Trial Teleworking in Toyama


Happy New Year 2022 and Happy Chinese New Year of the Tiger!

I hope that everyone had a restful and joyful start to the new year.

One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to try the new normal trend of “Working From Anywhere” (WFA) that has been accelerated due to the COVID pandemic. Hence, I recently completed a 2-month trial of teleworking in Toyama Prefecture!

It was a novel experience for me to telework in new stimulating environments and have the opportunity to immerse myself in local sights, culture, and food during breaks and after work. In this article, I will share some of what I learned about the cities I visited in Toyama prefecture. From the two largest cities of Toyama City and Takaoka City, to coastal towns of Himi, Uozu, and Kurobe, and the mountains of Nanto City, each had their inimitable charms.



私の新年の抱負のひとつは、COVIDの大流行で加速した「WFA(Working From Anywhere)」という新常識に挑戦することです。というわけで、先日、富山県で2ヶ月間のテレワークトライアルを終えました!


Teleworking in Toyama
Enjoying the evening view in Toyama City.

Table of Contents

Teleworking Trends in Japan

Around the globe, many have transitioned to “Working From Home” (WFH) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Despite promotion by the government in recent years, the utilization rate of telework had remained low in Japan. However, perhaps one silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic is the Japanese government’s“stay home” policy response that strongly encouraged companies to adopt teleworking. The working environment for many people in Japan has changed dramatically since, with surveys indicating that the overwhelming majority of employees believe that telework and digital conferencing are here to stay. 

As teleworking becomes more widespread, the popularity of “テレワーク移住” (terewaku ijyu) – the trend of people moving to the Japanese countryside while teleworking – has risen dramatically. Luckily for me, as I am placed firmly in the services industry (including media production, marketing, and business consulting at SeiRogai), most of my work is suitable for working remotely.

For a city girl such as myself, visits to the countryside with abundant nature are always appealing for short getaways from the hectic metropolis. The pandemic has only made the impulse to escape to more pastoral environments more urgent. Japan has 47 prefectures, all with their own heritage culture and a multitude of natural attractions that I have yet to discover. However, the idea of moving full time to the inaka (Japanese countryside) is – I will admit – quite daunting. Without first visiting and experiencing it in person, I would be hesitant to simply pick up and move for a longer-term stay, even on my most adventurous days. There is limited information available about the living environment and accessibility of necessary infrastructure that we often take for granted in a city. For example, the reliability of high-speed wifi would be a key requirement for effective teleworking and comfortable residential stays. Luckily, many prefectures around Japan have been promoting their co-working and teleworking facilities, so I took the opportunity to try living in Toyama!


コロナ禍により、世界中で多くの人が「在宅勤務」(“Working From Home”)に移行しています。 日本では近年、政府によるテレワークの推進が行われていますが、その利用率は低いままでした。しかし、COVID-19の大流行がもたらした一つの光明は、日本政府の「在宅勤務」政策により、企業にテレワークの導入が強く奨励されたことでしょう。その後、日本では多くの人の働く環境が大きく変わり、テレワークやデジタル会議が今後も主流になると考える社員が圧倒的に多いという調査結果も出ています。



  • コロナ禍 (Korona-ka)- the coronavirus crisis. Often used to refer to the general state of being in a pandemic or the impact of COVID-19 on society.
  • ステイホーム (Suteihōmu) or巣ごもり(Sugomori) ­– common phrases used to refer to Japan’s government’s “Stay Home” policy compelling everyone to stay at home and refrain from going outside.  Sugomori literally translates to “nesting”, “hibernation” or “shutting oneself at home”
  • テレワーク移住 (Terewāku ijū) or リモートワーク移住 (Rimōtowāku ijū) – literally translating to “Telework Migration” or “Remote Work Migration”, these terms refer to the trend of more people migrating or moving to the 田舎 (Inaka) and 地方 (Chihō)  – countryside and rural prefectures –  to live as they are now able to work remotely and do not need to commute to the office as often. 

About Toyama Prefecture

“Toyama” 富山 literally means “rich with mountains” – and the prefecture certainly lives up to its name! Toyama offers stunning views of snow-capped peaks known as the Northern Japan Alps, Japan’s answer to the French Alps. Located on the picturesque Japan Sea, the Hokuriku Shinkansen stops at 3 stations across Toyama Prefecture (Kurobe-Unazaki Onsen, Toyama, and Shin-Takaoka, just before arriving at Kanazawa City in Ishikawa Prefecture), all only about 250km Northwest and 2 hours from Tokyo. The Hokuriku Shinkansen was only opened in 2017 and is still relatively new, but the direct access to different locations in Toyama Prefecture made it surprisingly convenient. 



Where I Teleworked


【Toyama City 富山市】

Workbooth Sakura

Operating Hours and Fees for Visitors

Weekdays: 13:00~22:00   Weekends and Holidays: 9:00~19:00

Hourly: 550 yen

Daily: 3,300 yen


平日/13:00~22:00 土日祝/9:00~19:00

1時間ごと: 550円(税込)


My Experience

Pros: I appreciated that Workbooth Sakura was flexible to accommodate drop-ins without reservations and also allowed per-hour usage plans. Moreover, the location was very convenient close to Toyama station and City Hall. The office was very well equipped with many working stations available. The office is also open late, until 10pm on weekdays.

Con: The fee is a bit expensive for daily use. Moreover, hours are limited, especially on weekdays. If you need to work in the mornings during regular work hours on a weekday, it is not available until 1300. There is also no café for drinks or snacks on-site – only a vending machine.

<長所>Workbooth Sakuraは、予約なしのドロップインに柔軟に対応し、1時間単位の利用プランも可能な点がありがたかったです。また、富山駅や市役所に近く、とても便利な立地でした。オフィス内には多くのワークステーションが用意されており、とても充実していました。また、平日は22時までと遅くまで営業しているのも魅力です。


Sora no Mori

My Experience

Although I did not get to try this co-working space because it is not easily accessible by public transport, it looks nice and I would like to in the future! 

Pro: The coworking space provides all-day use for only 500 yen! There is a relaxing view of a garden, and the café is close by.          

Cons: The location is rather inaccessible for visitors without a car. Also, at the time of writing, the café and co-working space is only available for limited hours, 13:00〜17:30, and is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.


<長所> このコワーキングスペースは、終日利用が500円という安さです。庭が見えて癒されるし、カフェも近くにあります。 

<短所> 車がないとちょっと不便な場所にあります。また、この記事を書いている時点では、カフェ・コワーキングスペースの利用時間は13:00〜17:30と限られており、月曜日と火曜日が定休日となっています。

【Nanto City 南砺市】

Creator Plaza Sakura Crea
クリエイタープラザ  桜クリエ

Operating Hours and Fees for Visitors

Coworking Space: 9:00~17:00; 1,000 yen per day (discount vouchers for drinks and food at the café are provided)

Café Booth: 9:00~18:00; any order above 500 yen per day.

Open every day except Tuesdays.



カフェブース 9:00~18:00、1日500円以上の注文に対応。


My Experience

Pros: I enjoyed working at Sakura Crea as they allowed for convenient drop-in use without any need for prior reservation. Meeting rooms were also free to be used as long as they were available. I also appreciate the multiple areas provided, especially the café work booths, that allowed for a change of environment with drinks and food included in the usage fee. Many thoughtful facilities were included, as such the free printing and use of monitors. The Sakura Crea is especially conducive for creative work, and they even have a studio/atelier that can be rented. The location right next to Lake Sakuragaike was also perfect for a stroll during breaks. 

Cons: Both the office and café are closed on Tuesdays. The co-working space also closes a bit early, at 1700. Although the café booths are available until 1800, the entrance is a manual door and can be a little noisy next to the work booths as people walk in and out of the café.

<長所> 桜クリエでは、事前予約不要のドロップイン利用が可能なため、楽しく仕事ができました。会議室も空いている限り自由に使うことができました。また、複数のスペースが用意されており、特にカフェのワークブースは、飲み物や食べ物が利用料に含まれるため、仕事によって環境を変えることができ、とても良い感じでした。印刷やモニターが無料で使えるなど、気の利いた設備も多くありました。特に桜クリエはクリエイティブな仕事に適しており、スタジオやアトリエの貸し出しも行っているそうです。また、桜ヶ池のすぐそばという立地も、休憩時間の散策に最適でした。


【Uozu City 魚津市】

Necco Trial Office


魚津市トライアルオフィスのご紹介 necco(ねっこ)|魚津市 ( 

Operating Hours and Fees for Visitors

Mondays~ Saturdays, 9:00~17:00.
1000 yen per day.



My Experience

Pros: The necco trial office is located only about a 10-minute walk from Uozu station. There are 4 necco rooms, a meeting room, and a free interaction space. The private rooms were easy to use and conducive to concentrating on work while not having to worry about bothering other people when conducting online meetings. I also appreciated the office equipment and facilities such as the free printer. At the time of writing, I was able to participate in the monitor campaign where fees for short term usage (less than 60 days) were waived, which was a nice perk. It is great that this office is open every day during weekdays and regular working hours.

Cons: Submission of documentation (all in Japanese) to complete a prior reservation is required, and can be a bit time-consuming. The facility is in a school/community center so people are often walking about, and the walls are quite thin and not sound-proof. There is no café or vending machine on site.

<長所> neccoトライアルオフィスは、魚津駅から徒歩10分程の場所にあります。4つの「necco」ルームと会議室、そして自由な交流スペースがあります。個室は使い勝手がよく、オンラインミーティングを行う際も他の人に迷惑をかける心配がなく、仕事に集中できる環境でした。また、プリンターが無料で使えるなど、オフィス設備が充実しているのもありがたいですね。この日は、60日以内の短期利用が無料になるモニターキャンペーンに参加できたのも、うれしい特典でした。このオフィスは平日、通常の勤務時間内であれば毎日開いているのが使いやすいです。


My Experience Living in Toyama:
After Work Food, Sights, People

(仕事終了後の 食・観光・人)

Toyama City <富山市>

Historically, Toyama was a powerful castle town. Today, the prefecture’s capital city remains the center of Japan’s pharmaceutical industry and is home to the most substantial number of active glassworkers in the country. The city offers a gateway to the past with its Folk Craft Village富山市民俗民芸村 and traditional 19th-century wooden buildings. Toyama is a delightful combination of some of the most famous sashimi and sushi in Japan (especially renown for shiro-ebi, a type of white shrimp found only in Toyama Bay), award-winning pure water, and spectacular nature! 

During my breaks and evenings, I enjoyed exploring the history and culture of Toyama City while feasting on delicious local cuisine and seafood! Toyama Bay is Japan’s deepest bay with a max. depth of over 1200m, which results in an abundance of marine life. It is said that out of the 800 total species found in the Sea of Japan, 500 can be found in Toyama Bay!



Shiro-ebi is known as the Jewel of Toyama Bay and is served as a delicacy. Above, shiro-ebi served as a shrimp stick, tempura, and sashimi. It is particularly laborious to prepare shiro-ebi sashimi, as each shrimp is only the size of a paperclip and the shells have to be peeled by hand!

A delicious abundance of fresh local food from Toyama.

I was very fortunate that a friend, Imai-san, Chairman of Fuji Pharmaceuticals in Toyama City, kindly guided me to some amazing local restaurants and sights. He also told me more about the history of Toyama since the Edo Period (1603-1868), when the city developed as the center for medicine distributed throughout Japan, Interestingly, I learned that Toyama’s famous glass industry likely had its beginnings in medicine bottle production.

幸運なことに、富山市の友達、富士製薬工業株式会社の代表取締役会長 今井さんが、地元の素晴らしいレストランや観光スポットを案内してくださいました。富山の有名なガラス産業は、薬瓶の製造から始まった可能性が高いことも初めて知りました。

Left: Imai-sama, Chairman of Fuji Pharmaceuticals. Right: Chef Yunoki of one-starred Michelin restaurant Cave Yunoki.
左:富士製薬の今井会長。右: ミシュラン一つ星レストラン「カーヴ・ ユノキ」の柚木シェフ。

I would argue that Toyama city is also the center of fresh food and creative cuisine in Japan. Of the 20 Michelin-starred restaurants in Toyama Prefecture, the majority of them are in the capital city. We had the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful lunch at one-starred Cave Yunoki in a reformed Iwasemachi storehouse. Chef Yunoki crafts memorable fusion French dishes that highlight the flavors of local bounty, all served on tableware made by resident glassmakers and potters. 

Although less well known than nearby Kanazawa, many locals enjoy the spaciousness of Toyama city, where they can live in comfort while being only a short drive away from ski resorts and hiking in the Japanese Alps.



We drove about an hour from the city center to Shomyo Falls, the tallest waterfall in Japan. This huge waterfall drops 350 m as it roars and flows into the gorge, and reaches its maximum volume in Spring when snow thaws. The waterfall is named Shomyo (Buddha’s Name) because it is said that a Buddhist saint, Honen (1133-1212), once heard a Shomyo-Nenbutsu (Invocation of the Buddha’s name) through the roaring sound of the waterfall.

Nanto City <南砺市>

Arriving in the mountainous Nanto City at the Johana JR station, I was surprised at the variety of brochures promoting the city – they all featured different areas of Nanto as if they were completely distinct cities! Nanto City comprises of 6 main areas: the Gokayama Area 五箇山, 城端 Johana Area, 福光 Fukumitsu Area, 福野 Fukuno Area, 井口 Inokuchi Area, 井波 Inami Area, and 利賀 Toga Area. Until 2004, they were all independent towns and hence developed very different cultures.


Great experience of Autumn in Nanto City! My first time in Toyama Prefecture – thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful nature,…

Posted by Rachel Leng on Tuesday, November 23, 2021
Gokayama Area 五箇山

Japan’s old natural scenery can be seen in Gokayama, which contains the two World Heritage gassho-zukuri thatched-roof villages of Ainokura and Suganuma. Nanto City’s tourism department officials were kind enough to guide us on a drive to this renowned UNESCO heritage site.

These gassho-zukuri houses are named as such because the roofs are in the shape of gassho (a prayer). The thatched roofs require renewal every 10~15 years. The roofs are constructed from kaya (Japanese blood grass) which are easy to grow without any fertilizer and can be harvested within a year. However, the labor costs for building half of a new roof can cost up to 200,000 USD! At present, most of the kaya used for the gassho-zukuri houses in Gokayama are actually imported from Gifu prefecture. Nanto City is also trying to grow more of their own kaya as an SDGs project, but at the moment can only harvest around 3000 bundles of kaya per year, which is only sufficient to thatch half of the roof of 1 house. Although the Nanto City officials informed that they would like to grow more of their own kaya to be self-sustaining, labor costs are the main bottleneck.



Fukumitsu Area 福光

Fukumitsu is perhaps most well-known for its strong ties to folk art, but my personal highlight was visiting the Ishikuro Tanekouji-ten along its shopping street. 

The Ishikuro Tanekouji-ten is a Koji-ya (maker of Japanese malted rice) with over 130 years of history. It is the only Koji-ya in the Hokuriku region, and 1 of 10 left in Japan who specializes in the process. Koji is prepared by adding koji mold to steamed grains (rice, barley, soybeans, etc.). It is then carefully cultured in warm, humid conditions that promote propagation. Koji mold has been named the “national mold” of Japan due to its essential role in basic seasonings such as soy sauce and miso.  



It was invigorating to meet with the current owner and 16th generation of the Ishikuro Tanekouji-ten, whose face lit up with passion when explaining his products to us. The amazake was delicious (and good for beautiful skin)!


Ishikuro Tanekouji-ten 石黒種麹店
Inami Area 井波

Nanto is also well known for the Inami woodcarving town, which is believed to have been practicing the craft since 1390 C.E.! Numerous wood carving studios line the atmospheric stone-paved streets of Yokamachi-dori street. Wood carvings can be found all over, from phone booths to bus stops, filling the town with a rustic ambience and the clack of wooden mallets.



Numerous wood carving studios line the atmospheric stone-paved streets of Yokamachi-dori street in Inami.
Johana Area 城端

We were lucky to enjoy delicious food near Lake Sakuragaike, which is also where the co-working facility, Sakura Crea (see above section on “Where I Teleworked”) is located.

We enjoyed dinner with the Nanto City Mayor Mikio Tanaka at L’ensoleiller, a one-starred Michelin restaurant at the edge of the lake. The restaurant practices the theme of “local production for local consumption” and uses many local vegetables grown by local farmers combined with wild vegetables and seafood to create beautifully plated dishes.



Nanto City Mayor Mikio Tanaka

Mayor Tanaka also introduced us to a local sushi restaurant that had been operated by a lovely couple for over 47 years! Nanto is conveniently situated within 1 hour from both Kanazawa and Himi where a lot of fresh seafood is caught, and so has great sushi along with the typical meats and vegetables of mountainous areas. It was my first time to try squid ink sushi!


Takaoka City <高岡市>

Takaoka (高岡) is the second-largest city in Toyama Prefecture. It is historically known as a center of metal casting, and this industry still thrives in the city today. I was very impressed with my visit to the artistic Nousaku factory grounds, which also has a gallery, small store, and workshop. I came home with several beautifully crafted products for tableware and interior décor.


Takaoka’s emblematic Great Buddha (高岡大仏, Takaoka Daibutsu) is one of the three Great Buddha statues of Japan alongside the one at Nara’s Todaiji Temple and the Kamakura Daibutsu. The statue was completed in 1933 after three decades of work, utilizing local bronze casting techniques.

For those worried (like I was) about where to go shopping in the countryside, do not fear! There is a MASSIVE Aeon Mall right next to the Shin-Takaoka Shinkansen station, only about 1 stop away by train from Takaoka. There are over 200 stores and the mall covers a total floor area of approximately 140,000 m² (equivalent to the size of 20 football fields)!


Himi City <氷見市>

Just a 20-minute drive or 30-minute train ride from Takaoka is Himi City, famous for its fresh fish, especially buri (yellowtail) in the winter! Although I have had buri many times in Tokyo, I never knew that the fish would taste so different fresh. Moreover, it was the first time we tried buri toro (the fattiest part of the yellowtail) and buri shabu-shabu, which was absolutely delicious!


Uozu City <魚津市>

Toyama prefecture is surrounded in all directions by the ocean and mountain ranges, but Uozu City is where I experienced it the closest. From the 3,000-meter Japanese Alps, including the famous Tateyama Mountain Range, all the way down to the 1,000-meter depths of Toyama Bay, the steep grade of Toyama’s dynamic terrain is unrivaled around the world. It was truly a marvel to see the expanse of the sea on my left, and the imposing heights of mountains on my right in such close proximity.


Uozu City Mayor Akira Muratsubaki

The Uozu City Mayor Akira Muratsubaki was kind enough to show me around and tell me more about the city. Uozu has been known as the city of mirages since the Edo period. Although I could not see any during my stay in Uozu, they apparently appear from March to June as the result of a natural phenomenon where cool and warm air mix to create a mirage in the water visible in the spring.


Uozu Buried Forest Museum 魚津埋没林博物館

I enjoyed my visit to the Uozu Buried Forest Museum. The ruins of virgin cedar forests on display were buried and preserved naturally at this actual site over 2000 years ago. The forest consisted mainly of Japanese cedar trees (杉) with some large trunks on display that can be touched. It was a bizarre feeling to know that I was touching a tree from over two millennia ago.


Snow Crabs ズワイガニ

Anyone who loves crabs will want to stay in Uozu during the winter months. It is said that crab traps, the common method of catching snow crabs used today, were originally invented by an Uozu fisherman. It is no exaggeration to say that I went a little crazy for the crabs in Uozu!!


Found the crab lover’s place to call heaven 🤩🦀😍 Anyone want to take a guess where I am in these photos? 😉

Posted by Rachel Leng on Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Final Thoughts on Teleworking in Toyama


Less Stress with a Relaxed Lifestyle in the Countryside

Since the onset of the pandemic, I have been working remotely at a variety of locations in Tokyo – from my living room, to co-working spaces, to cafes and restaurants. However, although a good internet connection is easy to find, mental stress and fatigue build up when you are constantly working under artificial lighting and limited space.

I greatly enjoyed this first opportunity to have a 2-month trial telework experience in Toyama. It was a lot more fruitful and productive than I had initially expected. All of the co-working spaces I used were spacious and relatively empty. More importantly, it was nice to be able to enjoy being in nature and fill up on delicious seafood during breaks and after work. The slower and simpler way of life in the countryside was a nice breath of fresh air after hectic days of meetings, conference calls, or solitary work on the laptop.

I had heard a lot (mostly warnings) about the heavy snowfall in Toyama and was a little worried about staying there during the winter. However, the local city and prefecture governments take snow removal very seriously and I was impressed by how effectively many public roads are cleared (sometimes even 24 hours a day!). Although it takes some getting used to, it was not as difficult to walk or drive in the snow as I initially thought – and the winter scenery is beautiful!





❄️ Winter in Toyama ❄️ Can you believe the first photo was taken on a pig farm?? 🤣🐷🐖 Also, discovered buri…

Posted by Rachel Leng on Saturday, January 15, 2022

Friendly Local Residents and City Government Support

The opportunity to meet with local government representatives who showed us around their cities was invaluable. We obtained useful information about how to begin looking for available lands or real estate such as 空き家 (akiyas – vacant or abandoned homes) that may be suitable for longer-term stays or for the establishment of a satellite office. I was very surprised at how friendly everyone was and how well they received us. TIP: I would highly encourage anyone interested in spending some time in Toyama to reach out to the city hall, especially the departments in charge of attracting new residents.

At the time of writing, I was informed of various policies and incentives to attract people to move to Toyama, such as up to 1 million yen (about $10,000 USD) per family and 600,000 yen (around USD$6000) (about USD$10,000) per family in cash payments if one moves to Toyama from Tokyo!

It was insightful to meet with the locals in every city we visited to understand more about the local environment and economy, demographics, and tourism. Although Toyama Prefecture is not that large compared to other prefectures in Japan, I was surprised to discover so much diversity across industrial to mountainous to coastal towns. It was heartwarming to get a glimpse into the lives of residents, and better understand their hometowns from local perspectives.





Infrastructure and Services for the Younger Population

As I consider moving to the Japanese countryside, one factor that would be important for me is the opportunity to socialize and network with more locals, especially (younger) working professionals. Unfortunately, most rural prefectures in Japan are facing the social issue of a decreasing and aging population, and Toyama is no exception. It would be helpful to gain a better understanding of the kinds of services or support provided to younger families and working professionals for them to find moving to the countryside attractive.  

In some areas that we were in, especially up in the mountains and outside of the cities, the wifi access could get a bit problematic. Although it was fine for regular work such as email access and online meetings, it may be a bigger problem for those working in tech-related fields that need to download and transmit large volumes of data and use cloud services. 




Convenient Access from Tokyo

Ultimately, access to Toyama was surprisingly easy, and I can understand the convenience of people staying in the prefecture while teleworking and making trips to their company offices or business meetings in Tokyo when necessary. It would even be possible to do day trips to Tokyo due to the convenient and direct Shinkansen access. However, living in and getting around various parts of Toyama itself would be a bit inconvenient without a car (and understanding Japanese), which is a common issue for all areas of the Japanese countryside. However, as long as you have a car, I have no doubt Toyama can be a comfortable and beautiful place to live and telework!



What are some of your New Year’s resolutions?

Would you consider teleworking from Toyama, and potentially moving there?

Or, do you have anywhere else you might consider and recommend? Please do let me know!





About Rachel

Rachel Leng is COO and Co-Founder of SeiRogai, Inc., a Tokyo-based business consultancy & media production company. Previously, she was Leader of Business Development on the Investment Management team at a Japanese private equity fund, as well as Policy Analyst at a top think tank in Seoul, South Korea.

As an East Asia specialist and former Miss Singapore titleholder, Rachel is passionate about the potential of media to educate and raise awareness about history, culture, art, business, and societal issues to enhance mutual understanding.

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