Fundamentally, Tokyo is the capital and the heart of Japan. Tokyo is a megacity of Japan, consisting a grand total of 13 million individuals as per census 2019 in the greater Tokyo area. Megacities are known to have a grand total of 10 million or more. Tokyo is ranked as the 11th most expensive city to reside in the world.
TOKYO – THE HEART OF JAPAN
Tokyo is the megacity and capital of Japan, located on the main island of Honshu. The city is a grand city on so many levels of advance technology, engineering, diversity of Japanese people, neon lights and signs, colorful billboard advertisements, a ton of anime advertisements, as well as the center of business, foreign imports/exports/trade, and commerce.
For me, travelling to Tokyo, Japan was one of the greatest, most favorite, most memorable, and most inspiring visitations I pulled off in my years of travel! This was my 3rd time out to Japan in my 31 years, and each time just seems to get better and more uplifting. Travelling to Tokyo was also a rather eye and mind-opening experience overall. I could not fathom just how impeccably advanced and clean all of Tokyo was as soon as I stepped into the terminal at Narita International.
(When in Narita International, and all you see is squeaky clean, Photo credit - Jessica Aleksandra, J. Aleksandra Photography)
Not only was the airport of Narita of such massive cleanliness and not seeing a single speck of dust or trash lying around on the floors or corners or edges.. Goodness, the whole terminal at Narita was just flawlessly clean and well-taken care!
When it comes to overall quality and standards in the country of Japan, cleanliness and organization are one of the few of many characteristics that are off the charts. The same can be said as to the conditions of the floors and the sanitary conditions of any shop, bakery, restaurant, shopping outlet, mall, bank, post office in Tokyo! Guaranteed! I am not even joking when I say this...
(In a local bakery shop, GG Co., in Chou District, Tokyo, Japan, Photo Credit - Jessica Aleksandra, J. Aleksandra Photography)
Let alone, even in the streets and the sidewalks of major districts within Tokyo, as well....
(Look at just how tidy these streets truly are... Chou District, Tokyo, Japan, Photo credit - Jessica Aleksandra, J. Aleksandra Photography)
In fact, volunteers come out during the day time, once a day of every day (paid or unpaid) to help clean the litter off from the streets and the sidewalks.. There are groups and groups of volunteers who come out to the streets of Tokyo who collect litter into plastic bags. Yes, plastic bags are still a thing... But, these volunteers' gracious deeds do not go unnoticed!
(Volunteers pick up little bits of litter from those disrespectful Japanese tourists or foreign tourists, either or, in a busy Ginza District, Tokyo, Japan, Photo credit - Jessica Aleksandra, J. Aleksandra Photography)
Truly, everyone does his or her part to maintain the overall cleanliness and tidiness within the city streets, sidewalks, and interior of shops, homes, schools, businesses, and such public facilities and buildings. No matter where and no matter what... Whether the person is a young child, a teenager, a young adult, an older adult, a business professional, a politician, a financial investor, an elite, a poor villager, whomever it may be... It is commonplace for a Japanese raised individual to always pick up after him or herself. Litter is seldom seen in any areas of Japan, no matter where you go. Truly, even in the slums and poorer villages, the Japanese roots shall persist! It is Japanese practice, custom, and tradition in one's everyday life to maintain utmost cleanliness that has been passed down from generations to generations. In Japan, there is definitely a prevailing idea that clean is always good.
THESE ARE AMONGST THE TOP 4 REASONS AS TO WHY JAPAN IS SO CLEAN and just how tremendously faithful the Japanese people are to maintaining cleanliness at all times:
1) No public trash cans?
One of the most awe-inspiring and first things you will see as a traveller in any area of Japan is the lack of public garbage disposal. That's right. You would think that at every corner of every street should be a garbage disposal, yes? Well, in Japan, that is not the case. Is it a law? How do you throw away trash if there are no visible garbage disposals nearby? Well, public garbage disposals are... discouraged. Is this a mind trick? Yes, it is. Since there are little to no garbage disposals nearby, this forces the Japanese people to keep a hold of his or her trash till reaching any visible garbage disposal.
What about littering? Well, litter fines, if caught, are through the roof! If I am not mistaken, for every piece of litter is
(Not a single trash receptacle can be found by the naked eye at any corner of the bustling streets of Chou District, Tokyo, Japan, Photo credit - Jessica Aleksandra, J. Aleksandra Photography)
Some people often carry a plastic bag for potential garbage disposal throughout the progression of the day. Generally, the Japanese people do not expect others to take care of their waste. You would think so? Yes, going back to my previous comment, it is very true the Japanese individuals were taught at a young age about cleanliness and picking up after him or herself. This becomes almost like some classical conditioning method instilled in young children. Yes. Japanese children are taught to always take responsibility of his or her own messes and actions. So, where are the garbage disposals? Well, in people's homes, public restaurants, shops or businesses, coffee shops, banks, and such public facility. There are just no garbage disposals outside at the corners of streets and sidewalks.
2) Tidying up garbage at businesses and mass/public transportation
Japanese culture, for one thing, is all about tidiness. Hence why Marie Kondo attempted to make her tidy appearance and influence to the United States and Canada. But, that is another story. One reason you will receive a bag at any shop, grocery, or convenience store is, of course, to order what you need and then the bag helps with keeping everything in one place. This bag will also be used as one's garbage disposal throughout the day. Like horrid plastic bags here in the US, they will be our garbage disposal for the day, right? For those who travel on mass transportation, commuting can be a ****, of course, and long distance rides are one of the worst to deal with.
In Japan, mass transportation have a unique garbage disposal system. There are individual trash bags provided at every seat for every newcomer to sit down. The conductors or service attendants come around with extra plastic bags for disposal per new rider. This truly encourages people to use their own individualized plastic bag for his or her trash disposal (or probably just to take an extra plastic bag for his or her plastic bag collection at home) rather than tossing trash blindly on the floor, being a slug, or leaving trash behind on his or her seat.
(Even by the public bus stations such as that in Ueno District, Tokyo, Japan, there are no receptacles to be found... except when you jump on a bus, that is... Photo credit, Jessica Aleksandra, J. Aleksandra Photography)
While it does seem like a waste of plastic (and, trust me, plastic is horrific for this earth), this concept still is ongoing and active in Japan, encouraging people to always mind his or her mannerisms of cleanliness and tidiness at all times, wherever you are.
3) Japanese homes and all forms of businesses are expected to maintain cleanliness within their property
Why would you need street cleaners when you have yourself! Yes, the cleanliness extends even at the home environment or business/shop of everyday life and work. Every morning in Japan, when you stumble across young children to older adults sweeping the dirt and picking up small bits of trash and into a plastic bag or garbage receptacle, yes, he or she is doing his part in Japan!
(Local villages of rows of homes in Asakusabashi District, Tokyo, Japan, are completely litter-free... It does not matter which socioeconomic status you hold in Japan. The morals and life lessons of cleanliness and picking up after yourself remains steadfast. Photo credit - Jessica Aleksandra, J. Aleksandra Photography)
Oh, in addition, there are actually garbage disposal bins next to outdoor vending machines - not all the time, but on occasion
(No trash bin next to this vending machine... hmm... Asakusabashi District, Tokyo, Japan, Photo credit - Jessica Aleksandra, J. Aleksandra Photography)
4) Volunteer programs and litter cleaning organizations help keep awareness
These non-profit organizations in Japan are pretty huge! These litter cleaning organizations take pride in the the pursuit of litter-halting to a most unprecedented level. Most commonly heard in Japan is the non-profit organization of Greenbird, that is found in many prefectures throughout Japan. Greenbird invites everyday commoners, citizens, villages, elite businessmen and women, the young and the old, to join a monumental movement of maintaining utmost cleanliness! These non-profit organizations volunteer once a day, everyday!
(Again, from an above photo depicts volunteers from non-profit organizations hard at work - Photo credit, Jessica Aleksandra, J. Aleksandra Photography)
Talk about dedication and loyalty to the clean way of life! You would think these volunteers would pick up tossed food, empty or non-empty beverages, paper, waste, etc.... Nope, very little to none of that, actually. Instead, the volunteers pick up little bits of 2-cm wide paper bits, 1-cm wide plastic wrappers, and cigarette butts with medical gloves and metal tongs. Yes, you guessed that right! You would not even see these little tidbits on the streets or sidewalks since they are just so tiny and almost unnoticeable. However, that is the whole idea behind Greenbird. Greenbird encourages everyday clean, no matter what - pick up the little bits before they accumulate.
(Even a narrow alleyway, far from the main streets, is completely tidy here in Asakusabashi District, Tokyo, Japan, Photo credit - Jessica Aleksandra, J. Aleksandra Photography)
We should really learn a thing or two regarding overall cleanliness from the Japanese! Honestly speaking, this is a most marvelous thing!