Hoshino Resorts

Hoshino Resorts

  • Iriomote Hotel

Hoshino Resorts Iriomote Hotel aims to become Japan’s First Ecotourism Resort

  • Iriomote Hotel

Located in the Iriomote Ishigaki National Park, Hoshino Resorts Iriomote Hotel aims to become Japan’s first ecotourism resort in order to protect the island’s natural environment and create a sustainable tourism system. As part of these efforts, we launched 3 initiatives in the spring of 2021: ecological hotel management, nature tours to feel the values and charm of the island, conservation of Iriomote wildcats. With the use of knowledge obtained through environmental management, Hoshino Resorts will build a structure for sustainable tourism on Iriomote Island, which is registered as a Natural World Heritage Site.

Hoshino Resorts, the operator of the Iriomote Hotel, is focused on environmental management. In November 2011, the Karuizawa Hoshino Area was the first in the hotel industry to achieve zero emissions*1. Even now, about 70% of energy is produced on-site using the following machinery: hydroelectric power generator, geothermal heat utilization equipment, and hot spring heat-waste utilization equipment. In addition, “Picchio,” a group of experts on forest creatures, organizes nature tours with the theme of increasing the value of forests. Aside from the fact that it is a business, it has been highly regarded for utilizing the research on Asiatic black bears, in tours and other regional events, which aims for the coexistence of humans and bears. In 2005, it was granted the First Ecotourism Grand Prize by the Ministry of the Environment. By using the knowledge on environmental management of Hoshino Resorts, gained through initiatives at Karuizawa, we aimed to become Japan’s first ecotourism resort with a structure for sustainable tourism.
*1 Waste produced during operations are eliminated to zero by incineration or addition to landfill = 100% Recycling Rate

3 initiatives to become Japan’s first ecotourism resort
1.Ecological hotel management
At Hoshino Resorts, facilities in Japan operate in a way to reduce environmental burden, and efforts to reduce plastic waste are part of this. Iriomote Hotel will aim for zero-emission by first incorporating “plastic bottle free stay” and “disposable plastic-free stay.” For example, in addition to discontinuing plastic bottle waters in guest rooms, sales of plastic bottle beverages in shops and vending machines will be stopped from August. A water dispenser will be available in the facility and guests will be encouraged to bring their own water bottles. For those without their own, there will be a rental service of water bottles. In addition, disposable amenities such as toothbrushes, combs, and shavers have not been provided since June, and guests are encouraged to bring their own amenities. Items sold at the shops will be replaced by reusable plastics so that they can be used even after the stay.

2.Nature tours to feel the value and charms of the island
One of the charms of the Iriomote Island is its biodiversity, where many endangered species and endemic species grow and inhabit including the Iriomote wildcats. Its value was recognized, and it was designated as a Natural World Heritage Site*2 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on July 26, 2021. In order to protect the nature of the island, nature tours will be hosted in collaboration with a naturalist*3 guide who has the knowledge and love for nature.
*2 For reference: https://whc.unesco.org/en/news/2318/
*3 Naturalist is defined as a person who is interested in and actively familiarizes with nature. Also, a person who observes and studies natural plants and animals.

<Examples of Nature tours>
・Iriomote Guided Walk – to learn about the ecosystems of Iriomote Island
Our staff with love towards Iriomote Island will guide guests through the jungle within the premises, Tsukigahama beach in front of the hotel, and mangroves. By walking with our staff, guests can learn that collapsed trees and holes in trunks of trees that might usually be overlooked are important for the creatures living on the island and that creatures living in brackish water*4 supports the ecosystem on Iriomote Island.
*4 A body of water where seawater and freshwater mix
Available: All year
Time: 9:00 am, 10:00 am, 4:00 pm, 5:00 pm (45 minutes per session)
Capacity: 8 people per session (Minimum number of participants for a session to be hosted: 1)
Location: Jungle, brackish water
Price: Free

・Iriomote wildcats Trail Tour – follow the footsteps to learn their ecology
The roads, sidewalks, bridges, and paddy fields that people make use of in their daily lives are also used by Iriomote wildcats and a variety of other creatures as a place to live. In the trail tour, guests will look for traces of Iriomote wildcats and other animals that live in familiar places. The ecology of Iriomote wildcats and other animals can be deduced from looking at feces, where meals can be imagined, and footprints can be used to make assumptions about their behavior. The guide is a naturalist guide full of love for Iriomote wildcats.
Available: All year starting August 1, 2021
Time: 8:00 am to 11:30 am, 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm
Capacity: 5 people per session (Minimum number of participants for a session to be hosted: 2)
Location: Along the roads of Iriomote Island
Price: 5,000 JPY per person (includes tax)

3.Conservation of the Iriomote wildcats
As part of the conservation work of the endangered Iriomote wildcat, we will work to prevent roadkill. The headquarters for “Picchio” is located in Karuizawa and since March 2021, they have started activities on the island and will be in charge of this conservation project. At Karuizawa, they aim for successful coexistence between humans and bears, where they focus on the balance of “protecting the safety of humans” and “avoiding the extinction of wild bears.” The know-how obtained will be used for Iriomote island.

<Introduction on conservation activities>
・“Yamaneko School” – Starting August 1, 2021
Utilizing the know-how of ecotourism acquired from Picchio, a specialist group that loves forest wildlife, our staff will provide explanations based on videos of predatory scenes of Iriomote wildcats and data on the number of traffic accidents. We hope that guests can learn about its value and importance by acquiring the correct knowledge, leading to an indirect contribution towards the prevention of roadkill.

・Informed Check-in
In order to contribute not only to the protection of Iriomote wildcats but also to the conservation of Iriomote Island’s biodiversity, we will inform all guests about the manners to protect Iriomote Island when checking in. By creating opportunities to obtain information, we aim for guests to become aware of nature and the island’s natural environment during their stay.

Hoshino Resorts Iriomote Hotel
Address: 2-2 Uehara, Taketomi-cho, Yaeyama, Okinawa, 907-1541
Number of Rooms: 139
Check-in: 3:00 pm/Check-out: 11:00 am
Price: Starting from 14,000 JPY per night per person in a 2 person room (includes tax and service charge and breakfast)
Directions: Approximately 45 minutes by ferry from Ishigaki Port, 10 minutes by car from Uehara Port
Website: https://www.hoshinoresorts.com/en/resortsandhotels/uniquehotels/iriomote.html

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