maintained, helps prevents injuries, and can be used safely and comfortably by children and professional players alike, thus greatly contributing to the popularity of the game that we see today. In addition, we are now seeing many Japanese professional soccer players succeeding overseas. Improvements in turfgrass maintenance and management techniques for golf courses and sports fields in Japan have greatly contributed to the increase in the number of athletes in the country. In Japan, the Rugby World Cup was held in 2019, and the Tokyo Olympics were held in 2021. Plants are known to have a healing effect on the human mind and help relieve stress, and this concept is being applied in horticultural therapy. Thus, lawns have beneficial effects on human minds and bodies, whether “actively” (sports turf) or “passively” (aesthetics).
Recently, the United Nations set 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to enhance and transform our world. In many countries that follow the SDGs, companies and organizations have set specific goals and are working to achieve them. There are a number of ways that people associated with turfgrass can contribute to achieving these goals. Goal 3: “Good health and well-being for all people” and Goal 15: “Protecting life on land” are typical examples. In addition, turfgrass-related companies are working to achieve Goal 8: “Fulfilling work and economic growth” through their efforts. We will work toward achieving these goals through ITRC 2025. One of the aspirations of the SDGs is to have “a company not only focus on its own financial situation, but also on whether it fulfills its responsibilities to the environment and society.” The fact that turfgrass-related companies are striving to achieve SDGs and bring about beneficial effects for society contributes to improving the environment, enhancing their corporate image, and helping consumers select products and services to help maintain a healthy and sustainable environment.
The combined knowledge of researchers and engineers from Japan and abroad will be brought together at the 2025 ITRC to help solve “existing issues” and encourage people in industry, government, and academia to work together to create a green and rich living environment that maximizes green space in society.

Hideaki Tonogi
International Turfgrass Society