· 6 months ago

Japan Travel Awards Finalists 2024 Celebrating inclusive and sustainable travel in Japan

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🏆 The Japan Travel Awards is an initiative dedicated to discovering, acknowledging, and celebrating remarkable travel destinations in Japan that demonstrate efforts to promote diversity, inclusion, equity, and sustainable experiences in the tourism industry.

Congratulations to this year’s finalists, selected from over 160 applications:

  • Ama Hut Satoumian (Mie)
    “Ama Hut” is a wooden lodge used by traditional Japanese female divers to change and rest. This experience lets visitors interact with the divers while enjoying freshly charcoal-grilled seafood from the sea of Ise-Shima in Japan’s Mie Prefecture.

  • Fuji Lake Hotel (Yamanashi)
    This hot spring hotel with beautiful views of Mt. Fuji first offered accessible rooms in 1999, and has since continued to increase its number of universally-accessible rooms. Currently, 23 of the 70 guest rooms are accessible.

  • Hakko House Nagaoka (Niigata)
    In Niigata, known as Japan’s “snow country,” preserved and fermented foods are an essential element of the local life and culture, and this private lodging makes use of that in its all-inclusive “geo-gastronomy” food experience.

  • Hakuba Lion Adventure (Nagano)
    In addition to offering activities all year round and actively engaging in environmental conservation activities, this adventure company provides numerous activities that can be enjoyed by guests with physical disabilities, including kayaking and rafting.

  • Hotel Mazarium (Iwate)
    This hotel, produced by the welfare unit Heralbony, which works to spread the use of art created by those with intellectual disabilities, has its guest rooms decorated with the works of eight such artists.

  • Hotel Palm Royal NAHA Kokusai Street (Okinawa)
    In line with its corporate philosophy of creating “Okinawa, the Diversity Island,” this long-standing hotel openly celebrates diversity and welcomes travelers to enjoy and immerse into the vibrant culture of Okinawa.

  • INOW (Tokushima)
    An educational experience-based program that provides the opportunity to reflect on sustainability with an extended stay alongside the local residents of Kamikatsu, Japan’s first zero-waste town.

  • Temple Stay Kakurinbo (Yamanashi)
    This stay in a 750-year-old Japanese temple town offers experiences unique to a temple stay, such as morning readings, “shojin ryori” (Buddhist cuisine), Japanese “washi” paper, inkstone and seal making, and a tea ceremony.

  • lyf Tenjin Fukuoka (Fukuoka)
    This trendy accommodation inspires innovation by providing a creative space where those who prioritize diversity and inclusion can freely connect.

  • Mori no Kuni Valley (Ehime)
    This sustainable program offers opportunities to learn how fun nature can be, and the importance of food and life through activities, challenges, accommodation experiences, and educational outdoor camping for children and adults.

  • Naniwa Issui (Shimane)
    An accessible long-standing traditional inn founded in 1918 on the shores of the beautiful Lake Shinji in Shimane. Dedicated to continuously improving its accessible facilities, the hotel has multiple universal rooms, accessible public and bathing facilities, and convenient accessible shuttle services.

  • Lagoon (Okinawa)
    This coral conservation activity, run by local experts, has been transformed into a diving experience for the average customer. From making coral seedlings to planting the coral while snorkeling and diving, tourists can explore the Okinawan sea while also contributing to environmental protection.

  • ONOMICHI U2 (Hiroshima)
    Renovated from a vacant shipping warehouse built in 1943, this complex along the famous Shimanami Kaido cycling route includes a hotel, cafe, bakery, restaurant, lifestyle store, and professional bicycle shop. Onomichi U2 has significantly supported the local economy by creating an overnight stay hub in a formerly transit-only Onomichi.

  • Satoyana Experience (Gifu)
    What started with the Hida Satoyama Cycling Tour in 2010 and its concept of “Sightsee through daily life” has now become a sustainable tourism company welcoming nearly 5,000 guests a year, predominantly from overseas.

  • Tautasha (Kyoto)
    In Miyama, a village where the original landscape of Japan remains strong, this company offers self-built lodging, restaurants, and outdoor/nature experiences while operating a subsistence lifestyle of farming, hunting, and construction.

  • teamLab Planets TOKYO (Tokyo)
    teamLab Planets is an internationally-acclaimed non-verbal and sensory-focused permanent digital museum where visitors can “enter the water and become one with the flowers.”

  • Togakushi Universal Tourism (Nagano)
    Inspired to enable everyone to enjoy Togakushi’s beautiful natural sights, this service includes setting up a Universal Tourism Desk that supports travelers with mobility difficulties. The Desk provides outdoor wheelchairs free of charge, a certified accessibility field concierge, dual-ski guides for winter, and other services.

  • Zero Gravity (Kagoshima)
    Built on the concept of providing “a comprehensive facility for marine sports that can be enjoyed safely by people both with and without physical disabilities.” The facility includes accessible accommodation, a pool, and boats and offers a variety of marine activities, including diving and snorkeling, accommodated for people with mobility disabilities.

Visit the finalists page to learn more about each finalist in the competition.

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Writer & Editor based in Tokyo. Founder of Japan Travel Awards., Shiitake Creative

Hello, I’m Ally Hongo, one of the co-founders of the Japan Travel Awards, launched in 2021.

This year, we received 163 applications from 40 of Japan's 47 prefectures. We were pleased to see that most applications demonstrated efforts to welcome a diverse group of travelers and provide them with various creative means to explore the well of treasures that Japan has yet to offer. We were also pleased to receive comments from applicants who rediscovered the importance of introducing diverse, inclusive, and sustainable factors in their businesses while filling in the application.

While the initial application screening was incredibly difficult this year, we selected the best applications and narrowed them down to 18 finalists.

This year, applicants were asked about their initiatives across four categories:
1. General Entry Overview
2. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives
3. Sustainability
4. Inbound tourism strategy

The finalists were selected for demonstrating exceptional efforts in at least one or more of those categories.

Of course, it isn't easy to be perfect in all areas. However, what made those finalists stand out was their initiatives and work that go above and beyond "regular tourism services," as well as their efforts to make their services visible and understandable to travelers. This is, after all, the shortcut to letting people know what's out there, and invite them to come and experience it. This year, we were exceptionally pleased to witness this dedication to "visualization" become standardized.

The next stage of the Awards is an on site-evaluation, during which our judges will travel to all finalists' locations and experience their services first-hand, as all tourists would.

👉 Winners will be announced at the end of January 2024.

6 months ago (edited)
Product developer, GetAboutAble

So excited to see this new batch of finalists! And it's amazing to see accessibility features mentioned across almost all of them!

6 months ago
Writer & Editor based in Tokyo. Founder of Japan Travel Awards., Shiitake Creative

Thank you, Manon! This year the Accessibility Category is really strong! We'll definitely have a hard time choosing the winner!

6 months ago
Product developer, GetAboutAble

Good luck! I'm happy to see the number of entrants though so I guess it's the price of glory!

6 months ago
Ian
Founder, Travel Massive

I’m very proud to be a judge for these awards, and excited to learn more about the finalists!

6 months ago
Writer & Editor based in Tokyo. Founder of Japan Travel Awards., Shiitake Creative

We're so excited to have you on board, Ian! Cheers from Fukuoka, day one of the on-site visits!

6 months ago
Content Creator, US Japan Fam

So exciting! My family just got back from 2 weeks in Japan last night, wish I'd seen this list beforehand so I could have visited a few! But we go back every 2 years or so to see family and immerse our kids in the language/culture... will schedule some for next time!!

5 months ago
Writer & Editor based in Tokyo. Founder of Japan Travel Awards., Shiitake Creative

Thank you, Heather! :) I really hope you can visit those places on your next trip to Japan - they're all absolutely worth it!

5 months ago
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Japan Travel Awards Finalists 2024

3 reviews

Japan Travel Awards Finalists 2024 was posted by Ally Hongo in News , Japan , Accessible Travel , Sustainability , Diversity , Activity . Featured on Aug 21, 2023 (6 months ago). Japan Travel Awards Finalists 2024 is rated 4.7/5 ★ by 3 members.
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