MyMizu Free Water Refill App

For healthy & sustainable tourism

By Sébastien Duval    - 5 min read

Great for budget, health and sustainability-minded tourists, Japan's first water refill app shows you nearby water fountains, environment-friendly shops, and other places to fill your bottle with drinkable water for free, reducing your expenses and your consumption of plastic bottles.

Water All Over Japan

Tourists can use the MyMizu app from Hokkaido to Okinawa while walking in famous areas of Tokyo metropolis or Kyoto ancient capital, cycling in the countryside, driving off the beaten path... Every Japanese prefecture has some of the 5,800 registered spots, at obvious destinations for sustainable tourism such as Kamikatsu "No-waste" village in Tokushima prefecture but also on small islands: 2 on Amami Oshima, 12 on Yakushima "Princess Mononoke island"...

Off the beaten path. (Photo: <a href="https://www.socialinnovationjapan.com" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">Social Innovation Japan</a>)
Off the beaten path. (Photo: Social Innovation Japan)

Living near mountains, I was surprised to see spots near my home when I used the app for the first time! I then discovered that it would have been useful during my stroll in Hagi city, during my cycling tour from island to island on the Shimanami-kaido, and during my 9-day road trip in Fukui, Gifu, Ishikawa and Toyama prefectures.

Refill spots all over Japan (grouped for clarity).
Refill spots all over Japan (grouped for clarity).

Using MyMizu App

No registration required for this free app available on iOS & Android since 2019; just install to:

  • Find free water refill spots near you, open now.
  • Add refill spots. Thanks for helping future tourists with a photo and comment!
  • Track your impact. Feature off by default to respect your privacy.

The English interface of this fast simple app is clear even on small smartphone screens. Spots get grouped with a counter when zooming out, and colours differentiate natural springs, public spots (e.g. water fountain in a park, train station or city hall), and private spots (e.g. tea shop, souvenir shop).

Refill spots on Amami Oshima small island: blue = public (forest), yellow = private (inn).
Refill spots on Amami Oshima small island: blue = public (forest), yellow = private (inn).

If you activate the tracking, you can learn how many single-use plastic bottles you have avoided, how many kilos of CO2 emissions you have prevented, and how much money you have saved by refilling your bottle! Data covers yourself and the MyMizu community; so far, the users avoided 11,000+ bottles, reduced their carbon footprint by 3,700+ kg, and saved 1,220,000+ yen (11,500+ dollars).

Avoid single-use plastic bottles with MyMizu!
Avoid single-use plastic bottles with MyMizu!
Prevent CO2 emissions with MyMizu!
Prevent CO2 emissions with MyMizu!

MyMizu Team & Initiative

The MyMizu team favours environmentally responsible behaviours. Its app is not dedicated to sustainable tourism; it was simply created to ensure nobody ever has to buy bottled water again. The name MyMizu combines "My" with the Japanese word meaning water "Mizu" so "MyMizu" = "My Water".

First water refill at the airport. (Photo: <a href="https://www.socialinnovationjapan.com" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">Social Innovation Japan</a>)
First water refill at the airport. (Photo: Social Innovation Japan)

Can you trust the team & app? The registered NPO Social Innovation Japan runs MyMizu, I have known its great founders Mariko McTier and Robin Lewis for years, and MyMizu got international & Japanese recognition such as:

  • Winner of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Youth Co:Lab Japan Social Innovation Challenge.
  • Selected into the Aoyama Startup Accelerator Program supported by Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
  • Selected for the Nippon Foundation Social Change Makers Accelerator Program.
MyMizu team. (Photo: <a href="https://www.socialinnovationjapan.com" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">Social Innovation Japan</a>)
MyMizu team. (Photo: Social Innovation Japan)

Travel Tips: Health & Sustainability

Stay hydrated to remain healthy and avoid stress, especially during hot summers in Japan. No worry if you drink a bit too much: tourists can find free & clean restrooms all over Japan in parks, train stations...

Use MyMizu app to get drinking water; it is good for Earth and your wallet, and Japanese water typically tastes fine.

Stay hydrated during your daily run! (Photo: <a href="https://www.socialinnovationjapan.com" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">Social Innovation Japan</a>)
Stay hydrated during your daily run! (Photo: Social Innovation Japan)

Recommend the app to other travellers. Reducing plastic consumption and the related waste should help preserve the beauty of Japanese landscapes & beaches as well as the health of local animals & ecosystems.

Beautiful & clean Tsukiga beach.
Beautiful & clean Tsukiga beach.
Healthy squirrel in Kamakura.
Healthy squirrel in Kamakura.

Combine MyMizu and Japan Travel. MyMizu's coffee/tea shops, restaurants, hotels, and other businesses support sustainability and hospitality, which makes them great places to consider for a meal (local ingredients? organic food? vegan option?), hot/ice tea, night... For complementary reviews, seasonal photos, and accessibility information (big luggage? cane? stroller?), check articles written by Japan Travel community members. If there is no matching article yet, consider writing one soon after your visit!

Free refill at a coffee shop. (Photo: <a href="https://www.socialinnovationjapan.com" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">Social Innovation Japan</a>)
Free refill at a coffee shop. (Photo: Social Innovation Japan)

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Sébastien Duval

Sébastien Duval @sebastien.duval

Certified tour guide (Tokyo City Guide, AISO) and Japan Travel writer. I enjoy outdoor hot springs, tasting vegan/vegetarian food, and hiking. Feel free to get in touch about promoting Japan! Come live in Japan and enjoy it every day :) Also on LinkedIn: https://jp.linkedin.com/in/sduval On my list of places to discover: Ginzan Onsen in winter. Iya valley. Mosque of Kobe (first built in Japan). Mount Aso (the only active volcano in Japan?) Takeda castle especially when one can see a sea of clouds. On my list of sights to enjoy, some in 2018: Artistic rice fields in Inakadate (Aomori prefecture). Autumnal bushes of Miharashi no Oka. Flying squirrels (Nagano Prefecture). Nanzo-in Buddhist temple to see its statue of Fudo-myo with a dragon head (Sasaguri, Fukuoka). Nikko Tosho-gu during winter. Sunset at Osanbashi (Tokyo).

Join the discussion

Geraldine Buergel a month ago
That is such a good idea! I usually use the app maps.me when I'm out hiking and it also shows me some water refill spots, but it seems to be lacking data for Japan, so there are a lot of spots it doesn't show.
Sleiman Azizi a month ago
Water in Japan is good quality.
Kim B a month ago
Great initiative, for both the environment and the wallet!