In his fascinating book Just Enough: Lessons in Living Green from Traditional Japan (wwww.justenoughjapan.com), Azby Brown documents how, in the mid-nineteenth century, the country was “conservation-minded, waste-free, well-housed and well-fed, and economically robust”.

Today Japan’s government is rediscovering the virtues of such sustainable living. At the United Nations Summit on Climate Change in 2009, Japan announced its medium-term goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from the 1990 level by 2020. Then, in April 2010, Tokyo launched a mandatory scheme to cut carbon dioxide emissions from large office buildings and factories.

Citizens are also striving to live life in a healthier, more organic and sustainable way. There’s Mottanai (wmottainai.info/english/who.html), a project to promote a self-sustaining society through reducing waste, reusing finite resources and recycling, while the town of Ogawa, in Saitama prefecture north of Tokyo, has become a model of organic agriculture: food waste is recycled into liquid fertilizer and methane gas and organic food products such as sake, soy sauce and dried noodles have been developed.

The blog Tokyo Green Space (wtokyogreenspace.wordpress.com) highlights bright eco ideas practiced in the capital. Some of these, such as the Ginza Bee Project (wgin-pachi.jp), where 300,000 bees make honey from nectar collected in nearby parks, and the minuscule Ginza Farm (wwww.iknowledge.jp/ginza_farm), recall what life was like two centuries ago when Tokyo was called Edo.

For an insight into Japan’s forward-thinking sustainable technologies and ideas, there’s the annual Eco-Products fair (weco-pro.com/eco2009/english/index.html). It’s also worth visiting Greenz.jp (wgreenz.jp/en) to find out about Green Drinks, a monthly get-together of eco-aware people in Tokyo, or dropping by Ecozzeria (wwww.ecozzeria.jp), an environmental strategy centre in Tokyo’s Shin-Marunouchi Building.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Japan features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Discovering Kanazawa: the rise of Japan’s “Little Kyoto”

Discovering Kanazawa: the rise of Japan’s “Little Kyoto”

Japan Trip: Kanazawa – the rise of “Little Kyoto”. Once one of Japan’s largest cities, in recent decades Kanazawa has languished in the shadow of its…

09 Oct 2018 • Olivia Rawes insert_drive_file Article
Japan House: a new cultural crossroad between Britain and Japan

Japan House: a new cultural crossroad between Britain and Japan

Travel to Japan has boomed over the past year, with over 300,000 UK visitors rushing to the country in 2017. But if you want to experience the country's exquisi…

22 Jun 2018 • Eleanna Zanga insert_drive_file Article
In search of the secret to long life in Nagano

In search of the secret to long life in Nagano

People in Nagano, Japan, live longer than virtually anywhere else on earth. But what’s the secret of this success? Our writer Shafik Meghji travelled across…

16 May 2018 • Shafik Meghji local_activity Special feature
View more featureschevron_right

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Mandatory - can not be deselected. Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

PHPSESSID,aelia_cs_selected_currency,cookie_notice_accepted,RS,bp-message,bp-message-type,id,UIDR,w3tc_logged_out,__cfduid
__cfduid

Statistics

Statistic cookies help website owners to understand how visitors interact with websites by collecting and reporting information anonymously.

__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid,__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xt
__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid
__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xtc

Marketing

Marketing cookies are used to track visitors across websites. The intention is to display ads that are relevant and engaging for the individual user and thereby more valuable for publishers and third party advertisers.

__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID,__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll,c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs
__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID
__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll
c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs