Situated just a ferry’s ride from Taiwan is Ishigaki Island. With its sunny and sandy beaches, Ishigaki Island is Japan’s number-one diving destination (and has been for the last 16 consecutive years) due to its crystal clear seas and abundant coral reef and marine life.
Ishigaki is part of Okinawa’s remote Yayeyama Islands where recent tourism developments have focused on eco-tourism and eco-friendly structures to protect the area’s rich natural environment—even the New Ishigaki Airport is said to be designed to protect the local ecology. We’ve rounded up a list of our top three eco-friendly hotels and what they are doing to ensure that the waters and fauna stay pristine and preserved for locals, visitors and nature alike.
Situated adjacent to Ishigaki Port, the gateway to the rest of the outlying Yaeyama islands is Miyahira Hotel. The hotel promises a “A pleasant sleep and refreshing morning will wipe away the fatigue from your travels!”
- Miyahira Hotel has phased out single-use chopsticks;
- Switched to LED lights;
- Phased out virgin paper coasters to recycled paper coasters;
- Stopped having lights on upon guest arrival in order to reduce energy consumption;
- Encourages re-use of sheets;
- Switched from bar soaps to soap dispensers to reduce soap waste;
- And implemented a categorised trash recycling system—as such, they reduced 251,400 tons of Co2 in 2011!
4-9 Misaki-cho, Ishigaki-shi
With stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and nestled in the tropics, Art Hotel Ishigakijima (formerly Hotel Nikko Yaeyama) is famous for their large “NIFAIYU” bathrooms with two styles of baths that promise the ultimate relaxing stay.
- Hotel Nikko Yaeyama is a member of, and has received a grant from the NEDO (a Japanese sustainable energy organisation);
- Invested 150 million Yen / 1.3 million+ USD in natural energy implementation and hopes to reduce fossil fuel consumption by 20%;
- Switched from tea bags to powdered tea;
- Removed TV programme guides from all rooms – guests can request to see one at the front desk;
- Replaced paper towels in toilets with hand dryers;
- Have in place a buffet signage saying: “All you can eat breakfast and lunch menu: we are happy to see you full, but please finish everything on your plate!”;
- As Ishigaki has an imperfect drainage system, Hotel Nikko helps preserve the beautiful underwater ecosystem by requesting guests to use room towels when visiting hot springs;
- And encourages re-use of sheets (there is a 500 Yen Coupon incentive for spending at the hotel, with a max 1,000 Yen accumulation).
Ishigaki-shi, Okinawa 907-0022
Renaissance Okinawa Resort
Dive into the emerald green seas all year round with Renaissance Okinawa Resort, a premium resort with much to offer—from tropical dinner buffet shows to over 30 types of marine activities.
- Renaissance Okinawa Resort encourages guests to re-use old sheets;
- Started using towels that require 25% less drying time to combat the need to clean over 1800 towels/day during peak season (summer);
- Switched to LED lights, reducing energy consumption by around 80%;
- Reduced Co2 emissions by 1,400 tons between 2010 – 2014!;
- Planted 1,100 trees in the parking area to alleviate vehicle emissions;
- And employees often engage in street and diving clean ups.
3425-2, Yamada, Onna-son
Kunigami-gun, Okinawa, 904-0416, Japan