Bioenergy has been promoted in Japan with ambitious targets. However, the incentive schemes excluded renewable heat and overlooked synergies with local forest management, leading to the development of large-scale biomass plants that heavily rely on overseas biomass supplies. This case report discussed an alternative scenario of decentralised bioenergy systems supported with local biomass through five important questions. The currently available knowledge indicates that such a scenario is feasible with integrative forest management that considers both ecosystem services and multiple uses of wood. In addition to various environmental benefits, replacing imported fossil fuels with local biomass can also enhance energy security. Realising this scenario requires careful consideration of local context, empowerment of local governments and encouragement of both public and private initiatives.