Last week (October 25 & 26, 2019) in Park Hyatt Niseko, Hokkaido, held the G20 2019 Japan Tourism Ministers' Meeting. Tourism ministers from the Group of 20 leading industrialized nations and emerging economies (19 individual countries plus the European Union) agreed Saturday to step up efforts to "work toward managing tourism for the benefit of visitors and local communities."
Here are some simple things you can do to make your next travel to Hokkaido more eco-friendly, and supportive to local communities.
The Japanese government is determined to shift away from single-use plastic bags. A growing number of retailers in Japan have already stopped giving plastic bags out for free, but in most convenience stores, free plastic bag is still a common practice.
From food, ticket to 24hrs-ATM, Japanese convenience stores are always there to help
We have picked some really simple Japanese phrases to politely refuse plastic bags:
. shiru de ii desu (シールでいいです), translated to "please just sticker(seal) it"
The little sticker serves as a certificate of purchase in Japanese shops, the word "shiru" (シール) came from "seal". Just like the word "konbini" (コンビニ), it's a Japanese-made English word.
The second phrase is: bukuro iranai desu (ブクロいらないです), which means "I don't want a plastic bag, thank you".
Seven-Eleven Japan announced in May that it would completely switch from plastic to biodegradable bags by 2030. "We will make our way forward in coordination with other companies," President Fumihiko Nagamatsu said.
But before that, when you traveled to Japan, try to reduce unnessary plastic bags by those two phrases (and show off to your friends).
Here in Niseko, companies are also doing their parts to make Niseko a tourist destination which is both eco-friendly, and supportive to local communities. Clean up day is now a yearly tradition for Hanazono Niseko.
Grand Hirafu Clean Up by Hanazono Niseko Resort
Another subject that was discussed during the G20 2019 Japan Tourism Ministers' Meeting, was the new National Ainu Museum and Park - UPOPOY.
Japan has been called an ethnically homogeneous nation-state for a long time, but recently with Ainu people's efforts and indigenous group designation granted (2008), visitors from all over the world can now get to know this less-known indigenous people of Japan.
Live Together. (Full English Ver.) by UPOPOY
The new National Ainu Museum and Park will open to the public from 24th April 2020, definitely go check it out if you are interested by Hokkaido's history and it's people.
Discover more about Ainu's deep historic connections with Niseko and Hokkaido, and other Ainu related spots HERE