Haguro Forest

What is Ecotourism?

What is Ecotourism?

“Responsible travel to natural and cultural areas that conserves the environment

and sustains the wellbeing of the local people.”

What is ecotourism and why are we so passionate about it? Ecotourism is more than just environmentally friendly tourism as the name suggests. It is about the practices of which people travel and that ways that companies operate that keep the continuous visit of local sites sustainable so that they can continue to be enjoyed by future generations.


So what makes ecotourism different from regular tourism? For starters, ecotourism revolves around preserving culture and tradition by learning directly from the local people themselves. This way, not only is it more authentic for the guest, but the money that you spend goes directly back into sustaining the local community.

Through this, what we want to encourage is not just tourism, but education through travel. Rather than hopping on a big bus tour, taking a bunch of photos, and then rushing off to the next location to do the same thing on repeat, our goal is to foster genuine interactions between locals and visitors that spark learning and the exchange of ideas among everyone

What does ecotourism look like?


Ecotourism takes shape in many forms but for us, we tend to prioritize activities, experiences, and accommodations that are led and operated by local people and that have as little environmental impact as possible.

Some examples of this are temple/shrine visits, hiking with a local guide, traditional crafts, culinary experiences, and farmstays. Of course, it is not limited just to this, but we hope this gives you a good idea.

To learn more, check out our experience page!

The need for ecotourism

Like many largely rural areas across Japan, our home turf of Yamagata is currently staring the depopulation crisis right in the face. Due to factors such as the rising cost of living, social pressures to focus on one’s career, and discouraging views of the current trajectory of where the world is heading, year after year local populations have been on the steady decline.


These days, when many students are asked what their plans after high school graduation are, hearing a vast majority say that they want to move to Tokyo, Osaka, Sendai, or some other big city in Japan is not in the least uncommon.

“It’s not that we don’t love it here, it’s that if we stay, there’s just no future here”

These students’ concerns are not without base. As Japan’s population declines, jobs in especially rural areas become increasingly sparse, prompting more and more young people to flock to the city center in hope of finding a decent job that they can one day support their family. When they do so, traditions, customs, and knowledge is lost, and entire cultures fade away in the blink of an eye. As a growing number of people leave, the local economy pool is hence further reduced, giving more people a reason to leave and thus the cycle is repeated.

When does the cycle end?

The goal of this company has always been about one thing, helping local people show the world what they love about their homes. Through tourism, we aim to give people a reason to stay in their hometowns, take pride in their upbringings, and continue to pass their traditions, culture, and knowledge to the next generation. 


We know that bringing tourism to rural areas in Japan isn’t enough to fully rejuvenate the population imbalance and local economy of a region entirely on its own. But we are optimistic that it’s a step in the right direction and by giving more people a reason to stay, it will encourage others to stay behind and create their own reasons to live where they love.

The Japanese Serrow is not just our mascot, but is also native to Yamagata. While once critically endangered, today its numbers are on the rise thanks to conservation efforts.