The Nagano Lifestyle: Jobs & Employment in Nagano
As Nagano’s No.1 tour operator and destination management company, Snow Monkey Resorts connects you to work in Nagano City and the broader region including its many ski resorts.
Home to the world-famous Snow Monkeys of Jigokudani and host of the 1998 Winter Olympics – with more than 70 ski resorts and world-class powder – Nagano is one of the few rural areas in Japan which can proudly boast of an international profile and booming tourism industry. Nagano’s global profile is counterbalanced by its vast natural landscapes and traditional character, manifest in its quaint rural villages, seemingly endless farmlands, ancient temples, shrines, trails, and slower pace of life. A place of four seasons in which landscape and culture have always shaped each other, Nagano boasts Japan’s longest life expectancy and one of its highest standards of living – something we like to call ‘The Nagano Lifestyle’.
One of the few non-urban regions in Japan to enjoy an international profile, Nagano welcomes people from all over the world to enjoy its abundant nature and traditional way of life. The Nagano lifestyle places a premium on a health work-life balance, offering a slower pace of life and a strong connection to nature. Blessed with pristine natural landscapes, small, liveable cities and abundant farmlands, the residents of Nagano enjoy Japan’s longest life expectancy and one of the highest qualities of life. Whether you are looking for seasonal work, to relocate permanently, to start a business or to invest in property, Nagano is ideally-placed for healthier, better way of life.
Nagano Prefecture boasts the second highest rate of employment of any region of Japan, including the second highest rate of employment for women. For foreign residents living in Japan, and those abroad looking to work here, jobs for foreigners in Nagano usually fall under five broad categories:
Seasonal / Ski Resorts
Whether you live in Japan or are based overseas and looking to work in Nagano, seasonal jobs in one of Nagano’s many ski resorts. Typically running from early December until the end of March (or as late as May for a select few resorts), the winter season means lots of jobs including hotel, restaurant, cafe and bar staff, resort jobs including ski/snowboard instructors and lift operators, day-care staff and more. Allowing workers to live at or nearby a resort, seasonal jobs aren’t the highest payin positions but allow workers to enjoy one of Asia’s best winter sports destinations. But seasonal in nature, most jobs related to the ski season don’t exist outside of winter.
Tourism & Service Industry
The good news is that Nagano attracts plenty of visitors throughout the year, supporting many tourism and service industry jobs. Jobs in year-round tourism for foreigners are harder to come by but do exist – including tour guides, writing online content and other tourism-related positions – and represent a great option for establishing yourself in a meaningful career in Nagano. In addition, there are plenty of service industry jobs – hotel, restaurant and cafe staff being the most common – including positions that don’t require a high-level of Japanese langauge. If you’re for full-time work in Nagano and a chance to improve or use your Japanese on a daily basis, these jobs just must be for you.
Nagano has more farmers than any other prefecture in Japan and has farms producing more than one hundred types of vegetables, fruit, grains and meat. While a job in agriculture may not be an obvious choice for foreigners in Japan, there are plenty of opportunities, many of which also do not require high-level Japanese. The pay varies grealtly however this again can be surprising, with some work paying well and if nothing else, keeps you active and fit. Another chance to improve or use your Japanese, the seasonal nature of agriculture work – mostly required from spring to autumn – combines well with jobs in and around the ski resorts and combining to provide year-round employment.
Many foreigners in Japan find employment teaching English in public schools – from kindergarten through to high school and university – or private ‘eikaiwa’ (languages school). In addition, many opportunities also exist for teaching other foreign languages. Many positions pay well however there’s considerable variety in pay and conditions between schools – especially when dealing with private langauge schools or going through a hiring company – meaning the really good positions are hard to come by.
Given the quality of life on offer in Nagano, many foreigners relocate here and work remotely or with plans to start their own business. Nagano’s lower population and significantly lower property prices and cost of living (in comparison with Tokyo and other major cities), mean there is less competition and lots of opportunity for enterprising people. Many people come with an intention to start a business related to the ski resorts and while this sustains many people living here, you might just be surprised where the best opportunities exist with the region’s many ‘onsen’ (hot spring) towns, rural villages and liveable cities often being attractive places to setup with incentives often on offer by local authorities.
CURRENT JOB OPENINGS IN NAGANO