The Kamikochi Imperial Hotel: Becoming a Sustainable Hotel that Coexists with Nature Sustainability

Having abundant nature around us is truly the greatest luxury.

Kamikochi, Japan’s famous scenic mountain area at an altitude of 1,500 m, was recognized as a national cultural property (a place of scenic beauty/special natural monument ) in 1928.
Since then, over 1.2 million sightseers and mountain climbers have visited annually and been deeply moved by the remarkable scenes of magnificent nature here.
In order to ensure that this incredible natural environment can be passed on to the next generation, the Kamikochi Imperial Hotel has made significant progress on various initiatives intended to contribute to achieving SDGs and has set its sights on becoming a sustainable hotel that coexists with nature.

Installing a Water Fountain (1F Lobby)

A water fountain was installed on the first floor of the lobby, allowing guests to freely take with them spring water from Mt. Roppyaku for their walks in 2023. Enjoy this renowned water, which stays constantly chilled at around 8 degrees Celsius. We are taking various initiatives to be a hotel that coexists with nature.

Going Plastic-free

We replaced disposable plastic items at our hotel with environmentally-conscious materials in order to reduce both marine debris and CO2 emissions.
Focusing on materials with a low environmental burden such as bamboo and wood, we have been changing all guestroom amenities (toothbrushes, hairbrushes and razors, etc.) to items made from bamboo and wood. In doing so, we have reduced the amount of plastic used when compared to conventional items by approximately 90%. We have also made changes such as swapping plastic bottles sold in the hotel with paper containers, aiming for an annual reduction of more than approximately 5,000* items.

  • *
    Compared to 2019 usage figures

Achieving Net-Zero CO2 Emissions

The Kamikochi Imperial Hotel recognizes the importance of nature.
To address the serious global issue of climate change, since April 2022 the Kamikochi Imperial Hotel has been operating with net-zero CO2 emissions from energy used at our hotel.
We have introduced environmentally-conscious CO2-free energy (Shinshu Green Electricity) from electricity generated by the Shinshu region’s abundant water sources, such as the Sai, Chikuma, Kiso and Tenryu rivers. And for kerosene and gas, we do carbon offsetting* through credit purchasing.

  • *
    Carbon offsetting refers to purchasing greenhouse gas emission reduction credits from companies that have reduced or absorbed greenhouse gas emissions by implementing energy-efficient or renewable facilities or through forestry management, etc., initiatives that compensate for greenhouse gas emissions by contributing to emission reduction and absorption at other places.

Finest Hospitality: The Natural Water from the Foot of Mt. Roppyaku

We hope that all our guests will have a chance to try this natural water that is a gift from the mountains.
At an altitude of 2,470 m in the southern part of Kamikochi, Mt. Roppyaku is covered by Veitch's silver-fir and northern Japanese hemlock. Rain that falls here is gradually filtered and collects to form a remarkably clear underground water source. This water source becomes the Shimizu River spanning 300m in total length, and upstream of Kappa Bridge it merges with the Azusa River.
At the Kamikochi Imperial Hotel we draw water straight from the source using the siphon-style method, which does not use any kind of motor or electricity, and guests can always enjoy our famous cold water at around 8 degrees Celsius.

The Secret Behind Kamikochi’s Famous Water

Blessed with a rich water environment, Nagano Prefecture has many famous and secret waters offering good water quality, incredible scenery and historic value. These include 15 particularly remarkable spots known as “famous and secret Shinshu waters,” and the rich spring water of Kamikochi has been certified as one of these. The Kamikochi Imperial Hotel is a member of Kamikochi Beautification Association. We are working together with everyone in the local community to protect these pure spring waters.

Ensuring This Beautiful Scenery Lasts

The exterior appearance—log cabin style with iconic red roofs—has been carefully preserved since the hotel first opened in 1933. Even when the hotel’s construction was changed from wood to reinforced concrete through full-scale renovations in 1977, finishing materials for the new interior and exterior maintained the appearance of wood and ensured that the hotel would look nearly unchanged even after the renovations. Maintenance measures are undertaken, such as techniques allowing the replacement of aging wooden parts, and preservation and management continue even during the approximately six months of winter when the hotel is closed.
In order to ensure that this continues to be one of the great views of Kamikochi, we will continue to prioritize hotel buildings that harmonize with nature.

Rules for Protecting the Nature of Kamikochi

Located in a special protection area, Kamikochi is a national park, a nationally designated place of scenic beauty and a special natural monument. In order to protect this beautiful nature, we would like guests to follow an additional two rules along with our previous five.

The 3Rs for Recycling Food Waste

All food waste at the Kamikochi Imperial Hotel has been composted at an environmentally-friendly factory since 2015 with the goal of reducing our food waste disposal to zero. We contribute to a virtuous cycle by having our restaurants use vegetables grown with that compost rather than relying on chemical fertilizer or agricultural chemicals, and the entire hotel is actively pursuing the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle).