Recently, the term “workation” has been increasingly prevalent. This fusion of “work” and “vacation” entails working while travelling away from home. With the Japanese government actively promoting workation in Japan, there has been a notable upsurge in accommodation providers offering tailored workation plans.

When it comes to workation in Japan, the balance between work and holiday varies for each individual. It can be a 50/50 split or tailored to suit personal preferences. Workation can manifest in various forms, ranging from a short break with paid time off to group training sessions aimed at refreshing oneself while on the move.

We’ve curated a range of examples to illustrate the essence of a workation, its associated benefits, and key considerations. Whether you’re keen to embark on this hybrid experience yourself, we’ve also compiled a list of 10 highly sought-after cities in Japan ideal for indulging in a workation.

A Quick Intro to Workation in Japan

Workation in Japan What is Workation

Workation originated in the US in the 2000s and has been gaining momentum in Japan since around 2019 as a means to utilise paid holidays and invigorate local communities.

The concept aims to facilitate paid holiday usage by enabling individuals in Japan to work while on vacation, thereby alleviating concerns about work piling up or colleagues reaching out.

However, it’s crucial to note that working during leave does not equate to working while on paid leave. Legal requirements mandate a clear distinction between “work leave” and “paid leave”, with each type of leave being tallied separately.

Even a brief period of work during a holiday constitutes working time, although cases where individuals are unpaid or not obliged to work are not uncommon. To address this, some companies have begun formalising work holidays.

Different Forms of Workation in Japan 

Companies’ Work Holiday Schemes

Workation in Japan Companies' work

Japan Airlines introduced a system in 2017 where workers participate in repairs to the Kumano Kodo while working in Shirahama Town, Wakayama Prefecture. They encourage individuals to adopt this workation system and create an environment where they can work and take time off, such as attending regular meetings from home or on the road. N

omura Research Institute holds regular workations in an old private office in Tokushima Prefecture. About five system engineers stay at the office for a month and interact with the residents after their normal work.

Facilities Specifically Designed For Work Trips

Workation in Japan Facilities
Credit: Mitsubishi Estate

Considering the strength of Wi-Fi and security, new facilities have been created exclusively for workers. Mitsubishi Estate opened “Workation Site Nanki-Shirahama” in Wakayama Prefecture in 2019, which can accommodate up to 16 people per company for 100,000 yen per day. Inns and other accommodation facilities are increasingly offering workation plans.

Many hotels and inns now provide Wi-Fi and other communication facilities, as well as offering substantial discounts for long-term stays and plans that do not include meals.

Workation Supported By Local Authorities 

Workation in Japan Local authorities 
Credit: Kumano Travel

To encourage people to stay in Japan for a longer period of time, experience the good points of the region, and increase immigration and human exchange, local governments are also taking part in workations. In Tanabe City, Wakayama Prefecture, Akizuno Garden has set up a teleworking environment in an old primary school building. During the workation, participants can experience farming and exploring the area.

The Benefits of Workation in Japan

Easier to Take Long Holidays

Workation in Japan It's easier to take

If you want to take a week off but can’t because you have a meeting to attend on one day, with a workation in Japan, you can take a long trip by having a remote meeting during your holiday.

You might not want to work while you’re on holiday, but if you can get in touch with work when you need to, it’s easier to take time off. You can also turn random public holidays into major holidays.

Less Stress and More Refreshing

Workation in Japan Less stress

It’s refreshing to work in an unusual place, neither in the office nor at home. Even if you work the same hours as you do in the office, you can look out of the window and see greenery. It’s a different level of enjoyment. You can stay in a resort with your family, work in the morning when they are at the beach, hang out with your children in the afternoon, and work again later in the evening.

New Motivation and Ideas

Workation in Japan New motivation

A change of environment can refresh us in more ways than we can imagine. Interacting with locals, sightseeing, and other local experiences can lead to new ideas and motivation. Workation in Japan offers a unique opportunity to blend work and leisure, providing a refreshing change that can inspire creativity and enhance productivity.

Things to Pay Attention to During Workaction 

Track and Manage Actual Working Hours

Workation in Japan Track and manage

Check your company’s rules and regulations on how to calculate your working hours and wages during your workation in Japan. The cost of travel and accommodation varies depending on whether it is treated as a business travel expense or if it should come out of your own pocket.

Choose a Holiday Destination with the Facilities You Need for Work

Workation in Japan Choose a holiday

Wi-Fi is a must, but depending on whether you prefer to work alone in your room or in a large workspace with a sense of freedom, or if you want a work table and printer, make sure to choose a holiday destination that has the equipment you need according to how you want to work during your workation in Japan.

Beware of Work-Related Data Breaches and Computer Theft

Workation in Japan Beware of work-related data

Be careful about information leaks due to poor Wi-Fi security in your accommodation and other places of travel, as well as the theft or loss of computers containing important data during your workation in Japan.

10 Best Cities in Japan for Workation

1. Amami Oshima, Kagoshima Prefecture

Workation in Japan Amami Oshima

Amami Oshima is about 2.5 to 3 hours by plane from Haneda/Narita. It is an island with abundant nature that has gained a lot of attention since its registration as a World Heritage Site. Experience yoga in the wilderness, traditional dances, get in touch with the local people and history, and enjoy your workation in Japan as if you were living on an island.

2. Taketomi Island, Okinawa Prefecture

Workation in Japan Taketomi Island

It takes about 3 hours by direct flight from Haneda to Ishigaki Island. Taketomi Island is about 10 minutes by high-speed boat from there. It is perfect for those who want to enjoy a long and leisurely stay on the island, away from the busy daily life, making it an ideal destination for a workation in Japan.

3. Goto Islands, Nagasaki Prefecture

Workation in Japan Goto Islands
Credit: JNTO

It takes about 2 hours from Haneda to Nagasaki Airport, then about 30 minutes from there to Goto Tsubaki Airport. Goto City has a church selected as a World Heritage Site and is said to have the most beautiful beach in Japan. The sea, mountains, and food are incredible here, and you can enjoy communication with the islanders. Although it is a remote island, more and more people are coming here for a workation in Japan.

4. Nanki Shirahama, Wakayama Prefecture

Workation in Japan Nanki Shirahama

It takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes from Haneda to Nanki Shirahama Airport. The beautiful blue sea, the world heritage Kumano Kodo, and the hot springs are all amazing to help you enjoy and relax during your workation in Japan.

5. Onna Village, Okinawa Prefecture

Workation in Japan Onna Village

Less than 3 hours by plane from Haneda and about 1 hour by car from Naha Airport, you will arrive at Onna Village in Okinawa. Here, you can work while enjoying the extraordinary and resort feeling in front of the sea. By staying in the central part of the main island, you can easily move around the island, and on holidays, enjoy sightseeing tours on the main island and cafe tours in Okinawa, making it perfect for a workation in Japan.

6. Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture

Workation in Japan Karuizawa

Convenient access from Tokyo by Shinkansen in about 1 hour and 10 minutes, Karuizawa is a resort area that you can easily go to. On holidays, you can enjoy shopping at outlets in addition to nature, so it is a spot for two birds with one stone. There are many villas in Karuizawa surrounded by mountains. The remote working environment is also in place, and there is a wide variety of restaurants and shops that are indispensable for long-term stays during your workation in Japan.

7. Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture

Workation in Japan Atami

It takes about 45 minutes to get here by Shinkansen from Tokyo Station. It’s close to the city centre, so it’s a nice place to stay just in case you need to return suddenly if something goes wrong. You can enjoy the seafood while being healed by the hot springs at the Ogori-juku. During Spring, the Atami Plum blossoms are also very beautiful, making it an ideal spot for a workation in Japan.

8. Furano / Biei, Hokkaido

Workation in Japan Furano

From Tokyo, it takes about an hour and a half from Haneda to New Chitose Airport. Then, it takes about 2 hours by car from there to Furano. It is full of popular scenic spots such as the blue pond, “Biei Hill” which became famous for posters in commercials, and the road which is said to be “the most beautiful road in Japan”. These make Furano/Biei a fantastic destination for a workation in Japan.

9. Seto Inland Sea, Ehime Prefecture

Workation in Japan Seto Inland Sea

Autumn is the best season to go cycling. A great way to enjoy the islands of the Seto Inland Sea is by cycling around the 60km Shimanami Kaido that connects Onomichi City in Hiroshima Prefecture and Imabari City in Ehime Prefecture. It takes about an hour and a half from Haneda to Hiroshima Airport. From there, it takes about 50 minutes by car to Onomichi, the entrance to the Shimanami Kaido, making it an excellent location for a workation in Japan.

10. Yatsugatake, Nagano Prefecture

Workation in Japan Yatsugatake

About 2 hours by car from Tokyo or about 2 hours by train, Yatsugatake is a beautiful destination surrounded by mountains. It offers a peaceful and serene environment, perfect for a workation in Japan, with plenty of outdoor activities and stunning scenery to enjoy.

Embracing the Workation Trend

What do you think about workation? Will you visit one of these places for workation? With the popularity of workation and the increase of acceptance in this culture in Japan, we can see that both domestic and international companies have slowly adapted this into their working culture.

Hope you will get to enjoy workation and be able to use this opportunity to discover the less well-known side of Japan.