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About us


Japan Ecolodge Association (ECOLA) endeavors to disseminate the ecolodge concepts by offering the GSTC recognized Environmentally Sustainable Accommodations International Standard (ESAIS) and the certification program. We firmly believe that the locally operated low-impact nature-based lodges with educational and interpretative programs can lead to help conservation and improve sustainability of surrounding nature while revitalizing the local economy.

Sustainability Policy and Performance


We have re-generated a GSTC recognized ecolodge checklist to raise the awareness of conservation and sustainability for ecolodge members. Our policy is to gather information and promote sustainable accommodations in Japan under the International standard. Performance can be measured by reading our criteria and self-audit results of our members. In June 2008, we have first introduced a registration/certification system based on the old 110-item checklist. Currenty we offer a 148-item checklist for the lodges to choose either be a certified or a registered member. The certified members have a grace period of two years that they can self-audit, however after the third year, ECOLA conducts the external audit for its authentification.

Environmental/Ecological Impact

Choosing products of 'green purchasing' and 'energy conservation' can assist minimize the impacts. We encourage members to use them as each product offers detailed information on environmental impacts provided by Green Purchasing Network and The Energy Conservation Center.

Social/Cultural Impact

Each of our member ecolodge is small scale and run by one or a small group of operators. Because of its location and scale, tourists are guaranteed for full attention of the operator(s) to appreciate both social and cultural practice.

Economic Impact

We are a non-governmental and non-profit organization that mutually benefit with local economy where ecolodges are located. We are supported by donations of responsible tourists and companies. All interests accrued on our postal savings will go to International Voluntary Aid.

Innovative Best Practices

Japan seems to focus 'eco' concepts that are more ECOnomical than ECOlogical. This is also applied on 'eco'tours and 'eco'lodges. We promote the true ecolodges under the International standards not to be swayed by economical means. This grass-root activity is slow to blossom but should be carried out with scrutiny.


Our mission can be achieved by:

  1. offering workshops on environmentally-friendly accommodations, ecotourism, sustainable town management, etc., promoting and researching in the pertinent field
  2. disseminating new and renewable energy, energy conservation, recycling and other pertinent environmentally-friendly technologies
  3. benchmarking and accrediting environmentally-friendly accommodation facilities
  4. establishing national and international network and data collection pertinent to 1,2,and 3
  5. offering consultations on institutions and tourism indusrty pertinent to 1,2, and 3
ECOLA board

Executive Director

Masaru Takayama
13 years of residence outside Japan and knowlege of energy conservation and green building materials. Handles international and national networking. The founder of ECOLA and a chair of Asian Ecotourism Network..

Deputy Executive Director

Yasuhiko Ohba
Energy conservation specialist on ESCO projects. CEO of I-bmss (Integrated Building Management System & Service) based in Mishima city, Shizuoka.


Akashi Yasuhiro
Auditor by profession at I-bmss based in Mishima city, Shizuoka.

Board Member

Kimio Kanda
Professional photographer, travelled to Madagascar and other African countries and Costa Rican for years. Conducts resarch on endangered species with environmental ministry, help eradicate invasive species. Currently resides in Yanbaru forest in Northern Okinawa. A renowned birder.

Board Member

Masanori Murata
IT guru tries to make contributions to sustainable society. Website, programming, other vital IT system integrator. Dreams on taking a long vacation in the ecolodges.

Board Member

Nozomu Takigawa
President of Adventure Vacations Network that streches its membershiip nationwide from Hokkaido to Okinawa. Based in Chiba and elsewhere.

Board Member

Masayuki Yomo
Planning manager of PICA based in Yamanashi. Sustainable cottage, campsites, education program are his fortes.

Board Member

Hitoshi Sekiguchi
Owner/parent of Shiretoko Iwaobetsu and Mashuko Youth Hostels in Hokkaido. Executive Director of Shiretoko Nature School. His ample experience is essential for our souce of knowledge.

Board Member

Mei Hashimoto
Working at Center for Regional Sustainability Initiative in Akita International University. Also assisting WCPA Japan.

Board Member

Ushio Tsukie
Motivated in a rural Japan, she implements community empowerment programs especially in Shuraku Maruyama - rural luxury inn.

Board Member

Akiko Iwata
Representing Ai Design Creative Studio as Landscape Architect/Graphic Designer based in USA.

International Advisor

Hitesh Mehta
Ecolodge guru and landscape architect based in Florida. A founder of Ecotourism Society of Kenya (ESOK) and a board member of The International Ecotourism Society (TIES). Main author of International Ecolodge Guidelies.
Office Address

Japan Ecolodge Association

223-17 Kamiyanagicho, Yobaidori Shinmachi Higashiiru
Shimogyoku, Kyoto 6008301, JAPAN

TEL:+81-(0)75-204-8965(from 9-17 M-F observe our time zone GMT+9)


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