Social-Equality in Business Design at Ichiboshi-Do

Despite the government claims that gender equality is a key aspect of Japan’s economic success, women in Japan are still struggling to find a work-life balance. Most mothers bear the sole responsibility of day to day raising of children, yet traditional working hours do not allow them enough time to raise a family. An entrepreneur has taken aim at addressing this issue by launching a working facility in Shizuoka called Ichiboshi-do which is an innovative multi-function facility offering child-care, flexible working-style office as well as lodging facilities. It is hoped that Ichiboshi-do can become a model for similar facilities across Japan. Continue reading “Social-Equality in Business Design at Ichiboshi-Do”

Upcycle Products Available in Japan

There is growing awareness in Japan about the need to reuse and repurpose as well as reduce and recycle things we use every day. Living a purely disposable lifestyle is not only unsustainable but also dissatisfying. One interesting development is the increase in creative entrepreneurs, NPO’s and even major companies which are investing time and resources into tackling this issue by repurposing waste materials into ‘upcycled’ goods.
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Tourism Demand Driving Japan’s Vegan Boom

Over the last twenty years, vegan or vegetarian residents and visitors have had to settle with the limited salad or side offerings available at eateries across Japan. As environmental awareness has influenced the number of non-meat and non-fish eaters abroad, however, the percentage of inbound visitors seeking alternative meals to Japan’s typical fare of Sushi, Ramen, Tonkatsu and Yakiniku is also increasing. There is currently no data on the eating habits or dietary diversity of inbound visitors to Japan, but a look at the country of origin of inbound visitors and the percentages of veganism and vegetarian in those countries gives us an indication that at least 5-10% of international visitors to Japan do not eat meat or fish. Of the 30 million international visitors to Japan in 2018, this would be between 1.5 to 3 million annual vegan or vegetarian visitors coming to Japan. Add to this the higher percentage of meat eaters who occasionally choose plant-based options and demand is even higher.
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Joge- Hiroshima’s Beautiful Japanese Ghost-town

The true concept of sustainability in tourism can be observed at destinations where local people are happy to live, you can see the preservation of heritage in action, and natural resources are being well taken care of. The tricky part, however, is to also find a way to maintain streams of income in order to be a viable, sustainable tourism destination. In Japan we are seeing so many examples of destinations which are too popular and overtourism is a real problem. On the other end of the scale, however, a total absence of visitors is also a serious problem. I had the chance to visit a quaint and interesting village in the Hiroshima countryside, called Joge, which has so much potential for success as a sustainable tourism destination, but is struggling due to a lack of visitors.
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Sustainable (SDG) Tourism Business Facility Idea ‘Full-Circle’

If a destination manager or entrepreneur were trying to think of an innovative facility that would follow a sustainable tourism model, what would it look like? How could you create a profitable business that enhances the lives of local residents, appeals to visitors, and does not damage the environment; yet still maintains steady cash flow?
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Pictograms in Japan

Japan has an interesting history with making simple picture-related signage aimed at helping bridge the gap for inbound visitors who don’t know Japanese. Most famously, in February of 1964, a group of artists and designers created a ‘design office’ in order to create a set of pictograms for use around the capital city during the 1964 Olympics. As the next Tokyo Olympics is just around the corner, this is a good opportunity to revisit the story of pictograms in Japan, then and now.
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Exceptional Craft Breweries Rise & Win + Stone Wall Hill

Craft beer is always enhanced by a great backstory.

Big changes in the popularity of craft brew in Japan have mirrored the enthusiasm for hand-crafted, locally-sourced, high-quality beers around the world. In the mountains of Tokushima, the zero-waste town of Kamikatsu has two outstanding breweries: Rise & Win and Stone Wall Hill. Both of these breweries produce delicious Portland-style beers while practicing the highest levels of sustainable business operations in stylish fashion. In fact, in every aspect of design, planning, and operations, R&W/SEH breweries are great examples of entrepreneurship and disruptive innovation in Japan.
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Digital Marketing as a Key Aspect of Destination Appeal

In terms of destination marketing, online access to information has arguably become more important than any other advertising investments. The following is a summary and discussion of the Tourism Expo Japan symposium on the importance of Digital Marketing to the Inbound Market, from the particular view of rural tourist destinations in Japan.
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High Caliber Service Requires Flexibility

TokyoBigSightThe tourism industry in Japan has developed a variety of high-quality tourism products, but there are problems in relaying the right message to potential users and providing access. The luxury travel market is an area that is just starting to gain traction, but like a newly opened restaurant in Japan, requires a training period to refine the quality of the product.
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