InsideJapan Tours Sustainable Tourism

We are strongly committed to the ideals of sustainable tourism and strive to play our part in protecting the environment, economy and the cultures of all our destinations and countries where our offices are located. When Inside Japan started in the year 2000, many of the things we were doing were inherently sustainable and we've worked hard to increase our positive impacts, and will continue to do so.

  • Since day one nearly all of our trips have relied upon Japan's extremely efficient public transport network. As well as giving our customers a brilliant opportunity to engage with and get to know the locals, it also helps to keep the carbon footprint of our trips down.

  • We have also always included as many small, local and independent accommodations in our trips as possible. There aren't many more memorable experiences for people travelling in Japan than spending a night or two in one of the family-run ryokan and minshuku inns we work with.

  • As well as providing a quintessentially Japanese experience for our clients, in supporting these small businesses we help to play a small part in keeping these traditional establishments alive. This in turn supports the rural communities in which they're located, many of which are suffering as young people choose to live in the big cities. See our testimonials page [link] to hear the thoughts of the owner of one of our favourite ryokan.

    Our Nagoya office and its local staff have been an essential part of our operations from day one, and we've always employed local day guides. This means that when they need it our customers get timely support from people in the same time zone, and also get insights into the areas they visit from guides who have spent their lives getting to know the towns and cities.

  • Over the years we have continued to improve our trips, and have maintained a focus on reducing our negative impacts. We have increased the information we give to everyone who travels with us to help them reduce their impacts on the ground by sending out tips and advice when they arrive in Japan.
    We have also provided our clients with different gifts to help reduce their impact. Previously we sent out a pair of Inside Japan "My Hashi" reusable chopsticks to every client, so as well as having a souvenir of their trip, our customers were able to avoid using single-use wooden chopsticks. It's thought that 24 billion of these disposable chopsticks are thrown away annually in Japan.

  • Clients were also sent eco-cards, which outlined in both Japanese and English a request for their towels and bedding to not be replaced, helping their accommodations to reduce their energy usage. These days, nearly all of our core hotels run these schemes themselves, and we are working with those that are not to begin doing so.

    We have also put time into getting our own house in order. We have changed the electricity supplier for our Bristol office to Ecotricity, so 100% of our electricity comes from renewable sources, helping to further reduce our carbon footprint.

    As well as working to reduce the impact of our trips and offices, we started to work more broadly to encourage similar activities throughout the industry. We have had a representative on the sustainable tourism committee of AITO, the Association of Independent Tour Operators, for many years.

  • But the job is far from over, as we have many other projects we are currently working on. We are expanding the amount of independent restaurants we work with so our customers can enjoy varied culinary experiences while supporting small businesses throughout Japan.

    To continue supporting less wealthy rural areas, we are increasing the number of local and rural tourist boards and accommodations we work with. As well as helping these struggling areas, it will open up an increasing amount of less visited areas to our customers.

    We are also starting to work with our core hotels and suppliers to get a better idea of their sustainability credentials. We then aim to work with them to encourage the reduction of their environmental impacts, so we and our customers can be assured that they are having the most positive impact possible.

    More directly for customers we are working to improve the practical tips we provide and are developing the next sustainability gift to help our clients have a positive impact while on holiday, without them having to make any extra effort.

    One of our big projects is to explore making our operations zero carbon. Our first step towards this will be to make every effort to reduce our emissions, by reducing energy usage in all of our offices and enabling our staff to continue to use public transport, or commute to the office by bike or on foot.

    However, visiting our destinations is an essential part of us being able to offer the best and most up-to-date advice to our customers. So we will be exploring options for reducing the impact of our carbon emissions by helping to fund the expansion of renewable energy sources in areas of the world which currently have infrequent or no energy access.

    If we can find the right project we will also consider offering our clients the choice to fund it so as to reduce the impact of their own flights. To further reduce the impact of our offices and operations we will also be looking to decrease the volume of paper we send to our clients before they travel by offering electronic copies in place of hard copy Info-Packs and destination guides.

    All in all we are very happy with how sustainable our trips are, and the efforts we have made to increase our positive impact, but are aware that sustainable development is an ongoing process and so we endeavour to keep improving.