10 Great Reasons to Live in Nagano, Japan
Japan is a fascinating country, mixing tradition with futuristic innovation. Its rich culture, unique food, tourist hotspots, shrines, temples, and quirks make it a great choice for travellers. Some foreigners choose to stay in Japan to live, sometimes to work as teachers or translators.
Japan is home to not only a warm island in the south, but also a colder island in the north, and everything in between. Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo are popular choices for foreigners. This article lists ten reasons why Nagano Prefecture is a great choice when deciding where in Japan you may want to live.
10. Cooler Summers
Because of the higher elevation and its location in the mountains, the often humid summers of Japan are significantly cooler in Nagano. In large cities such as Tokyo, June to August are often so hot that it feels unbearable to even go out of doors. Nagano's cooler climate means more hiking, biking, and enjoying the sunshine, with less panting under the air conditioner.
9. It's in Nature
Nagano is home to some stunning parks and natural attractions. Parks such as Matsumoto Alps Park and the Kita-Yatsugatake Ropeway offer walks, biking trails, hiking, and visits to temples and shrines. On a weekend, people will often visit these parks for a pleasant walk to relax and enjoy nature, have a picnic, or spend some time with friends and family. There are also often events held, either for national holidays or one of many races.
8. There Are Cities Too
As well as being home to some of Japan's most breathtaking nature, Nagano also has many larger cities for your metropolitan fix. Shopping, restaurants, clubs, and bars aren't out of reach. Cities such as Matsumoto, Nagano City, and Ueda are easily reachable from any part of Nagano for a more city-based day or night out.
7. You Can See Monkeys Bathing in the Hot Springs
If seeing monkeys relax in a natural hot spring isn't a great reason to at least visit Nagano, I don't know what is.
6. Nagano's Signature Dishes
Nagano is home to unagi, a very famous dish consisting of eel, usually served with rice. Soba, or buckwheat noodles, is also an excellent choice. There are countless soba and unagi restaurants all over the place, so if you visit, be sure to sample the local cuisine that Nagano boasts to the rest of Japan.
5. It's Safe From Tsunamis
Because of its location and mountain ranges, there is no danger of tsunamis in most parts of Nagano. This is important—after the disaster of March 2011, there are even greater precautions against the very real danger of tsunamis, or tidal waves.
In towns close to the sea, if there is an earthquake, an immediate tsunami warning is given. In Nagano, you won't have to worry about this.
4. Geographically Convenient
As well as being safe from the dangers of tsunamis, Nagano is located near the middle of the Japanese main island, Honshu. This means that not only is it only a few hours from Tokyo, it's only a few hours from Osaka and Kyoto as well. Not only is it close to these popular cities, but Matsumoto airport offers quick flights up to the northern island of Hokkaido. If you live in Nagano, visiting other parts of Japan is fairly straightforward.
3. A High Life Expectancy
Perhaps it's the fresh air, the soba noodles, or the vast amount of sports events held every year, but Nagano has the highest life expectancy in Japan and one of the highest in the world.
According to the Washington Post, the average life expectancy for women in Nagano is 87.2 years, and 80.9 for men. Healthier lifestyles and exercise have contributed to Nagano being the home of Japan's longest living people. Another great reason to move to this beautiful prefecture.
2. Skiing and Snowboarding
Nagano attracts tourists from all over Japan and even overseas when the winter season comes round. Around Christmas time and after, skiing resorts all over the prefecture open for business. If you live in Nagano, skiing and snowboarding trips aren't far away at all, and you can either discover a skill you didn't know you had, or practise your favourite winter sports almost at your doorstep.
Locations in Nagano such as Chino offer many places where you can ski and snowboard. Most places will rent out equipment to visitors, so that if you only want to try it once, that's fine too.
1. Outdoor Pursuits at Your Doorstep
If you love to hike, Nagano is perfect for you. Although it's nowhere near the famous Mt. Fuji, Nagano is home to many beautiful mountain ranges that are perfect for anything from a gentle walk to a hardcore climb. If you love the outdoors, and you'd like to experience the Japanese 'changing colours' of autumn, cherry blossoms in spring, days out in the park in summer, and skiing resorts in the winter, Nagano would be perfect for you.