Harmony, resilience and uniqueness: explore the many sides of Japan sustainably.
From Tokyo sky-line to remote rural regions, JAPAN has so much to offer for travelers. The History of the country made this destination, its culture and traditions so unique. With 70% of its territory covered by mountains and forest, the archipelago offers a diversity of landscape which makes it perfect for NATURE-BASED TOURISM and ecotourism.
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Surrounded by the sea, Minami Chita Town is a well-known tourist destination with two outlying islands. It’s 60km south from Nagoya city and easy accessible, yet the beach kept clean by decent effort of reducing litters and clean-up activities. Enjoy clean coastline and warm hospitality of Minami Chita.
Higashimatsushima City is situated along the east side of Matsushima Bay, one of the three most scenic sites in Japan. The city includes Miyato Island, the largest of the islands scattered in Matsushima Bay. Called Oku-Matsushima, the island has preserved an archetypal image of Japan, with its coastline selected as one of the 100 best beaches in Japan.
Nabegataki Falls is a small waterfall 10m high and 20m wide located in Oguni Town, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan. It was formed by the erosion of pyroclastic flow deposits over the years, characterized by the very wide space behind the waterfall. In 2014, the Aso Geopark was recognized as a “Global Geopark,” considered one of the most important places in the Aso Geopark where visitors can feel the heat of the Aso land.
Nasushiobara City is located 150 kilometers from the Tokyo metropolitan area, in the northern part of Tochigi Prefecture. The urban area is located at the foot of natural mountain area that contains valleys and wetlands, such as Shiobara Hot Spring Village with an abundance of hot water belonging to the Nasu Volcanic Zone, at a high altitude of over 200 meters above sea level in highland climate. Dairy farming is thriving, and the raw milk production is the fourth largest in the country.
The old castle town of Ozu, Ehime prefecture boasts a rich cultural heritage in an unspoiled natural environment, and efforts are being made to preserve and revitalize it. Ozu Castle (大洲城, Ōzujō) is a symbol of the town on the bank of the Hiji River which was once abandoned due to its aging.
Aso city lies in the Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan. It is a modern city, established in Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan. It is a product from the merger of the former town of Aso, absorbing the town of Ichinomiya, and the village of Namino. The city is located in the Aso Caldera.
Close to the city lies on of Japan’s first national parks, Aso-Kuju National Park. The park is an essential place to visit for hiking, outdoor sports, or hot springs. In the center of it all lies Mt. Aso, a collapsed caldera and the most active volcanic area in Japan.
Shodoshima (小豆島, Shōdoshima) is the second largest island in the Seto Inland Sea and one of the first islands born to the gods in the creation myth of Japan. The name literally means “small bean island”, which technically refers to the azuki bean, traditionally been a producer of soy sauce and now is even known for its olive plantations. Moreover, Shodoshima attracts visitors with its Mediterranean atmosphere, offering beaches, resorts, coastal sceneries and a mountainous interior with one of Japan’s most celebrated gorges, the Kankakei Gorge.
Enjoy the charm of a mountain village in Gero Onsen, one of the three best hot springs in Japan!
Gero Onsen (Gero Hotspring) was first discovered near the top of Yugamine, a volcano that is said to have erupted 100,000 years ago, during the Tenryaku era (947-957), the middle of the Heian period.
GOOD TO KNOW
Nature is deeply present in Japanese people’s life and thus ecotourism is a wonderful way of discovering both Japanese culture and landscape. Japan has now its own Sustainable Tourism Standards for Destinations accredited by the GSTC proving the country’s engagement to guide destinations through implementing sustainable tourism. Thanks to their inspiring stories and hardwork, many destinations have been selected by Green Destinations as Top 100 destinations in 2020.
Tourism & People
Like many destinations, Japan has many hotspots for tourism that can quickly become overcrowded. And the situation usually worsens during peak-season, in Spring and Autumn particularly.
In the recent years, tourists’ misbehavior issues have increased in sacred places, but also in natural scenic places or even simply inside trains, leading to stricter rules in certain touristic areas. Residents are however always very keen and always happy to introduce their customs and traditions to visitors, and Japan stays one of the safest country to visit. Human rights are well respected.
GOOD TRAVEL TIPS
GOOD TRAVEL TIPS
Travel by train
Japan has fantastic trainlines and is renowned for its perfect punctuality and service. Large cities, smaller cities, tourist attractions, you can access so many places while enjoying beautiful sceneries along the way. Don’t forget to book your Japan Rail Pass before going to Japan! It will give you unlimited access to most of the Shinkansen trains, to Japan Railway Lines and some metro lines in Tokyo. Regional passes are also available. The website Hyperdia will be your best friend to organise your journey by train.
Waste & Recycling
Japanese people and visitors love convenience store, also called conbini. However, the amount of plastic wrappings and bags still represents an important issue in Japan. Don’t hesitate to tell vendors that you don’t need a plastic bag by simply saying: sonomama de kudasai, (meaning “just like that, please” or “no bag, thank you”). And remember to bring your own shopping bag. Many visitors are also surprised of the lack of bins when eating in parks or outside in Japan. Usually, Japanese people bring their own rubbish back home, so please do the same. Do not leave rubbish on site and throw them when possible by respecting waste separation. You can also find bins in front of some convenience store for example.
As many of the most visited places are situated southern to Tokyo, northern Japan is somehow deserted by foreign visitors. However, if you are looking for long hikes and breathtaking natural scenery, go north! From cherry blossoms viewing in Hirosaki, to hiking along the Michinoku Coastal Path and skiing in the northern island of Hokkaido, many nature-based activities await. A little plus: Niseko Town and Kamaishi, two of our 2020 Top 100 Destinations, are located in northern Japan!
Hop on a bike!
Once in Japan, you will see many locals on a bike. Cycling is a very enjoyable way to visit Japan and renting a bike is easy and quite cheap in the country. So as soon as you are outside of Tokyo, don’t forget this option! Cycling in the Japanese countryside and in cities like Kyoto, is a wonderful experience that will quickly get you from one place to another, will count as your daily work-out session and save the planet.