Increasing Opportunities for Sustainable Travel in Japan

February 15 2022

To meet some of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015, the Japan National Tourism Organization is now promoting greener policies for travel in and around the country. Many international travelers are already more aware of the issues caused by overcrowding and high rates of pollution in popular destinations, and, as a result, they are looking for more sustainable trips and tours to match their increasingly eco-friendly values. With the restoration of sustainable environments to support wildlife, eco-friendly accommodation and low-carbon intercity transportation systems, in Japan they will find plenty of opportunities to enjoy all that the country has to offer, while at the same time reducing any negative impact on local communities and the natural environment.

The shinkansen, or bullet train, is one of the world's most efficient rail networks.

The shinkansen, or bullet train, is one of the world's most efficient rail networks.

Connecting with Nature in Unique Rural Areas

As travelers are increasingly committed to ensuring their trips are environmentally-friendly, they are looking to reconnect with nature away from the crowds. Far from Tokyo and other busy cities, Japan offers many unique and remote destinations. Here, travelers can stay in environmentally-friendly accommodation and enjoy a range of activities from natural hot springs to forest bathing, while at the same time observing indigenous wildlife, gazing at the stars in clear night skies and absorbing the breathtaking scenery. From mountain top lodges with eco-friendly rooms to traditional homes in villages adapted to their natural surroundings, visitors who want to get away from it all can stay near nature without compromising on luxury or impacting the environment around them.

Supporting Local Traditions and Craftsmanship

Even in its busiest cities, visitors to Japan can travel responsibly by using green transport, supporting sustainable traditions and creating less waste. From buying pre-owned and vintage clothing in the Shimokitazawa quarter, to carrying their own reusable chopsticks, tourists in Tokyo can embrace a more environmentally-friendly philosophy. By choosing to eat locally produced specialties and buying beautifully handcrafted souvenirs, they can also help to support the people who keep alive Japan's highly valued ancient traditions.

Sustainable Travel Around the Country

Japan's ambitious plans to become carbon neutral by 2050 are helped by the extensive use of its highly efficient public transport, the preferred method of getting around for both Japanese residents and tourists. While Tokyo has one the largest and most efficient public transport systems in the world, it is also easy to discover the city on foot or by hiring a bicycle from a share service. For energy efficient rail travel around the country, low-carbon bullet trains run on the Shinkansen, a network of high-speed railway lines. A new stretch of the line is to run from Nagasaki Station to Takeo Onsen, and whizzes passengers through striking countryside until they reach the historic, hot spring town in the western Saga Prefecture.

As well as striving to attain global, sustainable goals, by providing efficient, low-carbon transportation between cities and offering eco-friendly accommodation in remote natural surroundings, Japan is also successfully responding to the demands of eco-tourists.

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