At Hoshino Resorts, we consider the hotel and the region to be connected. The rise in appeal for the region is directly linked to the hotel’s achievements, and on the other hand, the hotel can contribute to the enhancement of the regional brand power by transmitting the charm of the region. These sorts of actions that create a relationship of mutual trust with the region are one of the things behind sustainable business competitiveness. The use of the region’s resources include local techniques, farm and seafood products, and tourist attractions. As one part of action, recently one of the main issues for SDGs adopted by the international community has to do with environmental pollution from plastic waste in the oceans, climate change, and energy use, and Hoshino Resorts is also involved in various efforts.
Sustainable Development Goals, abbreviated SDGs,
are mutual objectives by the international community determined by world leaders
at a summit held at the United Nations in September 2015.
Karuizawa National Wild Bird Sanctuary Forest is located at an altitude of 950 – 1,100 m, with the area size of around 100 ha.
The founder of the Wild Bird Society of Japan, Godo Nakanishi (1895-1984) pointed out to Kasuke Hoshino, our founder’s grandfather, that the forest of his inn was one of the world’s biggest treasure troves of wild birds. To help promote Godo’s work with wild birds, Hoshino organized bird watching expeditions and in 1974, National Wild Bird Sanctuary Forest, one of only four wild bird sanctuaries in Japan, was established.
Hoshino Onsen has a history of providing its own power from the time it first opened by using hydroelectric power generation. Currently, there are two hydroelectric power stations on site, and over the past four years, the average generated power has been about 76 KWh. Also, a retention basin and a settling basin have been set up for the first power station that is located at the downstream of the river that flows through the center of HOSHINOYA Karuizawa. It can be said that the system in place for the hydroelectric power generation created the waterfront scenery emblematic of HOSHINOYA Karuizawa.
In 2019, we eliminated the use of individually packaged soaps (shampoo, conditioner and body soap) at all of our operating properties and switched to the use of pump bottles. The use of pump bottles for soaps has led to a reduction in the amount of plastic containers discarded, approximately 49t per year and soaps discarded approximately 73kl per year compared with the amount of soap used in individual packages.
Hoshino Resorts began its toothbrush recycling program in the 30 resorts operated by the company around Japan. More than a million discarded toothbrushes are collected every year, which are then recycled to be used in other plastic products. We will expand the scale of our business and play a role in a society by coorperating with Showa Brush Inc and JTB Trading, Inc. At the moment, Hoshino Resorts is currently the only company operating multiple resorts in Japan that recycles toothbrushes. The next step is to look at recycling these used toothbrushes into new toothbrushes.
Plastic water bottles are very useful for easily carrying around drinks, but they also produce a lot of waste.
Hoshino Resorts will no longer offer bottled mineral water, and will instead have water coolers in public spaces. Hoshino Resorts will also not only sell original tumblers, reducing the need for plastic bottles, but also educate people about the importance of doing this. This initiative will begin with RISONARE Nasu, which opened on November 1st, and is projected to expand to every resort under the RISONARE brand (Tomamu, Atami, and Yatsugatake) by the end of this year.
“Zero-emission” refers to recycling or reuse of waste instead of simple incineration or landfill. All Hoshino Resorts establishments in Karuizawa, including HOSHINOYA Karuizawa, are dedicated to creating a zero-emission environment which was the first to accomplish in the the hotel and ryokan industry from November 2011. The activities of “Zero-committee” are still ongoing, and Hoshino Resorts establishments in Karuizawa has achieved and maintained zero emissions.
Waste is processed in accordance with the 3Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
1.Reduce (decrease trash)
Hoshino Resorts decided to go against conventional wisdom, providing the same food at the same amount during wedding receptions, and made customers choose either Japanese or Western cuisine, meat or fish, as well as their amount of food served. As a result, guests can order food depending on how hungry they are and in addition, there was less food left over from likes and dislikes. Not only does that “same day selective system” reduce kitchen waste, but it also raises customer satisfaction, and it is useful as a competitive edge in the wedding industry.
2.Reuse (reuse trash)
In an effort to reuse trash, at Karuizawa, we have shifted wherever possible to using drink containers that are returnable and have our suppliers collect them. Also, if there are any unneeded items such as cabinets or shelves, instead of just one department making a decision, the whole office checks to see if anything can be reused as a rule before regarding it as oversized garbage.
3.Recycle (recovering resources)
Kitchen waste is recycled as compost at nearby farms. Several times every week, farm workers come to collect kitchen scraps, and once a month, 20 staff members gather to directly transport it to the farms. In this way, the finished compost is used to cultivate vegetables, and then the Karuizawa office buys vegetables harvested on the farms. For trash that cannot be recycled, so as to make everything recyclable, the trash is separated into total 28 types before throwing it away. In order to get rid of all the trash without any of the staff making a mistake when separating into different types, there is a game called “Shigekatsu” (*) at the Karuizawa office, with the aim to get all of the questions right within two months.
*”Shigekatsu” was developed to teach the correct way to get rid of trash that is often thrown away on an ordinary business day. There are 100 questions in total, and the game is to divide everything with the correct separation method.
HOSHINOYA Karuizawa is powered by the Energy In My Yard (EIMY) system, developed from a simple idea: Using energy without damaging the resort’s rich natural environment. This system runs on hydroelectricity -provided by the river flowing through the premises—and geothermal energy. Technological improvements were made to match the geological characteristics of Karuizawa and we have also designed a geothermal utilization system that can withstand large fluctuations by closely examining demand for heat sources over the course of a year. As a result, HOSHINOYA Karuizawa are 70% self-sufficient in energy consumption.
Hoshino Resorts established “FARM HOSHINO. The concept of FARM HOSHINO was initiated by the idea that the scenic landscape created by farming would heal travelers while dairy products made at the farm could enrich their journey.
The first FARM HOSHINO resides in the vast resort district of Tomamu, where about 700 cows once grazed on the hillsides and farming was the regular practice of the area before the resort was developed. The mission of FARM HOSHINO is to restore the primeval landscape and farming practices that once flourished in the area so that visitors can experience the vast expanse of fertile land of Hokkaido whilst enjoying fresh dairy foods and a relaxing moment at the farm.
Picchio’s goal is to organize eco-tourism activities that not only keep visitors satisfied, but which also incorporate natural resources in sustainable ways. Their main activities are eco-tours, environmental education, and the tracking and preservation of Asian black bears and other local wildlife.
Nature Watching at the Wild Bird Sanctuary Forest
In this guided tour, guests are introduced to the vibrant world that exists in Karuizawa’s forest all year round.
Flying Squirrel Watching Tour
This tour, which takes place at sunset, consists of a lecture, followed by a guided tour through the forest. Visitors have a 97.8% chance of spotting a flying squirrel in action.
The preservation of Asian black bears began as a project contracted to Picchio by the local government in 2000. By tracking and monitoring each bear and incorporating innovative tactics such as Japan’s first “bear dogs(dogs trained to chase away bears)”, Picchio was able to keep the bears safe while also keeping humans safe. As a result, the number of cases of bears razing public trash receptacles fell from 100 in 1999 to 0 in 2009.
Bear Dogs are dogs that have been specially trained to sense the scent of bears. They obey directions from bear specialists and bark loudly to drive away bears deep into the forest. Bear Dogs have been bred in Picchio since July 2017, and one of the Bear Dogs they raised named “Tama” gave birth to six puppies from late at night on March 31st, 2018 to the afternoon of April 1st, successfully breeding Bear Dogs in Japan for the first time.
At Hoshino Resorts hot spring ryokan brand “KAI”, there are KAI Signature Rooms that incorporate elements of regional craft cultures in their room design. Also, every KAI establishment offers a selection of free activities designed to introduce guests to Japan’s regional cultures called KAI Cultural Discovery. Guests can experience the charm of the region through the hospitality of KAI.
Ever since HOSHINOYA Taketomi Island opened in June 2012, we have managed to operate the resort while learning the history and traditions from the islanders. Due to developments in the tourist industry and distribution on Taketomi Island, the number of people involved in agriculture, which was the island’s main industry, has declined. At HOSHINOYA Taketomi Island, the “Agriculture Project” was started in 2017 so as to contribute to the cultural inheritance surrounding the farms that are in the process of being lost.
At the Tanadui Festival, sowing millet seeds and dancing to pray for an abundant harvest are dedicated to deities. On Taketomi Island, there has been a decline in the number of people who grow millet, so the use of millet made from Taketomi has also decreased. At HOSHINOYA Taketomi Island, the millet grown from the site are offered for this island’s largest festival, Kumomami (Local soybean).
Kumomami (Local soybean)
Once, Taketomi islanders grew Kumomami, and made them into tofu but now people stopped making Kumomami tofu and Kumomami went extinct. At HOSHINOYA Taketomi Island, there has been an attempt with the kids on the island to revive the production of tofu made from cultivated Kumomami soy beans that had been lost on the island.
“Nuchigusa” is an Okinawan herbal plant that has supported the health of the islanders since ancient times. However, the culture surrounding nuchigusa has faded in recent times, and few people know about it now. On June 29th, 2019, we planted seeds on HOSHINOYA Taketomi Island’s farm with kids from Taketomi Elementary and Junior High School.
At OMO5 Tokyo Otsuka and OMO7 Asahikawa, we have strengthened our partnerships with employers of restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, and museums around the hotels. National guidebooks only list a small fraction of really famous establishments, but there are a lot of other unlisted businesses that show off the charm of the region. Gathering those together displays the regional charm in an effort to raise the value of staying at the place where the OMO hotels are located. From the idea of constructing the hotels in places that were already highly valued for accommodations, the concept changed to building the hotels in places immersed in a deep and local charm so as to raise the value of those locations via our marketing efforts for the hotels, which creates a demand for staying at those hotels.