If I have to pick the most sustainable and environment-oriented country I have visited, Japan will definitely be right up there in my top three. You can “read ” environmental awareness everywhere. The number of people riding their bikes and hiking across the stunning nature is enormous. In every neighborhood, there is at least one local food market, where everything is fresh, mostly organic, and super healthy. Renewable energy and nuclear power plants supply huge portion of the overall energy consumed by the country.
The traffic is incredibly busy, yet very silent. The first day I walked the streets of Osaka, I thought I have lost my hearing. Most cars are hybrids or fully electric (having special license plates, and paying very low taxes), and the main roads are made of silencing pavement. If I could pick one negative, that would be the amount of plastic packaging the Japanese use, but this is compensated by the huge dedication to recycling.
On this note, I would like to tell you about, what I consider, one of the best pubs in the world- Rise & Win Brewing. The main specialty on the menu is the home-made brew, which has become one of the most famous craft beers in the region. The pub also offers food and sells general necessities to the local residents, and the few super lucky tourists.
What makes the place extra special, is its eco-conscious image. The pub is located in Kamikatsu– a town fully committed to zero waste living. The main facade of the building is made of reclaimed double-pane windows. The rest of the building is mostly built from various types of recycled materials.
The company, which designed and built the building, is called Hiroshi Hakamura & NAP. These guys are all about building community-oriented architecture, with focus on sustainability. The architects made a special effort to collect and reuse windows from old houses.
This gave a very special feel to the front facade. It became a symbol and a silent reminder that the population of the town is decreasing rapidly. The interior of the pub is also very remarkable. The walls are covered with old newspapers, the tiles are recycled from other buildings and the main chandelier is made of bottles, collected from around the area.
There is so much creativity that went into this building. Although almost everything is recycled, the place has a certain class to it. It is very friendly, and suitable for visitors of all ages. Most of all, however, it brings so much joy to the local community. While laughter can be heard already from the street, the waste materials make it even more special. It triggers memories, and encourages the locals to continue with their incredible efforts to reuse and recycle waste.
Amazing place, beautiful nature, wonderful people, tasty food, local beers and produce, and continuous joy- what else would you need?!
What a wonderful initiative, which sets a great example. A must-see place when visiting Japan.
Image (c) Hiroshi Hakamura