For a sustainable society, many municipalities and companies actively commit to SDGs. Our objective is to feel these commitments while we have fun sightseeing.
First, we visited "Minato Eco Plaza" in Hamamatsucho to learn about the commitment toward sustainability inside Minato Ward.
"Areas such as Roppongi and Shinagawa are going through cutting-edge city development. Minato Ward, having many headquarters of large companies, has committed to environmental protection from an early stage. Above that, because of its large number of embassies, Minato receives a lot of attention from around the world. The area has had interests in sustainable development such as SDGs from a long time ago."
Says Mr. Akio Saijo, the person in charge of planning at Minato Ward Eco Plaza.
Minato Ward Eco Plaza (Eco Plaza) is an environmental learning facility in Minato Ward. Built in 2008, it has been opening more than 100 lectures and events every year with four themes: carbon-free society, environment-friendly society, recycling-oriented society, and SDGs.
The inside of the facility is full of sunlight, and you can feel the warmth of the wood. The round counters, one-wood piece table, and wood panels on the ceilings are stylish.
There are other ecological mechanisms in the facility. The wooden racks on the wall have chairs made with reinforced cardboard called "Tri-wall."
There are goldfish and tiny Yamato Shrimp, popular among children, in the aquarium near the counter. There is a biotope around the entrance. Dragonfly nymphs and killifish live in an environment close to their natural habitat.
Minato Ward connecting with all over Japan with wood through uni4m
In the Eco Plaza, Mr. Saijo taught us one sustainable commitment unique to Minato Ward named "Minato Model Carbon Dioxide Fixation Certification System."
The system started in 2011. Minato Ward made a pact with 81 municipalities and urged the use of Japanese lumber in buildings inside Minato. The amount of carbon dioxide fixed in those buildings is certified.
Mr. Saijo says, "Through lumber, a network between Minato Ward and municipalities around Japan is created. Food and sightseeing are often used to connect municipalities, but using environmental protection to create relationships is a completely new perspective."
One characteristic of this certification is that it includes a wide variety of facilities from offices to commercial facilities. Many popular sightseeing spots have the "Minato Model System" certification such as "The Okura Tokyo" at Toranomon (which uses cypress wood from Maniwa, Okayama), "Starbucks Musubu Tamachi 2nd Floor" in front of JR Tamachi station (which uses oak wood from Yuzawa, Akita), "Bunkitsu" bookshop in Roppongi (which uses oak wood from Katsumaki, Iwate and chestnut wood from Kanayama, Yamagata), and the new facility complex "Satsunotsuji Square," which would open this April.
Minato is not a producer of lumber, but the city contributes to forest maintenance and carbon dioxide reduction by making relations with "wood producing towns" all over the country and actively using Japanese lumber.
"There are many places in Minato where you can feel the history of the city. Not only are there obvious places such as temples, but if you delve into the backstreets, slopes with names from the past are left as they are. 'The protection of cultural heritage' is one goal of the philosophy of SDGs. I think that cherishing nature and history is proof that Minato Ward has been caring about sustainability," said Mr. Saijo. We learned that Minato Ward has been actively creating a sustainable society long before the word SDGs has been made.
Feeling the wind of SDGs through sightseeing Takeshiba and Aoyama
Next, we will be introducing a few spots outside of Eco Plaza where you can feel the SDGs.
The first place is "Takeshiba Higata." The tideland is next to "Waters Takeshiba," consisting of Atre Takeshiba, Gekidan Shiki Theater, and Mesm Tokyo, a luxury hotel. The tideland was created to revive the Edo-front ocean with a variety of organisms. The new tideland is still incomplete, with organisms gradually gathering. Every second Sunday of the month, the tideland becomes open to the public as "Takeshiba Higata Open Day."
In "Port City Takeshiba," there is a step terrace named "Takeshiba Shinhakkei." Here, eight sceneries of "rain, water, island, rice paddy, scent, garden, bee, and sky" is created on a terrace facing Shibaura Wharf. It sends a message of the importance of biodiversity from the heart of the city. There are many benches and tables on the terrace, so taking out food from nearby restaurants and having some lunch surrounded by greenery is one way to enjoy.
The next facility "ITOCHU SDGs STU-DIO" in Tokyo Metro Gaienmae station. Inside the facility, there are many exhibitions related to SDGs by various groups. Also, in the ethical convenience store next to the facility, many products related to SDGs are sold. Many cutting-edge items from all over the world with sustainability at its roots such as fair trade, up-cycle, zero waste, and vegan themes. It is a place where you can understand SDGs by a company with headquarters in Minato Ward.
Other than that, there is the green curtain that appears during summer at the Minato City Hall, the biotopes in Kametsuka Park and Mitadai Park, "Shibamitsu" honey from Shiba Area produced by Shiba BeeBee's Project, the "Traditional Cultural Exchange Center" in Shibaura that utilizes traditional construction, and the "Minato Kagakukan" where you can experience and learn the relation between city and nature. There are many other places and commitments all around Minato Ward. We welcome you to Minato Ward to feel the wind of SDGs and have fun!
[Major spots introduced in this article]
Minato Ward Eco Plaza Address: 1-13-1 Hamamatsucho, Minato Ward, Tokyo Opening Hours: 9:30AM to 8:00PM Closed: Every fourth Monday *If the fourth Monday is a holiday, the day after that is closed https://minato-ecolpaza.net