Tour theme - environment

Tour itineraries:

As a nation known for its technology and pop-culture, the profound relationship that the Japanese have held with their natural environment is often overlooked by international visitors to Japan. Yet, this very relationship holds the key to understanding much of the Japanese culture, history and psyche, and unlocking their complexities. Reverence for the natural environment is apparent in traditional Japanese culture and continues to manifest itself in everyday life today. Many Japanese festivals originated as offerings of prayer and thanks to gods of nature. The traditional Japanese cuisine is an ode to nature’s bounties that each season of the year brings. Japanese architecture and garden design reflect people’s desire to maintain their connection with nature regardless of their location.

The traditional respect for nature is most apparent in the harmonious co-existence with nature that the Japanese have led since prehistoric times. The traditional agricultural systems of Japan are among the most sustainable land management systems in the world. Many traditional crafts reflect ingenious use of locally available natural materials in a sustainable way. Throughout most of history, the Japanese have managed to utilise their land without large-scale environmental destruction, based on the efficient recycling of limited resources in a small and mountainous island nation. Seemingly conflicting land uses, such as agriculture, forestry and mining, thrived alongside each other, thanks to careful and ingenious use of the environment.

The particularly close relationship that the Japanese have held with nature perhaps results from the paradoxical character of Japan’s environment. On one hand, the rich soils, abundant water and warm humid summers bring bountiful supplies of food and other resources. On the other hand, a range of natural hazards including earthquakes, cold snowy winters and mountainous terrain have caused hardships in everyday life. The beauty and variety in Japanese landscapes, including its rugged mountains, dense primeval forests, alpine wildflower meadows, and picturesque coastlines, is also a product of these opposing forces that have characterised Japan’s natural environment.

We invite you to discover the wonders of Japan’s natural environment and explore the fascinating relationship between the Japanese culture and the environment since prehistoric times. Our tours are guided by an environmental science expert who will provide you with a ‘big picture’ perspective that no other tours will offer—while you enjoy a variety of authentic travel experiences. See the Japanese culture in a new light—with its messages for how we can live sustainably on earth into the future.