The Nagano Lifestyle: ‘Staycation’ or ‘Workcation’ – The New Long-Stay Travel Trend in Japan
If you’ve considered making travel plans over the past year – which for many of us means dreaming of a day when you really can travel freely again – chances are that you’ve come across two travel trend terms that are likely to play a big part of both domestic and international travel as we move into a post-COVID world.
The terms ‘staycation’ and ‘workcation’ – sometimes spelt ‘workation’ – have quickly become part of the travel lexicon but nevertheless are worth explaining in detail.
In its most narrow sense, a ‘staycation’ refers to taking a vacation or holiday in your home country, and typically very close to where you live. Staycations have rapidly gained popularity due to the travel restrictions forced on many of us as a result of COVID-19. Unable to travel abroad or often even into other regions of their home countries, many people have opted to indulge themselves a little with holidays where, or very near to where, they reside. Often short-term, staycations involve all manner of accommodation (if any at all) and activities with the emphasis of relaxing and unwinding nearby home.
In contrast, a ‘workcation’ is an extended vacation or holiday that involves also working for periods of your getaway. Workcations are enjoyed anywhere – near where you live, in another region of your home country or abroad – and very in length and character. A workcation might just be a short mid-week get-out-of-town that allows you to take your work with you, or multiple months away from home. Blending leisure and work, workcations look set to become an increasingly travel option for many people.
Enjoy an extended ‘staycation’ or ‘workcation’ in Nagano, Japan
While the words differ in their exact meaning, they are often used interchangeably and not limited to their precise definition, being used as general terms for the growing trend of long-term stays that blend work and pleasure.
Many foreigners living in Japan are fortunate enough to have flexibility and mobility with their jobs, allowing them to pack themselves off and work away from home on an extended staycation. With the emphasis on ease and relaxation, Nagano is ideally-placed for those looking to getaway and escape the grind of the city.
Under 1.5 hours from Tokyo using the Hokuriku Shinkansen, Nagano is one of the few non-urban regions in Japan to enjoy an international profile. 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. So why not come see for yourself on an extended staycation… you might just be tempted to stay forever.
Nagano boasts multiple ski resorts, mountain resorts and onsen towns that offer the perfect base for an extended stay. Whether you are coming in the midst of winter to enjoy some of Asia’s best skiing and snowboarding while continuing to work, or will be heading here in spring, summer and autumn to enjoy Nagano’s cooler climate and the beauty of its natural landscapes, finding longer-term accommodation in around the resorts, onsen towns and nearby villages is a great option for your staycation or workcation in Japan.
RECOMMENDED LONG-TERM STAY DESTINATIONS IN NAGANO
Selecting accommodation in or nearby one of Nagano’s ski resorts, mountain resort towns or hot spring villages provides a wide variety of options ranging from large hotels to private chalets, restaurants, cafes and seasonal activities to enjoy throughout the year. If you would like to enquire about the availability and price of a longer stay at any hotel listed on our website, please use the ‘Inquiry’ button below and provide the following information:
— name and/or location of your preferred accommdoation
— your intended length of stay
— preferred travel/accommodation dates
— number of guests (if children are included, please include their age/s)
— preferred meal options (if any)
— any other requirements
Once we have received your inquiry, we will get back to you within 48 hours. Here are some of the most enjoyable long stay destinations in Nagano:
YUDANAKA & SHIBU ONSEN
Ideally-located for a longer stay in Nagano, the historic hot spring towns of Yudanaka Onsen and Shibu Onsen are home to numerous guesthouses, including traditional ‘ryokan’ many of which are family-run. As such, many guesthouses afford a homely atmosphere ideal for a longer stay with the option of including breakfast and/or dinner. Readily accessible from Nagano City using the Nagano Dentetsu (Nagaden) train service to Yudanaka Station – only 45-minutes – and within easy reach of the Jigokudani Monkey Park, Shiga Kogen Ski Resort and broader Joshinetsu National Park, and smaller resorts of Kita-Shiga Kogen, Yudanaka and Shibu just might be the place for you.
For accommodation listings, see our ‘Yudanaka & Shibu Onsen’ hotel page.
Sitting high above Yudanaka and Shibu, Shiga Kogen is home to Japan’s largest and highest ski resort, boasting Nagano’s longest season – from late-November until May – including the region’s best spring-skiing and snowboarding. Nestled within Joshinestu Kogen National Park, Shiga Kogen offer plenty to due through spring, summer and autumn as the melting snow reveals a fertile landscape of forests and mountain peaks offering some of Nagano’s best hiking, running trails, nature photography and pure relaxation.
When heading to Shiga, we recommend Hotel Grand Phenix. Nestled deep within the national park, Grand Phenix is a European-style mountain hotel known for its spacious comfort, fine dining and indulgent amenities including mineral baths, pool, multiple restaurants and lounge and easy access to the surrounding landscape.
And right now, the hotel is offering big discounts for long-stay visitors including workcations this summer. Click the banner above to jump to our ‘Beat the Heat: Hotel Grand Phenix Summer Promotion’ page to get a great deal now. For other accommodation listings in the area, see our ‘Shiga Kogen’ hotel page.
Approximately 60-minutes drive from Nagano Station, Hakuba is home to Nagano’s most popular and international ski resorts. Attracting visitors from all over the world, Hakuba boasts the greatest choice of high-end accommodation of any resort area in the region, including luxury chalets and self-contained accommodation. With plenty of high-end restaurants, cafes and shopping now dotted through Hakuba, there’s just as much reason to visit and stay outside of winter in what is quickly becoming a favourite all-year-round destination for many people.
For accommodation listings, see our ‘Hakuba’ hotel page.
Another of Nagano’s most popular ski resorts, Nozawa Onsen is easy to reach from Tokyo, using the Hokuriku Shinkansen to Iiyama Station. From Iiyama, regular shuttle buses will drop you in the centre of Nozawa – only 25-minutes drive from the station – where you’ll find plenty of accommodation including hotels, ryokan, and private chalets. Super busy in winter, Nozawa is a very different place in spring, summer and autumn as people stroll is characterful and quiet streets enjoying its many hot springs, family-run restaurants and green season activities including yoga, hiking and mountain-biking.
For accommodation listings, see our ‘Nozawa Onsen’ hotel page.
IIYAMA & MADARAO
Across the valley from Nozawa – and also readily accessible via Iiyama Station – Madarao is a small but popular ski resort known for its big powder and tree zones. Outside of winter, Madarao is also quickly establishing itself as a great green season destination, with activities including hiking and mountain-biking. Accommodation in Madarao is more spaced-out with a good selection of family-run lodges and private lodges.
For accommodation listings, see our ‘Iiyama & Madarao’ hotel page.
On the backside of Madarao and actually located in Niigata Prefecture, Myoko Kogen is home to five ski resorts known for their truly epic powder. Similar to Madarao, most accommodation in the region is family-run with some private lodges also available and plenty of nearby hot springs. Very quiet outside of winter, Myoko Kogen is ideally-suited to those wanting to really get away from the hassle and hum of life, and enjoy a long stay in beautiful rural tranquillity.
For accommodation listings, see our ‘Myoko Kogen’ hotel page.
NAGANO CITY inc. TOGAKUSHI
Located within the boundaries of Nagano City, Togakushi is one of the region’s hidden gems. Accessible using local buses from Nagano Station, Togakushi is in every other sense a world away from the usual distractions and hassles of daily life. Home to some of Japan’s most important Shinto shrines and fantastic hiking and mountaineering, Togakushi is the type of place you visit for a week but end-up staying for a lifetime.
For accommodation listings, see our ‘Nagano City’ hotel page.
MATSUMOTO inc. AZUMINO
Another tranquil enclave technically within the boundaries of a built-up city, Azumino is a picturesque rural area known for its abundant farms, hot springs, and museums and galleries. Accommodation ranges from traditional ryokan to family-run lodges, self-contained accommodation, and Japan’s first ‘BIO Hotel’, Yasuesou.
For accommodation listings, see our ‘Matsumoto’ hotel page.
Lying to the south of Nagano City and Matsumoto, the beautfil Kiso Valley is most famous for its historic Nakasendo Trail, verdant forests and emerald rivers. With plenty of accommodation to choose from, the Kiso Valley and wider Kiso-Ontake Mountain Range is the ideal escape from the city.
For accommodation listings, see our ‘Kiso Valley’ hotel page.
Always popular, the mountain resort town of Karuizawa is easily accessible from Tokyo using the Hokuriku Shinkansen. Home to plenty of high-end accommodation, shopping and restaurants, Karuizawa offers an escape from the summer heat and humidity while retaining the refined touches of Tokyo life in the mountains.
For accommodation listings, see our ‘Karuizawa & Kusatsu Onsen’ hotel page.
Serviced by Echigo-Yuzawa Station and the Joetsu Shinkansen, Yuzawa boasts Niigata’s most popular ski resorts and plenty of green season activities through spring, summer and autumn. Home to big hotels and smaller ryokan, you’ll need to head outside the town to find smaller, self-contained accommodation set among the forests and foothills of the mountains.
For accommodation listings, see our ‘Yuzawa & Niigata’ hotel page.