• Japan Tours
  • Eco Tours in Japan

Japan Eco Tours 2024/2025

The best eco tours in Japan. Below you will see 154 eco tours through Japan that are all carbon offset. Bookmundi offsets the CO2 footprint on behalf of all the multiday tour companies that we work in Japan by amongst others investing in wind, solar and tree planting projects around the world. In the future, we will continue to make our tours in Japan more sustainable and climate-friendly.

155 Eco trips in Japan

Japan Express Tour

  • Starts Tokyo, Japan
  • Ends Kyoto, Japan

Japan Express

  • Best price guaranteed
  • No booking fees
  • Tour Type Small Group Tour
  • Activities City sightseeing & Local culture City sightseeing , Local culture , Museum and gallery visits , Natural landmarks sightseeing & Cultural, religious and historic sites 'data-more-tripid='3101'>+3 more
  • Accommodation Hotel & Hostel
  • Transport Train, Bus, Private Vehicle & Bullet Train
  • Age Range 15-99 yrs
  • Operated in English
  • Brochure Price: US$ 2,660
  • Special Deal (20%): - US$ 532
  • Total Price from: US$ 2,128
  • Mar 27 Only 9 seats left
  • Mar 30 Only 7 seats left
  • View More Jan 1, 2019 Jan 2, 2019 Jan 3, 2019

Japan Highlights Tour

  • Ends Osaka, Japan

Japan Highlights

  • Activities City sightseeing & Natural landmarks sightseeing City sightseeing , Natural landmarks sightseeing & Cultural, religious and historic sites 'data-more-tripid='18121'>+1 more
  • Accommodation Hotel
  • Transport Train, Bus & Bullet Train
  • Brochure Price: US$ 3,435
  • Special Deal (5%): - US$ 172
  • Total Price from: US$ 3,263
  • Apr 07 Only 1 seat left
  • Apr 17 Only 1 seat left

Ancient & Modern Japan Tour

  • Starts Kyoto, Japan
  • Ends Tokyo, Japan

Ancient & Modern Japan

  • Activities Food tours & Cultural, religious and historic sites
  • Accommodation Hotel & Villa
  • Transport Ferry, Train, Boat & Bullet Train
  • Age Range 16-95 yrs
  • Mar 24 Only 3 seats left
  • Mar 25 Only 3 seats left

Epic Japan: Speed Trains & Street Food Tour

Epic Japan: Speed Trains & Street Food

  • Activities City sightseeing & Cultural, religious and historic sites City sightseeing , Cultural, religious and historic sites , Museum and gallery visits & Art and architecture 'data-more-tripid='4498'>+2 more
  • Accommodation Hostel
  • Transport Train, Bus, Ferry & Bullet Train
  • Age Range 18-39 yrs
  • Mar 30 Only 1 seat left
  • Apr 04 Only 3 seats left

13-day Budget Japan Tour

13-day Budget Japan Tour

  • Trip customizable
  • Activities City sightseeing & Cultural, religious and historic sites City sightseeing , Cultural, religious and historic sites & Sightseeing Tours 'data-more-tripid='27822'>+1 more
  • Accommodation Eco Lodge, Hostel, Hotel, Lodge & Resort
  • Transport Bullet Train, Ferry, Private Vehicle & Train
  • Age Range 18-55 yrs

Japan 14 Day Adventure Tour

  • Ends Hiroshima, Japan

Japan 14 Day Adventure Tour

  • Tour Type Group Tour
  • Activities Adventure & Local culture Adventure , Local culture , Food tours , Trekking and Hiking , Cultural, religious and historic sites & Natural landmarks sightseeing 'data-more-tripid='37182'>+4 more
  • Accommodation Guest House & Hostel
  • Transport Bullet Train, Bus, Ferry, Private Vehicle & Train
  • Age Range 18-79 yrs

Backroads Of Japan Tour

Backroads of Japan

  • Activities Trekking and Hiking & Adventure
  • Transport Train, Bus, Bullet Train & Taxi
  • Age Range 18-99 yrs
  • May 26 10+ seats left
  • Sep 08 Only 6 seats left

Japan: Land Of The Rising Sun Tour

Japan: Land of the Rising Sun

  • Activities City sightseeing & Local culture City sightseeing , Local culture , Cultural, religious and historic sites , Art and architecture & Natural landmarks sightseeing 'data-more-tripid='3102'>+3 more
  • Accommodation Hotel & Resort
  • Transport Boat, Ferry, Train, Bus, Private Vehicle & Bullet Train
  • Brochure Price: US$ 5,345
  • Special Deal (5%): - US$ 267
  • Total Price from: US$ 5,078
  • Mar 26 Only 5 seats left
  • Mar 28 Only 1 seat left

Discover Japan Tour

Discover Japan

  • Activities Cultural, religious and historic sites & Art and architecture Cultural, religious and historic sites , Art and architecture , Local culture , Natural landmarks sightseeing & City sightseeing 'data-more-tripid='4493'>+3 more
  • Transport Ferry, Train, Bus & Bullet Train
  • Age Range 12-95 yrs
  • Brochure Price: US$ 5,999
  • Special Deal (20%): - US$ 1,200
  • Total Price from: US$ 4,799
  • Apr 19 Only 1 seat left
  • Apr 20 Only 3 seats left

Japan: Castles & Cuisine Tour

Japan: Castles & Cuisine

  • Activities Museum and gallery visits & Sailing, yachting and motor boating Museum and gallery visits , Sailing, yachting and motor boating & Cultural, religious and historic sites 'data-more-tripid='9960'>+1 more
  • Transport Ferry, Train & Bullet Train
  • Mar 26 Only 2 seats left
  • Apr 02 Only 1 seat left

Japan 10 Day Adventure Tour

Japan 10 Day Adventure Tour

  • Activities Adventure & Local culture Adventure , Local culture , Trekking and Hiking , Cultural, religious and historic sites , Food tours , Natural landmarks sightseeing & Sightseeing Tours 'data-more-tripid='37101'>+5 more
  • Transport Boat, Bullet Train & Private Vehicle
  • Age Range 18-70 yrs

Ultimate Japan Tour

Ultimate Japan

  • Activities Explorer & Cultural, religious and historic sites Explorer , Cultural, religious and historic sites , Adventure & Sightseeing Tours 'data-more-tripid='36191'>+2 more
  • Accommodation Hotel, Lodge, Resort & Villa
  • Transport Bullet Train, Bus, Private Vehicle, Train, Boat & Ferry
  • Brochure Price: US$ 7,545
  • Special Deal (45%): - US$ 3,395
  • Total Price from: US$ 4,150
  • May 18 Only 3 seats left
  • Jun 01 10+ seats left

Japan: Tokyo Nights & Kyoto Temples Tour

Japan: Tokyo Nights & Kyoto Temples

  • Activities City sightseeing & Cultural, religious and historic sites

Highlights Of Japan Tour

Highlights of Japan

  • Activities Sightseeing Tours & Adventure
  • Accommodation Hotel, Resort & Villa
  • Transport Bullet Train, Bus, Private Vehicle, Boat, Ferry & Train
  • Brochure Price: US$ 4,913
  • Special Deal (45%): - US$ 2,211
  • Total Price from: US$ 2,702
  • May 19 Only 3 seats left
  • Jun 02 10+ seats left

Japan Eco Tour Reviews

  • Joe Shepherd

Eco tours and trips

  • Eco tours in Asia
  • Eco tours in Central Asia
  • Eco tours in Mediterranean
  • Eco tours in Middle East
  • Eco tours in South East Asia
  • Eco tours in Nepal
  • Eco tours in Vietnam
  • Eco tours in India
  • Japan trips
  • Japan budget tours
  • Japan guided tours
  • Japan family tour packages
  • Japan luxury tours
  • Japan private tours
  • Japan small group tours
  • Japan solo trips
  • Japan tailor-made vacation packages
  • Japan tours for senior citizens
  • Japan tours for young adults
  • Japan group tours
  • Japan last minute deals
  • Japan travel deals
  • Japan customized tours

Japan upcoming departures

  • Spring 2024/2025
  • Summer 2024
  • Winter 2024/2025
  • August 2024
  • September 2024
  • October 2024

eco tours japan

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THE 10 BEST Japan Eco Tours

Eco tours in japan.

  • Golf Courses
  • Equipment Hire
  • Scuba & Snorkeling
  • Up to 1 hour
  • 1 to 4 hours
  • 4 hours to 1 day
  • 5.0 of 5 bubbles
  • 4.0 of 5 bubbles & up
  • 3.0 of 5 bubbles & up
  • 2.0 of 5 bubbles & up
  • Osaka / Kyoto private charter car one day tour English speaking driver
  • Arakurayama Sengen Park
  • Oshino Hakkai
  • Saiko Iyashi no Sato Nemba
  • The ranking of tours, activities, and experiences available on Tripadvisor is determined by several factors including the revenue generated by Tripadvisor from these bookings, the frequency of user clicks, and the volume and quality of customer reviews. Occasionally, newly listed offerings may be prioritized and appear higher in the list. The specific placement of these new listings may vary.

eco tours japan

1. Oshino Hakkai and Hot Spring Trip From Tokyo to Mt. Fuji

eco tours japan

2. Private Day Tour in Osaka and Kyoto with charter car

eco tours japan

3. Private Walking Tour in Bamboo Forest & Hidden Spots in Arashiyama

eco tours japan

4. Farming Experience in a Beautiful Rural Village in Nara

eco tours japan

5. Easygoing Nature Walk in Hakone Tour

eco tours japan

6. Yakusugi Cedar Forest Walking Tour on Yakushima Island

eco tours japan

7. Guided Cycling tour in Hagi with Sake Brewery Visit

eco tours japan

8. Private Morning Hike Around Nikko Toshogu Shrine

eco tours japan

9. Shikoku 3-Day Cultural Private Tour with Pick Up

eco tours japan

10. Private Cycling Tour in the First Capital of Japan

eco tours japan

11. 1 Day Private Mt Fuji & Lake Kawaguchiko English Speaking Driver

eco tours japan

12. Osaka Private Charter Tour Miyama & Amanohashidate & Uji Routes

eco tours japan

13. 3 days in Aso to experience the nature and people's lives of the active volcano

eco tours japan

14. Kamikochi Feel nature and Hiking 1 day trip (near Takayama)

eco tours japan

15. Yamanashi beyond Mt.Fuji

eco tours japan

16. Eco Focused Cycling and Crafts Tour in Kameoka 1 day

What travellers are saying.

Brandon J

eco tours japan

  • Things to do

Explore > Destinations > Japan > Sustainable Travel & Ecotourism in Japan

Sustainable Travel & Ecotourism in Japan

You can find plenty of ways to travel sustainably in Japan, which is not surprising considering it’s the country that popularized shinrinyoku (forest bathing) and invented moss-viewing tours. Even in the bustling metropolis of Tokyo, you can reduce your carbon footprint by following eco-friendly travel practices . Exploring off-the-beaten path locations, staying in a traditional Japanese ryokan , and learning about Japanese culture through a hands-on workshop all support ecotourism in Japan.

Thanks to the influence of Shintoism and Buddhism, the idea of living in harmony with the natural world is prevalent in Japanese culture. In fact, the rural community of Kamikatsu became one of the world’s first zero-waste towns . So, if you’re looking for a sustainable travel destination, put Japan on your list. From the serenity of ancient shrines to the electric lights of Akihabara, here are some sustainable tourism tips for being a responsible traveler in Japan.

Use sustainable transportation

Bullet train in Japan

One of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint while traveling is to use public transport to get around. Japan makes this easy. You can get to most major cities and tourist attractions by train, subway, or bus. The system is so efficient that a Japanese trainline even issued a formal apology after departing 20 seconds early .

If you plan on visiting multiple cities, consider purchasing a JR Rail Pass . Not only will you save money on travel, you’ll also help save the environment. Shinkansen (bullet trains) run on electricity and are much more sustainable than renting a car or flying. Plus, you can enjoy the countryside whizzing past as you glide down the rails at over 120 mph (200 kmph).

Get off the beaten path in Japan

Sitting under a waterfall on a hiking tour in Japan

Help reduce overtourism, which can lead to the degradation of the iconic places you came to see, by getting off the beaten path. Consider heading to Beppu in Oita prefecture to soak in natural hot springs or delving into samurai history in Aizuwakamatsu in Fukushima province. Exploring less-visited places spreads tourist dollars to more rural communities. Plus, you get to travel more authentically in a place with fewer crowds. Even in Tokyo you can get off the beaten path by taking a small-group tour that supports family-owned businesses .

Sustainable tours in Japan

Eco-friendly bicycle tour in Kyoto

Of course, you’ll want to see some of the big sights too, and that’s okay! Rather than taking the tourist bus, do it in an environmentally-friendly way—by walking or biking. Cycle from shrine to shrine along the scenic Kamo River on a bicycle tour of Kyoto . Take a spin around Tokyo on a cycling tour to the Ota Memorial Museum of Art and the Tsukiji Fish Market. Munch and marvel at the huge red lantern of Senso-ji Temple on an Asakusa street-food and cultural walking tour . Japan is a very safe country, so why not see where your feet take you?

Eat locally and sustainably

Woman serving food on a walking tour in Tokyo

Rather than going for the familiar yellow arches of McDonalds or the green mermaid of Starbucks when you travel, take the more sustainable meal option and eat local. Between ramen, sushi, and soba, Japan has so many delicious foods to try. Seek out the local delicacies. Drink Sapporo beer in Sapporo, make vegan ramen on a Kyoto food tour , and snack your way through the streets of Osaka with this Osaka food guide . You’ll find small family-run eateries all over Japan—and they often have the best food.

Local Expert Tip: If you’re a vegetarian or have food allergies, take one of these handy phrase cards to communicate your dietary restrictions when eating out in Japan.

Respectfully explore nature

Forest bathing in Tokyo for ecotourism in Japan

If you’re looking for outdoor adventure or just want to go forest bathing, Japan has plenty of green spaces to enjoy nature. Even in the heart of Tokyo, you’ll find abundant greenery around the Meiji Jingu Shine in Yoyogi Park. For a challenging, but very rewarding hike, climb Mount Fuji on a day trip from Tokyo . Hit the slopes at the former Winter Olympics host city of Nagano for world-class skiing. On the tropical islands of Okinawa, kayak and hike to beautiful waterfalls or snorkel with tropical fish in this off-the-beaten-path destination.

Experience local culture through a workshop or class

Ikibana flower arranging workshop in Kyoto

Ecotourism in Japan doesn’t just focus on the environment. It also seeks to preserve and share local culture and traditions in a respectful and engaging way. From learning the serene art of ikebana (flower arranging) in Tokyo to working up a sweat while trying your hand a taiko drumming, you’ll find a rich array of cultural workshops and classes in Japan. Forge your own small katana in Kyoto with traditional techniques under the guidance of an artisan swordsmith. Or, dye a beautiful silk scarf using the 8 th century shibori method at the Kyoto Shibori Museum to create your own lasting keepsake.

Protect local wildlife through ecotourism in Japan

Japanese snow monkeys in hot springs

Support ecotourism in Japan by taking a tour that encourages wildlife conservation rather than animal exploitation. The northern island of Hokkaido is a birdwatcher’s paradise, especially in the winter. See elegant red-crowned cranes perform their courtship dances in the snow and Steller’s sea eagles resting on drift ice. And you won’t want to miss the adorable snow monkeys soaking in hot springs outside Nagano . For warmer weather, take a dolphin-watching cruise on the southern island of Kyushu to see pods of bottlenose dolphins in the wild. Going with a certified guide or paying a park fee to watch animals in their natural habitat helps to keep wildlife wild.

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Customized Hiking, Walking & Trekking Tours in Yamanashi Japan.

Enjoy a private hiking, walking or trekking tour in yamanashi japan, the minami alps, and mt. fuji world heritage area., about our hiking & walking tours in japan, our convienant location in kofu yamanashi is only 90 minutes from tokyo - and is easy accessed by train or bus.

-We offer a variety of private, customized Hiking & Walking Tours throughout Kofu Yamanashi, the Minami Alps, and Mt Fuji and Fuji 5 lakes World Heritage area including Kawaguchiko, and Yamanakako. -All of our Hiking and Walking tours in Japan can be customized to suit your specific interest, ability and fitness level. - Hiking in Japan: We offer half day, full day and overnight hiking and trekking tours that include mountain trails, valleys, river gorges, and alpine peaks. - Walking in Japan: We offer half day, full day and overnight walking tours that include forest roads & trails, secluded mountain villages, temples, riverside strolls and various natural sightseeing areas. -All of our hiking and walking tours in Japan can be customized to include other activites such as cycling, wine tasting, sightseeing, etc., -A certain level of fitness and stamina as well as proper clothing, footwear and gear is essential for our Hiking and Walking Tours in Japan. -You can read more about the places we hike and walk in Yamanashi here . We highly recommend you contact us for further detailed information on the areas we hike, walk and trek in Japan as well as specific requirements and customization for each tour.

Have Questions?

Our Hiking & Walking Tours in Yamanashi Japan

1 day hiking or walking tour in yamanashi.

Tour Includes: -Private Customized Hiking or Walking Tour. -Professional English Speaking Guide Service. -Lunch.

Price: ¥ 35,000

2 Day, 1 Night Hiking or Walking Tour in Yamanashi

Tour Includes: -2 Day Private Customized Hiking or Walking Tour. -Professional English Speaking Guide Service. -Meals: 1st day Lunch, 2nd day Lunch.

Price: ¥ 70,000

3 Day, 2 Night Hiking or Walking Tour in Yamanashi

Tour Includes: -Private Customized Hiking or Walking Tour. -Professional English Speaking Guide Service. -Meals: 1st day Lunch, 2nd day Lunch, 3rd day Lunch.

NOTICE: All tour prices are per person

Price: ¥ 110,000

THE 10 BEST Japan Eco Tours

Eco tours in japan.

  • Golf Courses
  • Equipment Hire
  • Scuba & Snorkeling
  • Up to 1 hour
  • 1 to 4 hours
  • 4 hours to 1 day
  • 5.0 of 5 bubbles
  • 4.0 of 5 bubbles & up
  • 3.0 of 5 bubbles & up
  • 2.0 of 5 bubbles & up
  • Osaka / Kyoto private charter car one day tour English speaking driver
  • Arakurayama Sengen Park
  • Oshino Hakkai
  • Saiko Iyashi no Sato Nemba
  • The ranking of tours, activities, and experiences available on Tripadvisor is determined by several factors including the revenue generated by Tripadvisor from these bookings, the frequency of user clicks, and the volume and quality of customer reviews. Occasionally, newly listed offerings may be prioritized and appear higher in the list. The specific placement of these new listings may vary.

eco tours japan

1. Oshino Hakkai and Hot Spring Trip From Tokyo to Mt. Fuji

eco tours japan

2. Private Day Tour in Osaka and Kyoto with charter car

eco tours japan

3. Private Walking Tour in Bamboo Forest & Hidden Spots in Arashiyama

eco tours japan

4. Farming Experience in a Beautiful Rural Village in Nara

eco tours japan

5. Easygoing Nature Walk in Hakone Tour

eco tours japan

6. Yakusugi Cedar Forest Walking Tour on Yakushima Island

eco tours japan

7. Guided Cycling tour in Hagi with Sake Brewery Visit

eco tours japan

8. Private Morning Hike Around Nikko Toshogu Shrine

eco tours japan

9. Shikoku 3-Day Cultural Private Tour with Pick Up

eco tours japan

10. Private Cycling Tour in the First Capital of Japan

eco tours japan

11. 1 Day Private Mt Fuji & Lake Kawaguchiko English Speaking Driver

eco tours japan

12. Osaka Private Charter Tour Miyama & Amanohashidate & Uji Routes

eco tours japan

13. 3 days in Aso to experience the nature and people's lives of the active volcano

eco tours japan

14. Kamikochi Feel nature and Hiking 1 day trip (near Takayama)

eco tours japan

15. Yamanashi beyond Mt.Fuji

eco tours japan

16. Eco Focused Cycling and Crafts Tour in Kameoka 1 day

What travellers are saying.

Brandon J

Exploring Japan Sustainably: Best Eco-Friendly Travel Options

Author

Japan is a country that has long been celebrated for its unique culture, rich history, and breathtaking landscapes. However, with the increasing popularity of global tourism, Japan is facing numerous environmental challenges that threaten its natural beauty and cultural heritage. As responsible travelers, it is crucial for us to take steps toward minimizing our impact on the environment and promoting sustainable tourism practices. Fortunately, Japan has a lot to offer in terms of eco-friendly travel options that allow us to experience the country's beauty while minimizing our carbon footprint. From train rides that offer scenic views to eco-lodges and wildlife watching, Japan's eco-friendly travel options are as diverse as they are exciting.

Kyoto

In this article, we will take a closer look at Japan's best eco-friendly travel options, highlighting sustainable transportation, eco-friendly accommodations, and environmentally-friendly activities that allow us to experience the best of Japan while leaving a minimal impact on the environment. So, pack your bags and join us on this eco-friendly journey through Japan!

Sustainable Transportation in Japan

Japan, known for its technological advancements and environmentally conscious mindset, offers a wide array of sustainable transportation options for both locals and tourists alike. As the world shifts its focus toward greener solutions to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate climate change, Japan has emerged as a leader in providing eco-friendly travel options, ranging from an extensive railway network and scenic train routes to the popularity of cycling and the rise of electric vehicles.

Riding the Rails: The Benefits of Train Travel in Japan

Japan's efficient and extensive railway network, including the famous Shinkansen (bullet train), is one of the most eco-friendly and convenient ways to travel throughout the country. With an impeccable safety record and punctuality, train travel in Japan not only reduces individual carbon footprints but also offers a comfortable and enjoyable journey. The vast network connects major cities, towns, and even remote areas, making it an ideal transportation option for tourists and locals alike.

Shinkansen

In addition to the practicality of train travel, Japan also boasts a variety of scenic train rides, providing passengers with the opportunity to witness the country's stunning landscapes from the comfort of their seats. From the coastal views along the Sanriku Railway to the lush forests and mountains traversed by the Takayama Main Line, these scenic routes offer a unique and immersive experience that allows travelers to appreciate Japan's natural beauty while minimizing their environmental impact.

SCMAGLEV Railway Park

Learn more about the shinkansen at SCMAGLEV Railway Park.

Bicycling in Japan: A Popular and Eco-Friendly Option

Cycling is another popular and sustainable transportation choice in Japan, favored by locals for its convenience, affordability, and low environmental impact. Many cities have dedicated cycling lanes and bike-sharing programs, making it easier for both residents and tourists to navigate urban areas and explore nearby attractions. Moreover, cycling offers an opportunity to experience Japan at a slower pace, connecting with local communities and the environment.

Cycling

For those looking to explore Japan on two wheels, numerous cycling routes are available, ranging from leisurely rides through picturesque countryside to challenging mountain trails. The Shimanami Kaido, a 70-kilometer route connecting the main islands of Honshu and Shikoku, is renowned for its breathtaking coastal scenery and dedicated cycling paths. Other notable routes include the historic Nakasendo Trail and the picturesque Satoyama Kizuna Trail in rural Gifu Prefecture.

Cycling in Kyoto

Explore Kyoto's lesser-known alleys by cycling.

Driving Green: The Rise of Electric Cars in Japan

As the birthplace of renowned electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers like Nissan and Toyota, Japan has embraced the transition to sustainable automotive technology. The country has invested in EV infrastructure, including charging stations, to encourage the adoption of electric cars. For tourists looking to reduce their carbon footprint while visiting Japan, renting an electric car can be a practical and environmentally friendly option for exploring the country.

Electric Vehicle

If you're considering renting an electric car during your trip to Japan, it's essential to familiarize yourself with the available charging stations and plan your route accordingly. Major rental car companies in Japan offer electric vehicles, and booking in advance can help secure your preferred model. Ensure you have a valid international driver's license and understand Japan's traffic rules to guarantee a safe and enjoyable driving experience.

Tea Ceremony

Drive your EV in Kyoto to this stunning garden for a tea ceremony experience.

Sustainable Accommodation Options in Japan

As a leader in sustainability and eco-friendly practices, Japan offers a wide variety of green accommodations for environmentally conscious travelers. From traditional ryokans and compact capsule hotels to the growing trend of eco-lodges, Japan's sustainable accommodations provide unique experiences that minimize environmental impact while maximizing cultural immersion and comfort.

A Cultural Experience: Staying at Ryokans in Japan

Ryokans are traditional Japanese inns that offer an authentic cultural experience with an emphasis on simplicity and sustainability. These inns typically use locally sourced materials, energy-efficient designs, and traditional craftsmanship, making them an eco-friendly alternative to conventional hotels. Additionally, ryokans often feature communal baths,  known as onsen, which utilize natural hot springs and promote water conservation.

Ryokan

Japan is home to many ryokans that combine traditional elements with modern sustainability practices. Some notable examples include the luxurious Hoshinoya Kyoto , which incorporates energy-saving features and sustainable building materials, and the rustic Takaragawa Onsen, which prioritizes environmental preservation and community engagement. These ryokans offer an authentic and environmentally conscious experience for travelers seeking to immerse themselves in Japanese culture.

Capsule Hotels: A Compact and Eco-Friendly Choice

Capsule hotels, first introduced in Japan in the 1970s, offer small, private sleeping pods as an affordable and space-efficient alternative to traditional hotel rooms. By minimizing the use of resources and energy, capsule hotels provide a unique and sustainable accommodation option for budget-conscious travelers. These hotels often feature shared facilities, such as bathrooms and lounges, which further promote resource conservation.‍

Capsule Hotel

Image Credit: David Pursehouse

Japan boasts numerous innovative capsule hotels that prioritize sustainability and affordability. The Nine Hours chain, with its minimalist design and energy-efficient features, is a popular choice among eco-conscious travelers. Additionally, the Book and Bed Tokyo offers a unique literary-themed experience, with sleeping pods integrated into a cozy library space, encouraging guests to share resources and minimize waste.

Eco-Lodges in Japan: A Growing Trend

Eco-lodges in Japan are gaining popularity as sustainable alternatives to traditional accommodations, providing guests with a comfortable stay while minimizing their environmental impact. These lodges often incorporate renewable energy sources, water conservation measures, and waste reduction initiatives, as well as offering locally sourced, organic meals to reduce their carbon footprint.

Eco-Lodges

Image Credit: Ivan Mlinaric 

The Kamikatz Public House in Tokushima Prefecture is a prime example, with its upcycled building materials and commitment to zero-waste principles. The Yoshino Cedar House, located in Nara Prefecture, is another notable eco-lodge, showcasing sustainable architecture and a strong connection to the local community. These eco-lodges provide travelers with unforgettable experiences while promoting responsible tourism and environmental stewardship.

Yoshino Cherry Blossoms

Complements with the sustainable stay in Nara prefecture.

Eco-Friendly Activities in Japan

Japan, with its diverse landscapes and rich cultural heritage, offers a wide range of eco-friendly activities for travelers looking to minimize their environmental impact while exploring the country. From nature walks and hiking trails to wildlife watching and volunteering opportunities, these activities promote responsible tourism and allow visitors to engage with Japan's unique environment and communities in a sustainable manner.‍

Hiking

Nature Walks and Hiking Trails in Japan: A Breath of Fresh Air

Japan's diverse terrain offers an abundance of nature walks and hiking trails that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the country's natural beauty while minimizing their environmental impact. Hiking and nature walks are low-impact activities that enable travelers to experience Japan's stunning landscapes, from the lush forests of Yakushima to the dramatic coastline of the Sanriku Coast, without contributing to pollution or habitat degradation.

There are countless hiking trails and nature walks in Japan, catering to different interests and fitness levels. Some notable trails include the Nakasendo Way, an ancient route through the Kiso Valley; the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes, which traverse the sacred Kii Peninsula; and the picturesque trails in Kamikochi , located in the heart of the Japanese Alps. These trails offer a unique opportunity to explore Japan's natural beauty while promoting eco-friendly tourism.

Magome

Wander along the spectacular Nakasendo Trail.

Wildlife Watching in Japan: The Importance of Preservation

Japan is home to a diverse array of wildlife, and engaging in responsible wildlife-watching activities can help raise awareness about the importance of conservation and habitat preservation. By observing animals in their natural environment and following ethical practices, travelers can support Japan's efforts to protect its unique biodiversity while enjoying an unforgettable experience.

Nara Deer

From the snow monkeys of Jigokudani Monkey Park in Nagano to the sika deer roaming free in Nara Park, Japan offers numerous opportunities for wildlife watching. Other notable destinations include the Kushiro Wetlands in Hokkaido , home to the endangered Japanese red-crowned crane, and Yakushima Island , where you can spot the endemic Yaku sika deer and Yakushima macaques. These locations offer unparalleled experiences for nature lovers while supporting local conservation efforts.

Shiratani-Unsuikyo Ravine

Trek through Yakushima's stunning beauty.

Volunteering in Japan: Giving Back to the Community and the Environment

Volunteering is an excellent way for travelers to contribute to Japan's environmental conservation and community development initiatives. By dedicating their time and skills to support local projects, visitors can make a positive impact on the country's environment and society while gaining valuable insights into Japanese culture and customs.

Volunteering

There are several organizations in Japan that offer eco-friendly volunteering opportunities, such as the Japan Environmental Exchange (JEE), which focuses on environmental education and conservation projects; WWOOF Japan, which connects volunteers with organic farms and sustainable living initiatives; and the International Volunteer Center of Yamagata, which promotes reforestation and community development. By participating in these programs, travelers can actively contribute to Japan's sustainability efforts while fostering a deeper understanding of the country's unique environment and culture.

Japan is a country that inspires awe and wonder in travelers from all over the world. From the towering skyscrapers of Tokyo to the majestic peaks of Mount Fuji , Japan's beauty is unmatched. However, as visitors, we have a responsibility to protect this fragile environment and preserve it for future generations.

By choosing eco-friendly travel options, we can reduce our impact on the environment and support local communities. Whether it's cycling through the countryside, staying in a traditional ryokan, or enjoying local cuisine, there are countless ways to experience Japan sustainably. So why not embark on your next adventure with a commitment to sustainability and leave a positive impact on this remarkable country?

Eco-hiking in Hiroshima

Try eco-hiking in Hiroshima and interact with the community along the trail.

Continue reading

Beautiful Mountain of Japan Mount Fuji

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Japan’s Best Ecotourism Destinations We Can’t Wait to Visit

Make a pilgrimage to the majestic temple at Nachi Falls

The closest thing travellers get to anything green in Tokyo is the sheet of seaweed wrapping their sushi. But beyond the capital, Japan offers an eco-friendly array of natural experiences for visitors to sink their teeth into.

Ecotourism means responsible travel to natural destinations that helps conserve the local environment. For all its mega-metropolises, Japan shows off many gorgeous places in the great outdoors that would benefit from a sustainable visit. While the buzzing neon lights of Shinjuku might not be too kind on Mother Nature, many of the country’s other top attractions certainly are. Bamboo groves blanket history-soaked Kyoto . Coral reefs and tropical fish fringe some of Japan’s far-flung islands. Mount Fuji is one of Japan’s must-see sights. And to get around, the shinkansen (bullet train) runs on electricity rather than diesel. From sand dunes and snowy peaks to wild deer and waterfalls, discover the country’s best ecotourism destinations in this green guide to Japan.

Forget the ecotourism qualifier – Mount Fuji is one of Japan’s best destinations, period. At 3,776m (12,389ft), Japan’s tallest mountain can be spotted from Tokyo on a clear day, but the views are much more impressive up close. Head to the Fuji Five Lake (Fujigoko) region north of the mountain or the Hakone hot spring resort to the south-east to see the summit sparkle in the water’s reflection, or even conquer one of four climbs from early July to mid September. The Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park also boasts the five-storey Chureito Pagoda, the volcanic Izu Islands and the silky Shiraito Falls. The park’s entry fee helps preserve this world-renowned natural marvel – the epitome of ecotourism.

Our top pick of eco-friendly accommodation near Mount Fuji:

Hotel Green Plaza Hakone (Hakone) La Vista Fuji-Kawaguchiko (Fujikawaguchiko)

Mount Fuji is one of Japan’s most magnificent destinations

Sitting just below Kyushu – the southernmost of Japan’s four major islands – the island of Yakushima is blanketed in millennia-old cedar trees. These 1,000-year-old plants are nicknamed Yakusugi , combining the island’s name with the Japanese word for cedar, sugi . The towering Jomonsugi is thought to be more than 7,000 years old. But it was lucky to survive a logging onslaught during the Edo Period before being protected by national park status 2012, one of 30 across Japan. Yakushima inspired the 1997 Studio Ghibli film Princess Mononoke , the tale of a young prince caught between the forest’s gods and the humans depleting it. And when mist lingers between the yakusugi , it’s easy to see why Yakushima sparkled on the big screen, and why this rare piece of nature deserves a place on this list.

Our pick of the best accommodation in Yakushima:

Yakushima Iwasaki Hotel JR Hotel Yakushima

Yakushima Island is blanketed in millennia-old cedar trees

Okinawa Islands

Another 500km (311mi) south, this sun-kissed chain of coral-fringed islands is a subtropical paradise in the Pacific. And what makes this untamed, far-flung part of Japan one of the country’s must-visit ecotourism destinations is precisely how un-Japanese it seems. On the north coast of Ishigaki , Kabira Bay’s white sand and turquoise water form one of Japan’s most gorgeous coastal views. People can’t swim there, but glass-bottomed boat tours reveal colourful coral and even more kaleidoscopic marine life. Nearby, the untamed island of Iriomote can be explored by kayak or paddle board – rivers snake through its dense mangrove forest, which is crawling with the unique Iriomote wildcats. And even further out, visitors can swim with manta rays off the Kerama islands or dive with 100 hammerhead sharks off Yonaguni island between January and March.

Our pick of the best accommodation on the Okinawa Islands:

Kafuu Resort Fuchaku Condo Hotel Okinawa Spa Resort Exes Hotel Nikko Alivila

From the white sand of the Okinawa Islands to the white snow of Nagano, host of the 1998 Winter Olympics and home to a veritable buffet of ecotourism experiences in the area surrounding the city. Jigokudani Monkey Park (Jigokudani Yaen-koen) is famous for the most relaxed population of Japanese macaques, or snow monkeys , anywhere in the country thanks to the natural hot springs these playful primates inhabit. To the west, Mount Yari soars above the Northern Japanese Alps, offering a breathtaking terrain for hikers between April to November, especially when autumnal leaves flare each fall. Then midway between Nagano and Tokyo, the Karuizawa bird sanctuary is a haven of giant flying squirrels – easily Japan’s most adorable native animal.

Our pick of the best accommodation in Nagano:

Yudanaka Seifuso Ryokan The Prince Karuizawa Phoenix Cocoon

Nagano’s white snow is home to a population of Japanese macaques

If the Okinawa Islands feel like a slice of the South Pacific, Tottori is straight out of the Sahara Desert. And like Okinawa, it’s the exoticism of this unspoiled ecosystem that makes it one of the country’s most special ecotourism destinations. Japan’s largest sand dunes have been formed by millennia of winds off the Sea of Japan, which still shape this ever-evolving 16km (10mi) stretch of Honshu coastline. Protected by the Sanin Kaigan National Park, some of the dunes tower 50m (164ft) above sea level – otherworldly terrain navigated by paragliders, sand-boarders and camel-riders, who only add to those Saharan vibes.

Our pick of the best accommodation in Tottori:

Kaike Fuga Misasa Yakushinoyu Mansuirou

Tottori’s sand dunes are the largest in Japan

Ogasawara Islands

Despite being more than 1,000km (622mi) south of Tokyo, the Ogasawara Islands are officially administrated by the capital. But with only two of the 30 islands inhabited, it couldn’t feel further away from Tokyo’s crush of humanity. Known as the Bonin Islands in English, the Ogasawara Islands enjoy similarly sunny weather as Okinawa – perfect conditions for exploring the region’s luscious jungle, untouched beaches and coral reefs. Only Chichijima (Father Island) and Hahajima (Mother Island) are populated by people, but the whole place is covered with uncommon plants and animals, which explains the ultra-strict rules about what visitors can bring in. The only way to get to this remote corner of the country is the weekly 24-hour ferry from Tokyo, but it’s this extreme isolation that makes its ecosystems so unique, and makes its ecotourism opportunities so precious.

Our top pick of eco-friendly accommodation on the Ogasawara Islands:

Heart Rock Village

Kominato Beach as seen from the Yanakawa Pass Hiking Trail in the Ogasawara Islands

The ancient capital of Kyoto is a victim of overtourism, with tourists trampling the quaint shrines and rock gardens that put this city on the map. But the bamboo groves of Arashiyama on the western edge of town help preserve nature within Kyoto, which is a big tick in the ecotourism box. Paths steer cyclists and pedestrians through this colossal bamboo forest, which comes alive when the skinny stalks sway back and forth in the breeze. The groves are a picturesque place to embrace the distinctly Japanese tradition of forest-bathing – not some onsen shrouded in foliage, but the notion of diving into nature with all five senses to reconnect with Mother Earth.

Our pick of the best accommodation in Kyoto:

The Best Luxury Hotels in Kyoto The Best Capsule Hotels in Kyoto The Best Ryokans in Kyoto

eco tours japan

Nachi Falls

Sending water tumbling off a cliff from a height of 133m (436ft), Japan’s tallest single-tier waterfall is so majestic that it was once considered a religious site. These days, the mist of Nachi Falls (Nachi no Taki) sprays the three-storey pagoda of Seigantoji within the Kumano Nachi Taisha shrine, framing a postcard-perfect perspective of nature’s awesome power plus monumental Japanese architecture. Follow the walking trail to the torii gates of Nachi Taisha for even loftier views of this unspoiled chunk of the Kumano area south of Osaka. Believers in ecotourism ought to make the pilgrimage to support the shrines that protect these thunderous falls.

Our pick of the best accommodation near Nachi Falls:

Shiraraso Grand Hotel Shirahama Coganoi Resort & Spa Kawayu Onsen Fujiya

Pagoda of Seiganto-ji Temple at Nachi Katsuura with Nachi no Taki fall, a UNESCO world heritage site.

Japan’s first official capital is drenched in history, and its cityscape is a collage of centuries-old Buddhist temples. The biggest reason to visit, though, is the opportunity to bump into Bambi. Nara Park – a huge public space at the foot of Mount Wakakusa – is inhabited by more than 1,000 free-roaming wild sika deer, so sacred that they’re officially designated as a national treasure. Just east of the park and within day-trip distance of both Kyoto and Osaka , Kasugayama Primeval Forest is even more protected. Hunting and logging has been banned since the ninth century, cultivating an ecosystem of rare flora and fauna deemed worthy of UNESCO World Heritage status. This is a rare accoldate for green spaces in Japan, which is what makes Kasugayama a unique ecotourism destination.

Our pick of the best accommodation in Nara:

Nara Hotel Noborioji Hotel Nara Tsukihitei Ryokan

Deer graze underneath the trees during the cherry blossom season in Nara Park

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

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Guides & Tips

The ultimate guide to getting around japan.

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The Best Rail Trips to Book this Year

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See & Do

The best places to visit with culture trip this autumn.

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How modern art revitalised the city of Towada, Japan

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Tomamu: a secret skiing spot in the heart of Hokkaido

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Eco-friendly Destinations and Sustainable Tourism in Japan

eco tours japan

When the pandemic brought international tourism to a grinding halt in 2020, the tourism industry saw a good opportunity to re-evaluate how to come back better and stronger. 2019 was the best year for tourism in Japan in terms of numbers until then, but the great number of tourists admittedly also brought some issues with them. This is why once the Japanese borders open to international tourists again, sustainable tourism in Japan will be a hot topic. There are many ways to practice sustainable tourism in Japan, and we’d like to give you some good ideas!

What is Sustainable Tourism?

River rafting in gunma, mountain climbing, hot springs, scuba diving and snorkeling, textile culture, sustainable tourism in the ogasawara islands, sustainable travel to japan, other articles you might be interested in.

Sustainable tourism has to do with several factors. First of all, there is the environmental factor. We all know that flying produces a burden on the environment through CO2 emissions. One thing you can do to offset your CO2 emission is to support programs that plant a tree for a flight you took . Another thing you can do is to travel as eco-friendly as possible once you get to your destination. It is good to take the train while in Japan , which can be fast, economic, and comfortable.

Another pillar of sustainable tourism is making your impact as a visitor a positive one for the local communities you visit. To avoid overcrowding in popular areas, go for hidden gems that are off the beaten tracks but offer a similar experience to the more famous places, and visit highlights during off hours. Bring your my-bottle and not trying to use amenities in hotels are also nice actions. Also, Supporting small local businesses is another way to make a positive impact on your stay. Private guides can help you plan a day in their city doing just that. And lastly, doing low-impact activities such as hiking or cycling also helps keep your ecological footprint small.

Recommended article: 10 Best Sustainable and Eco-friendly Hotels in Tokyo

eco tours japan

One of the most exciting low-impact activities you can do in Japan is white river rafting. Because Japan is very mountainous, there are several areas in Japan where the rivers stream wild enough to offer great rafting opportunities. Not so far from Tokyo in Gunma prefecture , you can find ample places in nature where you can truly take a break from city life. People from all over the area come to Gunma to recharge their batteries with some ‘forest bathing’ and actual onsen bathing afterward. 

A town called Minakami is the best spot to go for rafting in Gunma because of the Tone river that streams right through the village. There are several companies that organize rafting tours, and the best time to go rafting here depends on your expertise level. If you are a beginner, the summer months are best because the flow of the river is slower than during other times of the year. But if you are looking for a bit more action and have experience with rafting, you should go in May or June when water flows generously from the mountains in a stretch of 12km. ▶Book Minakami Half-Day Rafting Adventure

eco tours japan

Hiking is another destination-friendly activity, and luckily there are plenty of amazing hiking opportunities all over Japan. But one of the best areas for great hiking trails would be the Kumano Kodo in Kansai. Having a history as a pilgrimage route, the Kumano Kodo has many important spiritual sites as well, one of the most famous ones being the Nachi no Taki waterfall .

Because there are multiple tracks to choose from, you can go for a one-day hike or challenge yourself to a multi-day trek. One of the best parts about doing overnight hikes is the stay in one of the charming traditional accommodations along the way. And if you are doing one of the more difficult hikes, you will likely have the path to yourself most of the time. A wonderful way to truly get refreshed and away from the crowds!

eco tours japan

Just like hiking, mountain climbing is another low-impact activity that can be a part of a sustainable trip. You need to be a bit more physically fit for this one, so it is good to prepare yourself a bit if you are planning to do some more serious mountaineering in Japan. There are many mountains to choose from, but if you’re only in Japan for a limited time and can choose one mountain to climb, it is going to have to be Mt Fuji . 

You will be surprised by the diversity of people who climb Mt Fuji every year, as it is done by kids from around age 8 as well as senior citizens in their late 70s and everyone in between. Keep in mind that Mt Fuji can only be climbed in-season which runs from early July to mid-September. One other thing you should not forget is that the very best thing about climbing Mt Fuji is to see the sunrise, so it is a good idea to start climbing in the evening, spend the night in a mountain hut, and then wake up early to see the sunrise from the summit.

eco tours japan

Another great way to enjoy Japan’s geography is the natural hot springs, or onsen, that you can find all over the country. If you’re looking for a nice hot spring trip near Tokyo, Hakone is one of the best places to go. Because it is located right next to a very active volcano.

eco tours japan

Watersports are not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Japan, but some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling in the world can be done in Okinawa. Fitting in the sustainable tourism category because of its low impact on the environment and great education about the importance of our oceans it brings diving and snorkeling suit well on anyone’s Japan itinerary. 

Okinawa Main Island’s best place to go is the Blue Cave in Onna, and if you have the chance to visit the other islands as well then Miyakojima and Ishigaki are famous for their amazing underwater world. If you are staying in Honshu, you can find good diving and snorkeling opportunities on the Izu Peninsula and the Izu island group .

eco tours japan

Learning more about artisans and their products when you visit another country helps local communities keep their traditional crafts alive. Japan is home to many beautiful artisanal products such as lacquerware, Japanese pottery , knives , and different kinds of textiles. The small town of Kiryu in Gunma prefecture has a long tradition of making silk fabrics that goes back all the way to the 9th century. The old town has been preserved, and many buildings related to the silk industry can still be seen here today.

Kiryu welcomes tourists and the people here are happy to share their culture and crafts with you. Because it is a few hours away from Tokyo and not on the most famous tourist routes, you won’t see many international tourists here making it a nice off-the-beaten-path destination to learn more about Japan’s old traditions and culture .

eco tours japan

The Ogasawara Islands (also known as the Bonin Islands) used to be a prison but are nothing short of paradise these days. Located around 1000km south of Tokyo, they are considered remote islands . Because ecosystems are fragile on small islands and the government wants to protect the Ogasawara Islands and its unique flora and fauna, there are rules for all visitors to adhere to. When you stick to the rules, you can be sure that your trip has been an eco-friendly one.

Certain areas can only be entered with guides, you can’t take any animal or plant off the island, and animals can be admired from a bit of a distance but can’t be disturbed. For a complete overview of the rules in English, you can check out the Ogasawara rulebook .

Ogasawara Islands

Even though you will likely need to take a long flight to get to Japan, there are many ways to enjoy an eco-friendly Japan trip. People who have enjoyed the joy that nature has to offer, are also more likely to want to adjust their behavior in their daily life to preserve nature. 

Doing private tours with local guides makes your trip sustainable in multiple manners: you are supporting local freelance workers, private guides often make use of public transportation, and they can take you to smaller local businesses for lunch or souvenirs to support the community. Another great advantage is that they can help you get off the beaten path, making a contribution to lessen overcrowding at popular destinations. So don’t hesitate and check out our private tours in Tokyo , Kyoto , Osaka , and other places!

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Happy traveling!

eco tours japan

Stefanie Akkerman moved from the Netherlands to Japan in 2013 with her Japanese husband and son. She jumped into the niche of Dutch tour guiding in Tokyo and Kamakura in 2015 and occasionally writes articles about all the great sights and activities Japan has to offer. She loves (Japanese) food, and to work that all off she goes diving, snorkeling, cycling, or hiking.

This post may contain some affiliate links. When you click through and make a purchase we may receive some commission, at no extra cost to you.

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The Best Eco Tours in Japan

Fukuoka, Japan

Planning your next trip and interested in an extraordinary eco-tour? We have devoted extensive research to explore a variety of ecological, environmental, and nature-focused tours offered by top-rated tour companies, guaranteeing you a remarkable opportunity to immerse yourself in the breathtaking natural wonders of Japan. These eco-conscious tours not only allow you to reconnect with nature and witness awe-inspiring landscapes but also enable you to contribute to the preservation of our environment. With our thorough evaluation of factors including guest reviews, destinations, and activities, you can embark on an exhilarating adventure. Get ready to embark on an eco-tour that will leave you awe-inspired!

  • Journey to the East, featuring Sapporo Snow Festival 8 Days, $4254.07
  • Cherry Blossom & Garden 13 Days, $5913.13
  • Japan Winter Wonder (13 Days) (from Osaka to Tokyo) 13 Days, $4140.00

What are eco tours like in Japan?

Japan

Here are the important factors:

  • 5 trip options analyzed
  • $454 average price per day (USD)
  • 8 to 13 days in length
  • 4.54 of 5 average rating
  • 21 people or less on average

Curious about the diverse range of eco tours? Prepare to be amazed by the array of options available to suit every traveler's preferences. It comes as no surprise that visitors adore these tours, given their exceptional average guest rating of 4.54 out of 5 stars. When it comes to group sizes, the average maximum capacity stands at 21 people, allowing for a comfortable and sociable experience. The shortest tour is 8 days, while the longest is 13 days. With a comprehensive analysis encompassing 5 eco tours, you can rest assured that Japan has something tailored to your interests and preferences, promising an unforgettable experience for all.

(All tour prices are in US Dollars before taxes, and come from a base price that is reported by TourRadar. Peak season prices can vary significantly, particularly in destinations where seasonal travel fluctuates dramatically.)

So, let's get to it and see...

The 5 Best Eco Tours in Japan

Journey to the east, featuring sapporo snow festival.

  • High Quality: guest ratings are higher than average.

This exceptional trip offering by Unique Japan Tours has received a 5 out of 5 rating. On this 8-day voyage you can unwind while also making new memories. Uncover the beauty of 5 destinations on this itinerary, with highlights such as Kushiro, Lake Akan, and Shiretoko National Park. Sapporo will mark the start of your journey, while Abashiri will serve as its final destination. With a group size of 16 people, it's suitable for travelers aged 10 to 90 years old. With an emphasis on local culture and family-friendly activities, you know you'll have an amazing adventure. This remarkable trip is priced at an unbeatable $532 per day.

  • Bird watching
  • In-depth Cultural

Cherry Blossom & Garden

Check out this trip that has received rave reviews, earning a stellar 3.9 out of 5 rating. Traverse through 14 enchanting destinations, with Hiroshima, Miyajima Island, Himeji, and Osaka among the must-see stops along the route. Tokyo marks the starting point, while Osaka stands as the final stop on your incredible journey. Spanning across 13 unforgettable days, this voyage offers an intimate group experience with 32 participants, and it's great for travelers aged 40 to 80 years old. Brought to you by the renowned MW Tours , this exceptional opportunity is priced at an incredible $455 per day - an unbeatable value.

  • Sightseeing

Japan Winter Wonder (13 Days) (from Osaka to Tokyo)

  • Great Value: the daily price is lower than average for eco tours.

This 13-day trip is ideal for travelers aged 18 to 35 years old. And priced at only $318 per day, it's a great value, too. This trip visits 6 destinations, including Hiroshima, Tokyo, Hakone, and Kyoto along the way. Beginning in beautiful Osaka, you'll have a terrific journey that ends in Tokyo. It's offered by Contiki , a very popular company with rave reviews and knowledgeable guides.

  • Ski, Snowboard & Snow

Walk Japan - Kumano Kodo Trail

Priced at just $476 per day, this terrific 12-day voyage is ideal for travelers aged 16 to 85 years old. Experience a trip that takes you to 8 remarkable destinations, including Kumano, Hongucho Hongu, Matsumoto, and Magome. Tokyo will mark the start of your journey, while Osaka will serve as its final destination. Organized by the reputable Explore! , this is one of the best tours on this list.

  • Hiking & Trekking
  • Walking Tour

Japan: Hike, Bike & Kayak

Check out this incredible voyage that has received a 4.6 out of 5 rating from previous guests. With a duration of 12 days, this journey ensures an intimate group size of 12 people, and is good for travelers aged 15 or older. Explore 8 incredible locations on this trip, including Toba, Onomichi, Kyoto, and Shingu. Tokyo marks the starting point, while Osaka stands as the final stop on your incredible journey. This fantastic option, organized by Intrepid Travel , presents an unbeatable value at just $491 per day.

See also The Best Family-Friendly Tours to Japan , The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in Japan , The Best Historical Tours in Japan , The Best 10-Day Tours in Japan , The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in Japan , The Best 2-Week Tours in Japan , The Best Bicycle Tours in Japan , Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in Japan , The Best Christmas & New Years Tours in Japan , The Best Coach Bus Tours in Japan , The Best Adventure Tours to Japan , The Best Train & Rail Tours in Japan , The Best Sightseeing Tours in Japan , The Best Cultural Tours in Japan , The Best Food and Culinary Tours in Japan , The Best Romantic Tours for Couples in Japan , The Best Luxury Tours to Japan , The Best Tours for Seniors to Japan , The Best Contiki Tours to Japan , or The Best G Adventures Tours to Japan for more tour ideas. With so many options, there's a guided tour or vacation package for every type of traveler.

Also, if you're departing from a specific destination, see The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Tokyo , The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Fukuoka , The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Osaka , The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Kyoto , The Best 10-Day Tours from Tokyo , The Best 10-Day Tours from Osaka , The Best 2-Week Tours from Tokyo , The Best 2-Week Tours from Osaka , or The Best 2-Week Tours from Kyoto for more package tour options.

How much do Eco Tours in Japan cost?

After analyzing 5 eco tours in Japan, we found the average price to be a remarkably economical $454 per day. Naturally, this region has many fantastic options for eco tours with a variety of prices. The individual costs will vary by the destinations, travel style, available dates, and other factors. If you're interested in more information about tours here, see our guide to tour prices in Japan .

And for more information on Japan, see Japan Travel Costs and Japan Hotel Costs .

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Five eco-friendly travel destinations in Japan

eco tours japan

Japan’s rich culture and beautiful landscapes have attracted many tourists. In recent years, more and more regions have been focusing on sustainability initiatives, and more than ten regions have been selected as one of the Top 100 Green Destinations every year. The following regions are particularly advanced in their efforts, and you will be able to experience Japan’s unique approach to sustainability while contributing to conservation efforts.

Shirakawago – World Heritage Site

Shirakawago

In recent years, Shirakawa-go has become very popular, attracting as many as 2.15 million tourists, causing traffic congestion and other problems. Therefore, the entire community has taken measures such as properly managing parking lots and establishing a reservation and lottery system for the “Shirakawa-go Light-up” event. Shirakawa-go is a unique place where visitors can learn about and enjoy life in the past while being in the present.

Izu peninsula – Promoting natural energy and energy conservation

Izu

Kamaishi City – Renewable energy and waste reduction

eco tours japan

Kamaishi City in Iwate Prefecture is known for its beautiful coastline. Located in the Sanriku Fukko National Park, which stretches along the Pacific coast, Kamaishi is home to pristine natural scenery, islands inhabited by rare seabirds, and many large animals such as Japanese serows and Japanese monkeys.

Kamaishi has been named one of the Top 100 Sustainable Travel Destinations for five consecutive years, starting in 2018, for its renewable energy and waste reduction efforts. To experience the natural beauty of the national park, visitors can take the Michinoku Shiokaze Trail, the longest in Japan at over 1,000 km, which spans four prefectures along the coast of Kamaishi City. The trail is operated in accordance with the “Michinoku Shiokaze Trail Charter,” which emphasizes not only the spectacular scenery but also interaction with local residents, the blessings of nature, and a way of life that coexists with nature, history, and culture.

Niseko – Proactive fight against climate change

Niseko

Niseko is a ski resort in Hokkaido known worldwide for its unique powder snow, created by northwest winds from Siberia that blow moisture from the Sea of Japan up into the Niseko mountains and bring heavy snowfall. This powder snow is loved by skiers and snowboarders worldwide because of its overwhelming floating sensation. However, rising temperatures, reduced snowfall, and changes in snow quality caused by climate change can affect the tourism industry and agriculture, posing a direct challenge to the local economy.

For this reason, the town of Niseko has been proactively working to combat climate change, including being designated as an “Environmental Model City” by the government. In July of this year, the town announced its goal of “zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050,” leading the nation in this effort. Niseko aims to become an “International Environmental Resort City” that preserves the region’s rich natural environment for future generations.

Aso City – Grassland conservation

Aso

Besides that, the traditional Aso lodging method of “Kusadomari” was revived. The Kusadomari huts are 100% biodegradable and sustainable, and the fees earned by tourists staying and experiencing life in the grasslands can be successfully used as funds for grassland conservation. In addition, six environmentally friendly lodging facilities have been renovated to allow visitors to stay longer. Furthermore, small buses are operated in tourist areas to discourage the use of private vehicles.

Eco-friendly tourism makes you more happy

Today, we shared some ideas for eco-friendly travel destinations. However, there are many other ways to make your travels more sustainable like staying at a sustainable hotel or joining an eco-tour. Take some time to explore sustainable options and find one that works for you! You can still have a great time while being mindful of the environment.

More on sustainable travels in Japan

  • 2024-02-21: Recognizing destinations for diversity in Japan Travel Awards 2024
  • 2024-01-30: Sustainable lifestyles thriving in Japan's snowy regions
  • 2024-01-17: All about vegan sake and its trend in Japan
  • 2024-01-09: 10 best forest bathing locations in Japan and their enchanting benefits
  • 2023-12-28: Japan's 12 wellness destinations for body and soul (2023)

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eco tours japan

Mizuki Kawashukuda

Mizuki is a student studying communication and media science in Budapest. Her mission is to build a caring society. She likes outdooring, running, cooking, photography.

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2021.02 Sustainable Tourism in Rural Kyoto—Country Life, Farm Stays, and the Growing Ecotourism Scene

Experience the kyoto countryside—from farm stays, ecotourism experiences, and locavore living, to pottery and seaside excursions..

Kyoto is famous for its temples and shrines, and a popular destination for many visitors to Japan. Many, however, don’t make it out to the Kyoto countryside, which offers authentic experiences and the opportunity to connect on a deeper level with Japan.

Kyoto Prefecture borders Nara and Osaka in the south and stretches north to the Sea of Japan. From sleepy fishing villages and coastal hamlets to rolling rice fields and mountain farming communities, both the landscapes and lifestyles are varied.

Experience sustainable living and local culture in the Kyoto countryside

Much of rural Kyoto remains untouched by time.

Much of rural Kyoto remains untouched by time. Photo credit: Furumaya House

Kyoto has a long heritage of farming, supported by its fertile soils and abundance of water. Vegetables grown in the prefecture, referred to collectively as Kyoyasai, have garnered luxury-brand status and are used by top chefs around the world. Kyoyasai include heirloom vegetables such as Kyomizuna (Japanese mustard greens), Kamonasu (small-rounded eggplants), and Kujonegi (sweet, juicy green onions). Certain varieties have been grown for centuries.

Harvesting vegetables as part of a farm-stay experience.

Harvesting vegetables as part of a farm-stay experience. Photo credit: Furumaya House

Fukuchiyama and Kameoka, in the northern and central parts of Kyoto Prefecture, are major Kyo-yasai growing areas. They have become popular ecotourism destinations offering a variety of farm-stay experiences that allow visitors to connect with the Kyoto countryside and traditional Japanese culture. Guests can stay at a traditional Japanese home in a farming village and harvest seasonal vegetables with the host. They can also learn how to make home-cooked Japanese meals and experience firsthand the sustainable lifestyles of rural Japanese communities.

Locavore life and local cuisine in a rustic farming village deep in the Kyoto mountains

Get back in touch with nature at Furumaya House, a beautifully restored farmhouse more than 200 years old.

Get back in touch with nature at Furumaya House, a beautifully restored farmhouse more than 200 years old. Photo credit: Furumaya House

Furumaya House is a farmhouse from the Edo period (1603–1867) in a secluded part of western Kyoto that offers a taste of rural life and sustainable living. It is owned by Sayaka Sawada and her husband, Nicolas. They have restored the farmhouse, retaining its original character and key features, and welcome guests to stay and experience green living in the Kyoto countryside.

Sayaka and Nicolas offer a warm welcome in English, French, or Japanese.

Sayaka and Nicolas offer a warm welcome in English, French, or Japanese. Photo credit: Furumaya House

Sayaka and Nicolas did much of the work themselves, keeping the original beams and restoring the woodwork throughout the house. They strengthened the foundations with concrete and covered the thatched roof with protective, metal roofing sheets. The couple salvaged as much of the original furniture as they could and added modern comforts such as a wood-burning stove.

The dining room, beautifully restored and heated by a wood-burning stove.

The dining room, beautifully restored and heated by a wood-burning stove. Photo credit: Furumaya House

Guests who stay at the Furumaya House can harvest homegrown vegetables and take cooking lessons. Nicolas is a keen gardener and keeps a thriving vegetable garden in a field next to the farmhouse. Sayaka offers the cooking lessons. She teaches guests how to make homecooked Japanese meals, making use of fresh vegetables from the garden. Dishes include kinpira gobo (simmered burdock) and goma-ae (green vegetables seasoned with soy sauce and sesame seeds). Sayaka carefully explains the seasonings and introduces the basics of Japanese cooking so that guests can continue to explore Japanese food when they return home.

Farm-to-table dining at the farmhouse.

Farm-to-table dining at the farmhouse. Photo credit: Furumaya House

Before opening Furumaya House, Sayaka had worked for a large overseas-operated firm and had an international circle of friends. She enjoyed hosting dinner parties and teaching friends how to make typical Japanese dishes and recalls that it was through food that she was able to make new bonds and friendships. These experiences formed part of her decision to open Furumaya House.

Sayaka remarks, “Living here is tough. The winters are cold and summers hot, but that’s part of the fun. In winter, we warm ourselves beside the wood-burning stove, and in summer we try to rely on the natural breeze to keep cool rather than air conditioning. We want to live as much as possible without harming nature.” Sayaka and Nicolas hope that staying at the farmhouse will inspire guests to reconnect with nature and enjoy sustainable living.

Guests can experience chopping wood with an ax

Guests can experience chopping wood with an ax. Photo credit: Furumaya House

Furumaya House is located in Miwa-cho, in the Kawai district of Fukuchiyama, approximately 75 km (46.6 mi) northwest from the downtown area of Kyoto City. Its facilities include two guestrooms, a tatami-floored lounge, spacious dining room, and a large bath and shower room with a sunken bath tub. The closest train station is Ayabe, which is roughly 70 minutes by limited express from JR Kyoto Station. With advanced notice, Sayaka and Nicolas will greet you at the station and bring you to the house.

Furumaya House with its distinctive roof (center).

Furumaya House with its distinctive roof (center). Photo credit: Furumaya House

Stay in one of Kyoto’s main rice-farming regions and learn how to cook rice the traditional way

Mr. and Mrs. Toyoda stand in front of their farmhouse, Farmhouse NaNa.

Mr. and Mrs. Toyoda stand in front of their farmhouse, Farmhouse NaNa. Photo credit: Farmhouse NaNa

Experience life in a traditional Japanese home at Farmhouse NaNa in Hozu, a rice-producing area in the eastern part of Kameoka City. Kameoka is only about 20 minutes by rapid train from JR Kyoto Station, but much of the city is farmland and mountains. The area is particularly well-known as a Kyoyasai-producing region.

Farmhouse NaNa is run by Sachiko Toyoda and her husband. The property is surrounded by farmland and rice fields, and its environs are ideal for walking and cycling.  

Guests can rent a bicycle at the inn and explore the area. Photo credit: Farmhouse NaNa

Guests can rent a bicycle at the inn and explore the area. Photo credit: Farmhouse NaNa

The Toyodas rent out the first floor of their tiled-roof home for guests wanting to experience life in a traditional home. Inside, the house has cedar pillars, clay walls, tatami mats, and sliding shoji doors (Japanese partitions with paper sheets on the frame).

Sleeping on futons laid out on tatami mats is a quintessential Japan experience.

Sleeping on futons laid out on tatami mats is a quintessential Japan experience. Photo credit: Farmhouse NaNa

The Toyodas have vegetable gardens, where they grow green onions and Chinese cabbages in winter, and green peas and strawberries in spring. Sachiko also keeps bees and chickens, and makes her own miso (fermented bean paste). Guests can harvest vegetables from the garden, experience bee keeping, try making miso, and help with the chickens. Guests can also try building a fire with firewood to cook rice in an old-fashioned cooking stove called a kamado.

Getting the fire going to cook rice using the kamado.

Getting the fire going to cook rice using the kamado. Photo credit: Farmhouse NaNa

Sachiko says, “During their stay, I hope my guests will enjoy experiencing Japanese culture and life in a traditional Japanese home.” As well as offering farming experiences, the Toyodas can also dress guests in a kimono and conduct a tea ceremony. Though Sachiko says she’s not great at English, her naturally cheerful character means she doesn’t have trouble communicating. Also, her daughter speaks English well and is on hand to help. The Toyodas welcome guests like a member of the family and hope they will enjoy the Japanese countryside-stay experience.

Guests can try wearing a kimono

Guests can try wearing a kimono. Photo credit: Farmhouse NaNa

Make pottery deep in the mountains or savor seafood in a fishing village

Making a raku chawan is a special experience unique to Kyoto, the home of Japanese tea culture.

Making a raku chawan is a special experience unique to Kyoto, the home of Japanese tea culture. Photo credit: Shoraku

Many enjoyable experiences are offered in the Kyoto countryside. About 20 min. by car from Farmhouse NaNa in Kameoka is Shoraku, a pottery studio where visitors can make a raku-chawan tea bowl. On the Tango Peninsula, an hour by car north of Furumaya House in Fukuchiyama, visitors can can enjoy fresh seafood from the Sea of Japan.

Pottery imbued with Zen ideology

Make pottery at Shoraku, an atmospheric pottery studio and kiln in the Kyoto mountains.

Make pottery at Shoraku, an atmospheric pottery studio and kiln in the Kyoto mountains. Photo credit: Shoraku

Visiting Shoraku, deep in the Kyoto mountains, is an experience in itself. Here, esteemed raku chawan artist Kyoshitsu Sasaki teaches pottery. He has conducted pottery workshops around the world including in Paris and Amsterdam. At Shoraku, he gives private lessons to one group per day in a workshop where you can hear only the chirping of birds amid the quiet of the mountains.

A black raku chawan is the embodiment of beauty in simplicity.

A black raku chawan is the embodiment of beauty in simplicity. Photo credit: Shoraku

The raku chawan is a type of tea bowl specifically for the tea ceremony, designed by legendary tea master Sen no Rikyu approximately 400 years ago. Raku chawan come in different finishes but the black raku chawan is prized for its simple, black finish achieved through the application of a glaze that is made utilizing black stones from the Kamo River in Kyoto. The black raku chawan embodies the Zen concept of finding spiritual fulfillment in simplicity.

Mr. Sasaki runs Shoraku, continuing the tradition of raku chawan.

Mr. Sasaki runs Shoraku, continuing the tradition of raku chawan. Photo credit: Shoraku

Mr. Sasaki offers two pottery workshops, leading both in Japanese. He can organize an interpreter for visitors, however, if instruction in English, French, or Spanish is required.

Visitors learn about the tea ceremony in a tearoom adjoining the pottery studio.

Visitors learn about the tea ceremony in a tearoom adjoining the pottery studio. Photo credit: Shoraku

The Hand-Molding and Chiseling Black Raku Chawan workshop is ideal for beginners. Participants knead and shape about 800 g (1.76 lbs.) of clay into a tea bowl. After it dries for approximately an hour, a chisel called a kanna is used to sculpt it into the desired shape and weight. While waiting for it to dry, participants drink tea and learn the about the tea ceremony.

A raku chawan being made

A raku chawan being made. Photo credit: Shoraku

Sasaki explains that raku chawan are shaped by hand without an electric potter’s wheel, “Because the teacup is a tool held in the hand, and it should be created with attention to its weight and how it fits in the hand. That is the basis of Sen no Rikyu’s teachings.” The raku chawan is a special tool for the tea ceremony and has a tradition of only being made to order.

Several types of kanna are used to chisel the exterior and interior.

Several types of kanna are used to chisel the exterior and interior. Photo credit: Shoraku

He also explains that when chiseling the interior of a raku-chawan tea bowl, it is necessary to sculpt the clay in three stages—the upper portion, middle portion, and lower portion. Visitors to Shoraku can learn much about raku chawan pottery, the tea ceremony, and Zen teachings. 

The tea bowl is fired at a high temperature for a short period of time, so that the inside of the bowl is only partially

The tea bowl is fired at a high temperature for a short period of time, so that the inside of the bowl is only partially fired. This prevents the outside of the cup from becoming too hot when tea is poured into it. Photo credit: Shoraku

The tea bowls that visitors make are fired by expert potters at a later date, usually one to one-and-a-half months later. The fired raku chawan can be shipped overseas when it is ready.

Savor fresh seafood at a fishing village on the Tango Peninsula

Taiza is a sleepy fishing village on the Tango Peninsula.

Taiza is a sleepy fishing village on the Tango Peninsula. Photo credit: Hisami

A thriving fishing industry operates throughout the Tango Peninsula, in northern Kyoto on the Sea of Japan coast. Taiza Port, near the tip of the peninsula, is a small port that lands big catches of a wide variety of seafood year-round. Visitors to Taiza can enjoy fresh seafood close to the port at Hisami, a local restaurant with an English menu.

Hisami is a mere 10-minute walk from Taiza Port.

Hisami is a mere 10-minute walk from Taiza Port. Photo credit: Hisami

The most popular dish at Hisami is the Kyo-kasisendon seafood bowl. Rice is topped with cuts of seafood, usually more than seven varieties, which vary depending on the daily catch. In winter, the seafood bowl usually includes fatty yellowtail, tuna, melt-in-the-mouth northern shrimp, and firm Bigfin reef squid.

The Kyo-kaisendon, a colorful assortment of seafood served atop rice.

The Kyo-kaisendon, a colorful assortment of seafood served atop rice. Photo credit: Hisami

Usually, diners season the seafood bowl with a little soy sauce. Hisami creates its own house seasoning that uses soysauce, ground sesame, sake, and mirin (a sweet sake for cooking). Tatsuru Imade is the owner and chef. He says, “We modify the way we cut the fish and the thickness so that the sauce clings well to each piece.” 

Fish being pickled in rice bran.

Fish being picked in rice bran. Photo credit: Hisami

The restaurant also serves heshiko, a local dish from the Tango region. Heshiko is a fermented food. Fish such as mackerel is pickled in salt, then pickled in rice bran and aged. Normally, the aging process takes six months to a year, but Imade ages it for a shorter period to give it a lighter, less over-powering flavor. At Hisami, the lightly aged fish is grilled until tender, and served with rice and miso soup. Next to the restaurant there is a workshop that pickles and sells nukazuke (foods pickled in rice bran that are fermented and aged) products such as heshiko.  

Taiza crab—Snow crab landed at Taiza Port is a delicacy.

Taiza crab—Snow crab landed at Taiza Port is a delicacy. Photo credit:Hisami

The fishing season for snow crab in the waters around Taiza Port is from November 6 to March 20. During the season, Hisami serves a Taiza crab course meal (reservation required). “Fishing for Taiza crab is a one-day operation, so it’s landed the very same day it is caught and is extremely fresh,” says Imade. If visiting in season, be sure to try Taiza crab.

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Eco, Accessible, and Cultural: Winners of the Japan Travel Awards 2024

Showcasing Excellence in Sustainability, Inclusivity, and Cultural Preservation

Japan Travel Awards 2024

Japan, a premier global tourism destination, is on a journey toward embracing sustainability and inclusivity within its vibrant tourism industry. Despite its fame, the country recognizes the need for progress in these areas.

Across Japan, from municipalities to landmarks and businesses, efforts are underway to enhance travel experiences, making them more inclusive and environmentally friendly.

The “Japan Travel Awards” stands as a testament to these endeavors, spotlighting those leading the charge. This article will delve into the stories of the 10 lauded recipients of the Japan Travel Awards 2024, each a pioneer in their right, paving the way for a more sustainable and inclusive future in Japanese tourism.

What are the Japan Travel Awards?

Japan Travel Awards 2024

The Japan Travel Awards are designed to recognize and celebrate the impact of tourism in creating a better society. These awards focus on destinations throughout Japan that excel in promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, sustainability, and exceptional experiences for visitors.

The competition includes categories for Most Accessible Travel, Best LGBTQ+ Friendly Travel, Best Sustainable Travel, Best Inbound Travel, a Grand Prix, and Special Recognition Awards.

Now in its third iteration, the awards are open to a wide array of participants including municipalities, cultural landmarks, leisure facilities, and businesses that contribute to memorable travel experiences.

The initiative aims to highlight innovative and impactful concepts within the tourism sector, encouraging a broad spectrum of entries from across the industry. This approach demonstrates a commitment to fostering an inclusive and diverse travel industry, showcasing destinations that offer more than just sightseeing, but truly remarkable travel experiences.

▶Japan Travel Awards Official Website: https://japantravelawards.com/

Japan Travel Awards 2024 Winners

From here, I will introduce the Japan Travel Awards 2024 winners. This iteration had 163 entries, 18 finalists, and 10 winners. Here are the 10 winners!

Zerogravity (2024 Grand Prix)

ZEROGRAVITY

Zerogravity (ゼログラヴィティ) , situated in Amami Oshima, Kagoshima, emerged as the Grand Prix winner of the 2024 Japan Travel Awards, marking a significant milestone in the realm of accessible travel.

Founded over 25 years ago, the inspiration for Zerogravity was born from the founder’s experience of feeling weightless while diving around Hachijo Island. This sensation sparked the desire to create an environment where individuals with disabilities could safely and confidently enjoy marine activities.

In the spring of 2016, Zerogravity realized this vision by establishing a barrier-free facility in Setouchi Town, enabling wheelchair users to partake in marine activities like diving, whale watching, and snorkeling, amidst Amami Oshima’s majestic natural setting. Over time, with community support, Zerogravity has expanded its offerings to embrace all visitors, allowing everyone to experience the island’s splendor.

Zerogravity was awarded the prestigious title for its unwavering commitment to inclusivity in marine sports, creating an environment where individuals, regardless of physical abilities, can enjoy marine activities alongside their loved ones. The facility’s attention to detail, from accessible accommodation and boats to barrier-free pools, embodies the core values of the Japan Travel Awards.

▶Official website: https://zerogravity.jp/

Naniwa Issu (Best Accessible Travel & Best Accommodation)

NANIWA ISSUI

Naniwa Issu (なにわ一水) , a traditional Japanese inn located in Matsue, Shimane, stands as a beacon of accessibility and universal design in the hospitality industry.

Since its founding in 1918, this ryokan has undergone significant renovations, most recently in December 2021 and February 2023, to enhance its offerings. Out of 23 rooms, 20 boast either open-air or panoramic baths with views of Shinji Lake, and notably, 10 rooms are specifically designed to be barrier-free, embracing universal design principles. This commitment ensures that all guests, regardless of physical abilities, can enjoy a comfortable and enriching stay, surrounded by the serene beauty of Shinji Lake.

Naniwa Issu’s dedication to breaking down physical, social, and dietary barriers earned it the “Best Accessible Travel” award as well as the “Best Accommodation” award at the Japan Travel Awards 2024. The ryokan’s ongoing improvements and attention to detail in accessibility have set a new standard in the industry, reflecting a broader commitment to making travel easy and enjoyable for everyone. This ethos, coupled with its accolades such as the IAUD International Design Award 2020, showcases Naniwa Issu’s role as a pioneering force in universal tourism.

▶Official website: http://www.naniwa-i.com/en/

Hotel Palm Royal Naha (Best LGBTQ+ Travel)

HOTEL PALM ROYAL NAHA

Hotel Palm Royal Naha (ホテルパームロイヤルNAHA国際通り) , located in Naha, Okinawa, offers a unique stay near International Street, blending cultural richness with modern luxury.

The hotel stands out for its art museum ambiance, featuring a wide array of Asian antiques and European modern art. It is dedicated to delivering exceptional Ryukyu hospitality, ensuring every guest experiences relaxation and comfort through luxurious amenities, including high-quality linens and tranquil spaces like an outdoor pool and art galleries.

Awarded the “Best LGBTQ+ Travel” at the Japan Travel Awards 2024, Hotel Palm Royal Naha is celebrated for its unwavering commitment to inclusivity and diversity. As the first LGBTQ+ friendly hotel in Kyushu and Okinawa, it has been a frontrunner in promoting LGBTQ+ awareness since 2014, visibly supporting the community through rainbow flags, gender-neutral restrooms, and active participation in LGBTQ+ events.

This hotel sets a significant precedent in the tourism sector, demonstrating the powerful impact of combining diversity with travel.

▶Official website: https://palmroyal.co.jp/

Okinawa Diving Service Lagoon (Best Sustainable Travel)

OKINAWA DIVING SERVICE LAGOON

Okinawa Diving Service Lagoon (沖縄ダイビングサービス Lagoon) , situated in the picturesque Manza area of Onna Village, Okinawa, is a leading resort known for its dedication to coral conservation alongside offering snorkeling, trial diving, and fun diving experiences.

Since its opening in March 2013, Lagoon has committed to providing guests with memorable and enjoyable diving experiences in unique locations, emphasizing safety, fun, and personalized attention in small groups. The beauty of Okinawa’s natural marine life, coupled with the joy of diving, offers guests healing and enlightenment, underscoring the importance of coexisting with nature and embracing environmental responsibility.

Awarded the “Best Sustainable Travel” prize in the Japan Travel Awards 2024, Lagoon is celebrated for its engaging coral conservation program, where participants learn about corals before planting their coral seedlings. This initiative allows even those new to sustainable activities to enjoy and contribute to environmental preservation.

It’s an attractive, responsible tourism experience that educates, entertains, and fosters a deeper appreciation for marine conservation, setting a benchmark for responsible engagement with the natural world.

▶Official website: https://www.lagoon-diving.com/

Temple Stay Kakurinbo (Best Inbound Travel)

TEMPLE STAY KAKURINBO

Temple Stay Kakurinbo (宿坊覚林坊) , located in Minobu, Yamanashi, is a temple inn with a rich history of about 550 years, nestled within the sacred grounds of Minobusan Kuonji, a significant site for the Nichiren sect of Buddhism.

Founded by the 11th head priest, Kakurinbo is known for venerating Nitcho Shonin (日朝上人) and offering protection for eye diseases and academic endeavors. The inn boasts a serene Japanese garden crafted by the dream-seeking monk, offering guests a peaceful retreat amidst the temple’s tranquility.

Awarded the “Best Inbound Travel” at the Japan Travel Awards 2024, Kakurinbo stands out for its innovative approach to making the traditional shukubo experience accessible and enjoyable for international visitors. The inn’s success lies in its multilingual services, diverse cultural programs, and inclusive dining options catering to various dietary needs, including halal.

Kakurinbo has skillfully combined the essence of a temple stay with modern hospitality, ensuring a memorable and enriching experience for travelers from all backgrounds, demonstrating exemplary creativity in welcoming foreign visitors while preserving the integrity of the local culture.

▶Official website: https://kakurinbo.jp/english/

Special recognition awards

From here, I will introduce the five winners of the special recognition awards.

Ama Hut Satoumian (Best Cultural Travel)

AMA HUT SATOUMIAN

Ama Hut Satoumian (海女小屋体験施設さとうみ庵) , located in Shima, Mie, offers an immersive cultural dining experience where guests can savor fresh seafood caught by ama divers (海女) while hearing their stories.

These divers, known for their traditional freediving practices, gather in huts to rest and warm up, sharing meals and conversations around a central hearth. Satoumian invites visitors to partake in this unique aspect of Japanese heritage, offering fresh delicacies like Ise-ebi lobster and abalone, enjoyed in the authentic atmosphere of an ama hut.

Recognized with the “Best Cultural Travel” Special Recognition Award, Ama Hut Satoumian is lauded for providing a unique tourist experience that not only allows for meaningful interactions with ama divers but also supports them with supplementary income.

This initiative significantly contributes to the preservation of the ama divers’ cultural heritage, ensuring the survival and appreciation of this unique aspect of Japanese coastal life.

▶Official website: https://satoumian.com/en

Mori No Kuni Valley (Best Family Travel)

MORI NO KUNI VALLEY

Mori no Kuni Valley (森の国 Valley) in Matsuno, Ehime, situated by the Shimanto River, renowned as Japan’s last clear stream, is a community that cherishes a life in harmony with nature.

Guided by the philosophy of engaging with and learning from the forest, this initiative promotes sustainable living through the natural world’s innate forces. It aims to foster a balance where humans and nature coexist, offering a retreat for all to return to nature.

Recognized with the “Best Family Travel” Special Recognition, Mori no Kuni Valley provides an ideal setting for family-friendly stays, enriched with activities that inspire contemplation on living sustainably with nature. It excels in offering experiences that disconnect families from digital distractions and reconnect them with the natural world.

Through its accommodations, diverse activities, and children’s camps, Mori no Kuni Valley stands as a testament to the importance of nurturing a harmonious relationship with our environment, offering invaluable lessons for both children and adults.

▶Official website: https://morino-kuni.com/en/

INOW (Best Transformative Travel)

INOW

INOW (いのう) , awarded the “Best Transformative Travel” Special Recognition, offers an immersive experience in Kamikatsu, Tokushima, Japan’s renowned Zero Waste Village.

The program, named after the local dialect for “let’s go home,” invites guests to integrate into the community, living alongside locals to discover a sense of belonging and explore sustainable living practices through hands-on learning and introspection.

This transformative journey into Japan’s pioneering zero-waste movement not only educates participants about environmental sustainability but also encourages deep self-reflection. By engaging directly with the residents and businesses of Kamikatsu, travelers gain insights into effective waste reduction strategies and the lifestyle changes necessary to combat climate change.

INOW stands out for its educational and community-driven approach, providing a bridge between visitors and the local culture, ultimately inspiring participants to find their place in the world where they can thrive sustainably. Through this program, visitors leave with actionable knowledge to make their everyday lives more eco-friendly and meaningful.

▶Official website: https://inowkamikatsu.com/

Tautasya (Best Transformative Travel)

TAUTASYA

Tautasya (田歌舎) , situated in the idyllic setting of Miyama, Kyoto, embodies the essence of sustainable living within Japan’s picturesque landscapes. This eco-village, recognized for its self-sufficient lifestyle, combines accommodation, a restaurant, outdoor experiences, and a commitment to traditional agriculture and hunting practices.

It leverages the bounty of its surroundings to cultivate a wide array of crops without chemical fertilizers and sustainably manages local wildlife, offering a direct farm-to-table experience. The entire village, built through self-constructed wooden buildings and powered by natural springs, showcases a deep respect for nature.

Awarded the “Best Transformative Travel” Special Recognition, Tautasya’s holistic approach to living in harmony with the environment offers a profound learning experience. It is celebrated for providing a deep dive into the practices of coexistence with nature and animals, inviting travelers to engage in a lifestyle that’s both enriching and sustainable.

Tautasya stands as a testament to the importance of regenerative practices, ensuring the preservation and rejuvenation of nature for future generations, making it a truly transformative destination.

▶Official website: https://tautasya.jp/

Togakushi Universal Tourism Desk (Best Destination Development)

TOGAKUSHI UNIVERSAL TOURISM DESK

The Togakushi Universal Tourism Desk (戸隠ユニバーサルツーリズムデスク) , a pivotal component of the Togakushi Tourism Association in Nagano, has been instrumental in transforming Togakushi into an accessible destination for all.

By focusing on inclusive tourism, the desk ensures that everyone, including those needing mobility assistance, can explore the rich natural and historical heritage of this ancient pilgrim site without barriers. Offering outdoor wheelchairs and the innovative JINRIKI towing device, the desk enables visitors to engage in activities like trekking, camping, and skiing, which were previously inaccessible to many.

Awarded the “Best Destination Development” Special Recognition, Togakushi’s approach to accessibility has been lauded for allowing travelers with disabilities to enjoy its scenic trails and sacred sites alongside family and friends. This achievement highlights the desk’s success in preserving the beauty and integrity of Togakushi’s natural and historical sites while promoting equality and inclusivity in tourism.

With dedicated Universal Field Concierges, who are knowledgeable about the area’s natural and historical aspects and are wheelchair users themselves, Togakushi stands as a model for developing accessible tourism destinations.

▶Official website: https://togakushi-21.jp/en/

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For more information about traveling in Japan, be sure to check out the following articles!

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  2. Japan’s Best Ecotourism Destinations We Can’t Wait to Visit

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  3. Eco-friendly Destinations and Sustainable Tourism in Japan

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  4. Eco Tourism in Rural Japan at Yamakoshi Village

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  5. Eco Tours Japan

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  6. Eco-friendly Destinations and Sustainable Tourism in Japan

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COMMENTS

  1. THE 10 BEST Japan Eco Tours (Updated 2024)

    2.0 of 5 bubbles. & up. Osaka / Kyoto private charter car one day tour English speaking driver. Arakurayama Sengen Park. Oshino Hakkai. Saiko Iyashi no Sato Nemba. Top Japan Eco Tours: See reviews and photos of Eco Tours in Japan, Asia on Tripadvisor.

  2. Eco Tours Japan

    Eco Tours Japan is an English speaking customized private guide service founded in Yamanashi Japan. Since the inception of our vision, our goal has been to offer our clients an original first class authentic rural Japan tour in Yamanashi & Mt. Fuji area within a framework of environmentally friendly tourism. With our unique insight for the ...

  3. THE TOP 10 Japan Eco Tours (UPDATED 2024)

    The best Eco Tours in Japan according to Viator travelers are: Private Walking Tour in Bamboo Forest & Hidden Spots in Arashiyama. Easygoing Nature Walk in Hakone Tour. Farming Experience in a Beautiful Rural Village in Nara. Oshino Hakkai and Hot Spring Trip From Tokyo to Mt. Fuji.

  4. MOST Eco-friendly Tours & Trip Packages in Japan 2024/2025

    Japan Eco Tours 2024/2025. The best eco tours in Japan. Below you will see 150 eco tours through Japan that are all carbon offset. Bookmundi offsets the CO2 footprint on behalf of all the multiday tour companies that we work in Japan by amongst others investing in wind, solar and tree planting projects around the world.

  5. THE 10 BEST Japan Eco Tours (Updated 2023)

    1. Yakusugi Cedar Forest Walking Tour on Yakushima Island. 1. Eco Tours. 6 hours. Yakusugi is the Japanese cedar on the island of Yakushima. On this tour, enjoy walking in the ancient cedar forests of Yakushima…. Taking safety measures. Free cancellation.

  6. Sustainable Travel & Ecotourism in Japan

    Support ecotourism in Japan by taking a tour that encourages wildlife conservation rather than animal exploitation. The northern island of Hokkaido is a birdwatcher's paradise, especially in the winter. See elegant red-crowned cranes perform their courtship dances in the snow and Steller's sea eagles resting on drift ice.

  7. Discover Japans hidden nature and culture!

    2 Day, 1 Night Hiking or Walking Tour in Yamanashi. Tour Includes: -2 Day Private Customized Hiking or Walking Tour. -Professional English Speaking Guide Service. -Meals: 1st day Lunch, 2nd day Lunch. Price: ¥ 55,000. book now.

  8. Eco Tours Japan

    Eco Tours Japan is now offering authentic private and customized eco tours based out of our rural location in the mountains overlooking Kofu Yamanashi. Kofu is only 90 minutes from Tokyo and is easy accessed by train or bus. Kofu is the capital of Yamanashi Prefecture. The city lies in the Kofu Basin surrounded by mountains: The Minami Alps ...

  9. Explore Diverse Ecosystems

    Explore Diverse Ecosystems. Japan was pulled, compressed and contorted in the last ice age, creating a complex patchwork of geographical habitats and diverse ecosystems. Today, travelers will find fascinating animals such as the Japanese macaque, Blakiston's fish owl and Ussuri brown bear, along with beautiful plant species, such as wild ...

  10. THE 10 BEST Japan Eco Tours (with Photos)

    Top Japan Eco Tours: See reviews and photos of Eco Tours in Japan, Asia on Tripadvisor.

  11. Exploring Japan Sustainably: Best Eco-Friendly Travel Options

    Japan's efficient and extensive railway network, including the famous Shinkansen (bullet train), is one of the most eco-friendly and convenient ways to travel throughout the country. With an impeccable safety record and punctuality, train travel in Japan not only reduces individual carbon footprints but also offers a comfortable and enjoyable ...

  12. Japan's Best Ecotourism Destinations We Can't Wait to Visit

    Mount Fuji. Forget the ecotourism qualifier - Mount Fuji is one of Japan's best destinations, period. At 3,776m (12,389ft), Japan's tallest mountain can be spotted from Tokyo on a clear day, but the views are much more impressive up close. Head to the Fuji Five Lake (Fujigoko) region north of the mountain or the Hakone hot spring resort ...

  13. Eco-friendly Destinations and Sustainable Tourism in Japan

    One thing you can do to offset your CO2 emission is to support programs that plant a tree for a flight you took. Another thing you can do is to travel as eco-friendly as possible once you get to your destination. It is good to take the train while in Japan, which can be fast, economic, and comfortable. Another pillar of sustainable tourism is ...

  14. Travel Sustainably by Visiting One of Japan's Green Destinations

    Now add eco-friendly travel to the list of reasons to visit. In 2020, six of Japan's localities were selected as Green Destination's top 100 Destination Sustainability Stories. Whether it's introducing renewable energy sources or offering shared transport services, the continued eco efforts of Kamaishi, Kyoto City, Miura Peninsula, Niseko ...

  15. The Best Eco Tours in Japan

    After analyzing 4 eco tours in Japan, we found the average price to be a remarkably economical $437 per day. Naturally, this region has many fantastic options for eco tours with a variety of prices. The individual costs will vary by the destinations, travel style, available dates, and other factors.

  16. All about Ecotourism in Japan

    Eco-tourism has officially existed in Japan for at least the last two decades and has seen the formation of the Japan Ecotourism Society in 1998, which has close links to The International Ecotourism Society ( TIES ), the largest and oldest global ecotourism association. Japan has often been associated with modernisation and technology and ...

  17. Leading Sustainable Destinations in Japan

    Leading Sustainable Destinations in Japan Green Destinations "Top 100 Destination Sustainability Stories" Green Destinations, the world's leading destinations' network for responsible tourism, selects regions that meet its core criteria and have advanced sustainability stories through a panel of experts each year.

  18. Five eco-friendly travel destinations in Japan

    The Energy Policy Division of Shizuoka Prefecture promotes the Izu Peninsula as an eco-friendly tourist destination called the "Izu Peninsula Eco Resort.". They encourage the use of electric vehicles (EVs) and EV rentals, have provided EV wagons for hotel shuttle services, and assisted taxi companies in introducing EV taxis.

  19. Sustainable

    Embracing sustainable travel in Japan brings you at one with the country. Gain matchless insights into cherished local customs through unbreakable bonds with nature. We hope these authentic experiences with the environment, culture and community will inspire a world of new travel ideas. A globally unrivalled choice of sustainable travel and a ...

  20. Sustainable Tourism in Rural Kyoto—Country Life, Farm ...

    Share your travel photos with us by hashtagging your images with #visitjapanjp 2021.02 Sustainable Tourism in Rural Kyoto—Country Life, Farm Stays, and the Growing Ecotourism Scene Experience the Kyoto countryside—From farm stays, ecotourism experiences, and locavore living, to pottery and seaside excursions.

  21. Eco, Accessible, and Cultural: Winners of the Japan Travel Awards 2024

    Zerogravity (ゼログラヴィティ), situated in Amami Oshima, Kagoshima, emerged as the Grand Prix winner of the 2024 Japan Travel Awards, marking a significant milestone in the realm of accessible travel. Founded over 25 years ago, the inspiration for Zerogravity was born from the founder's experience of feeling weightless while diving ...