Japanese Approaches to an Eco-Life

Putting Tradition to Work for the Environment

As one way to help preserve the environment, many Japanese today are looking to the past, seeking inspiration in traditional cultural aspects like reverence for nature or taking careful care of things to extend their useful lives. Their ecologically friendly lifestyles hint at ways to safeguard the health of the global environment for future generations.

Lessons from the Bees: The Rooftop Hives of Central Tokyo

In 2006, the Ginza Honey Bee Project set up hives on the top of a multistory building in central Tokyo. A decade on, the project is a regular supplier of honey to local businesses and continues to provide food for thought on the relationship between the urban and natural environments.

Keeping Mount Fuji at the Peak of Beauty

Mount Fuji has always been spectacular at a distance. But up close an excess of garbage has tarnished its beauty in recent years. This problem sparked a movement to clean up the mountain and conserve its natural environment. It’s an effort that’s more important than ever now that Mount Fuji has become a World Heritage site.

Cooking Up a Do-It-Yourself Lifestyle

Uotsuka Jinnosuke, an expert on food culture, has for many years espoused in books and lectures the virtues of living a waste-free life. His approach to daily life is a way of protesting the overconsumption that characterizes contemporary Japanese life, raising the question of what true affluence means.


Kobayashi Hikaru, former administrative vice-minister for the environment, talks about the potential for a distinctly Japanese approach to ecology rooted in a traditional emphasis on harmony with nature.

Saving Electricity to Save Yen

When it comes to conserving electricity, even small measures can lead to significant savings. We take a look at what one local community on the outskirts of Tokyo is doing to reduce the amount of energy it uses—and save money at the same time.

(Re)Built to Last

Gunma Prefecture farmer Takeuchi Akihiko lives with his wife, children, and father in a wooden house built by his ancestors some 120 years ago. Preserving this old house is a way for him to maintain family traditions while reducing his burden on the environment.

A Breezy Style of Green Urban Living

The Kaze no Mori “collective housing” project in Tokyo offers residents the luxury of living next to a lush Japanese garden, providing cool summer breezes to reduce air-conditioning use and refreshing views year-round. Its combination of modern conveniences and traditional ingenuity is a model for environmentally friendly urban design.

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