It’s no secret that tourism is often an incredibly important component to a destination’s economy. In the past, overconsumption and polluting modes of transport have given tourism a bad name. Now more than ever, the future of tourism is focusing on sustainability, and Inabe, a city located between two of Japan’s busiest cities (Kyoto and Nagoya), is no exception.

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rendering of people walking on gravel path outside long rounded wood building

This is the setting for Ugakei Circles, a sustainable tourism project set to open in spring 2021, consisting of overnight glamping cabins, estuary camping sites and a centralized communal area. The project is a collaboration between Danish and Japanese design teams focused on sustainable tourism development and low-impact, regenerative tourism.

Related: Bee + Hive to help explorers book green hotels and sustainable tourism experiences

rendering of large circular wooden bridge over a creek

Responsible for the project are Danish architects Tredje Natur, Japanese engineers Structured Environment and sustainability experts Henrik Innovation. The plan is to build the new park on an existing campground using only renewable materials and repurposed building waste. Design plans for the center building and the central courtyard feature optimal micro-climate conditions with wind protection and an optimized roof profile that catches the sun rays in the winter and provides shade in the summer.

aerial rendering of several glowing buildings in a forest

The park will include an overnight section that accommodates permanent Nordic cotton tents and cabins suited to glamping as well as a public river plateau where guests can pitch their own tents. All guests can take advantage of the property’s hiking routes, ocean views, mountain creeks and several natural waterfalls. There is an education center for children and adults to learn more about the nature that surrounds them through activities, a community hub, reception area and spaces for shops and workshops. The nature park proposal highlights the importance of outdoor activity and circular gatherings, as early civilizations in Denmark and Japan often centered their communities around the universal shape.

aerial rendering of wood buildings in a misty forest

“We believe the future is about circularity,” said Flemming Rafn Thomsen, lead architect and co-founder of Tredje Natur. “Our proposal is composed by a family of circles that define a series of sustainable communities. The master plan and buildings embody a unique environment and a regenerative ‘hygge’ experience in nature. It is our hope that our project will become the base camp for a new type of regional nature-based development that promote sustainable awareness and brings the gift of nature to many urban dwellers.”

+ Tredje Natur

Images via Tredje Natur, Structured Environment and Henrik Innovation