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©Transit General Office Inc. SATOSHI MATSUO

The Little Town with Big Dreams of Zero-Waste Performance


The Tokushima prefecture town of Kamikatsu is a study in how to survive in a sustainable world


In 2003, the mountain town of Kamikatsu, in Tokushima prefecture, became the first municipality in Japan to declare a goal of “zero waste.” Since then, it has made huge strides toward its target, introducing ideas such as widespread household composting, upcycling of local materials, and increasing the emphasis on recycling. In fact, the recycling rate has reached 80 percent, with local residents sorting their recyclable garbage into more than 45 different categories. This is done at the WHY facility, the central hub of the town that functions as a community center, a shared working space and a free-cycle shop. For visitors, it also serves as the highlight of the zero-waste facility tour. 



The town’s commitment to the zero-waste concept is visible wherever visitors may go. The striking WHY hotel is built of re-used materials and is run with zero-waste principles. (Even the sign is made of upcycled parts.) A local workshop sells items made from disused kimono and other materials. The Rise & Win craft brewery filters all its waste and collaborates with local farmers—even growing its own wheat and vegetables. And a biomass boiler heats the hot-spring waters of the local Tsukigatani onsen Tsukinoyado. 


It's easy to see why this little community with big dreams has become an inspiration and a popular destination for visitors interested in how the world can move toward an SDG-conscious society.


Access: 10 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station to Shin-Kobe Station by Shinkansen bullet train, then about 2 hours by car.



Kamikatsu Zero Waste Center


7-2 Shimoniura, Fukuhara, Kamikatsu-cho, Katsuura-gun, Tokushima-ken


approx. 180 min. or more




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