Sustainable Travel in Japan

· culture,sustainable travel,slow travel

While it can be hard to embrace slow travel when you only have a week or 2 of vacation, there are plenty of things you can do to make your trip to Japan more sustainable!


Take the Train

The best way to get to Japan is of course by air, but once you're in Japan, travelling by train is the easiest and most efficient way to see most of the country. The shinkansen, or bullet train, can whisk you from Tokyo Station to Kagoshima at the southern tip of Kyushu island in just over 6 hours. In the other direction, it takes just under 4 hours to Hakodate, on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido.

There are also a number of sightseeing trains to popular hot springs towns, which many Japanese favor over driving for a weekend getaway. In addition to being as quick or quicker than driving, these trains are often decorated with different themes, from popular cartoons to wooden floors and big picture windows. Some even have special food or drink served on board.

Tourist train to the hot springs town of Yufuin

Visit Less Popular Destinations

There are so many beautiful destinations off the beaten path in Japan. They may not be as well-known, but it's possible to see stunning temples, serene gardens, and ancient architecture without stepping foot in Kyoto. And in many of these smaller destinations, foreign tourists are welcomed even more warmly!

Japanese garden

Go in Low Season

If your schedule permits, skip Japan during peak cherry blossom season at the end of March and early April. February in the north is a great time to ski, or for mild weather and plum blossoms in the south. Summer is hot and humid in most of Japan, but summer festivals and fireworks are abundant. Autumn leaves are beautiful in central Japan; alternatively, head north for perfect hiking and hot spring weather. The southern islands of Okinawa are also a great option for a beach getaway later in the season.

Need more guidance on off-season itineraries? We can help!

broken image

Bring Your Own Bag

In 2020, Japan implemented a bag charge of 3-5 yen per bag, and some cities are looking to ban single use plastic bags at grocery and convenience stores in future. This is a huge step for Japan, where making sure that products are packaged and bagged nicely is seen as an essential part of customer service. But with the new policy, it is much more acceptable and understood to use your own reusable bag.


Buy Some Chopsticks

Another popular single-use item in Japan is undoubtedly chopsticks. They are prevalent at convience stores, of course, but some restaurants choose to use disposable chopsticks as they are seen as being much cleaner than reusable chopsticks. There are lots of stores in Japan which sell reusable chopsticks with cases or carrying pouches so that you can keep them with you to use instead of the disposable variety.