Nagano prefecture local guide.biz is a site that introduces various information on Nagano prefecture in a directory format. This site supports vigorously-developing Nagano by providing local information such as restaurants, shops, companies, organizations and local events or exhibitions. This information site also introduces tourist spots, demonstration experiments and others. This page has been translated with the help of Nagano volunteer. Now, we are now looking for volunteers who can help us make the local guide.biz together!
In the old days, Nagano was one of the Ryosei provinces called “Shinano-no-kuni.” The Ryosei province was a local administrative division of old Japan. Nagano now belongs to Chubu district. Nagano has an area of 13,562.23 square kilometers, the fourth largest after Hokkaido, Iwate and Fukushima. It lies within the 200-kilometer zone of principal cities such as Tokyo and Nagoya and is convenient for transportation and logistics. This advantageous local environment has made Nagano the prefecture where people want to move to live the most. Nagano has a population of 2,022,807 as of August 1, 2022, the third largest in Chubu district after Aichi and Shizuoka. Nagano city, the seat of the prefectural government, has the largest population of 369,702 in the prefecture, which is followed by Matsumoto city and Ueda city. Nagano women’s average life span is the longest (87.67 years old) nationwide while Nagano men’s average life span is the second longest (81.75 years old) nationwide. Nagano is also a long-lived prefecture.
Bordering on eight prefectures, Nagano is a nodal point of the high-speed transportation network, making it a suitable prefecture for industries. Companies and human resources with high technology have been gathering there mainly from the processing and assembly industries. The industrial field amounting to approximately one-third of the prefectural gross domestic product (GDP) has been driving the prefectural economy. Regarding the high-tech industry, the precision machine and electronics industries are thriving mainly in the Suwa region which is called “the oriental Swiss.” The value of shipments for microscopes, electronic components and watches ranks first and second in Japan. Nagano’s GDP (8.2198 trillion yen) ranks third in Chubu district after Aichi (38.6601 trillion yen) and Shizuoka (16.6852 trillion yen) as with the population, and ranks eighteenth nationwide. (According to GDP ranking by prefecture)
Regarding the tourism, the number of Japanese sightseeing visitors who stayed overnight in or had a one-day trip to Nagano from within or outside the prefecture in 2019 was 32,867, which was the third largest in Chubu district after Shizuoka and Aichi, and the eleventh largest among the 47 prefectures of the country. The unit consumption cost was 22,000 yen, the fourth largest in Chubu district after Ishikawa (28,000 yen), Shizuoka and Yamanashi (both 23,000 yen). The number of visitors from overseas to Japan was 1,038, the fifth largest in Chubu district after Aichi, Yamanashi, Shizuoka and Gifu, and the seventeenth largest nationwide. The unit consumption cost by visitors from overseas in Nagano was 54,000 yen, the second largest after Aichi, and the twelfth largest nationwide. (According to the 47 prefectures ranking on visitors from Japan and overseas)
Nagano is aiming to realize “Beautiful Shinshu where people live a sure life,” which reflects the principles of SDGs incorporated into the comprehensive plan called “Happy Shinshu Creation Plan 2.0.” This reflects an SDG action principle, “anybody must not be left behind,” and the 11th of the 17 sustainable development goals, “town development enabling people to continue to reside.”
In addition, the prefecture put together the principal actions to achieve the SDGs into a SDGs future plan. The future plan, which aims at “the formation of an independent and decentralized society” to be realized by using the power of learning and self-government, led Nagano prefecture to receive the designation as a “SDGs future city” of the Cabinet Office in fiscal 2018.
Furthermore, to promote the awareness of the SDGs among the citizens of the prefecture and activities relating to the SDGs, the prefecture set up a portal site called “Shinshu SDGs Plaza.” The portal site actively supports “learning, interaction and practice” about the SDGs. For example, it provides information on events or seminars where participants can extensively learn the SDGs or videos covering people who are practicing the SDGs in the prefecture. It also provides articles or others posted on Nagano prefecture’s official Instagram, “Shinshu SDGs Diary.” These initiatives will lead to realize a sustainable lifestyle by taking advantage of Nagano’s rich nature and attracting industries or others that are seeking high-quality environment.
Nagano prefecture was selected as one of the “SDGs future cities” of the Cabinet Office along with other 28 municipalities for the first time in 2018. This selection was started the same year. Within the prefecture, Omachi city was selected in fiscal 2020, and Nagano city and Ina city in fiscal 2021, respectively as a SDGs future city. The government selects SDGs future cities from among the cities and regions where basic and comprehensive actions on the basis of the principles of the SDGs are actively taken. Among them, those are selected as SDGs future cities where high potential can be seen for achieving the sustainable developments through the creation of new values from the three viewpoints of economy, society and environment.
Nagano prefecture set up an information portal site called “NAGANO SDGs BUSINESS PORTAL” to introduce enterprises or others in the prefecture that are taking specific action to achieve the SDGs. Nagano also established its original registration system called “Nagano Prefecture SDGs Promotion Enterprise Registration System.” This system aims to promote initiatives for the SDGs by enterprises, create businesses relating to the SDGs with Nagano as the starting-point and keep a good relationship with enterprises or others.
As of September 10, 2022, there are about 1600 registrations. These registered enterprises have benefits such as appearance of their names on the prefecture’s home page or others and ability to display their registration marks on their own home pages, brochures, employee ID cards, or business cards for advertisement.
Bordering on eight prefectures, Nagano is a nodal point of the high-speed transportation network, allowing Nagano a suitable prefecture for industries. Companies and human resources with high technology have been gathering there mainly from the processing and assembly industries. The industrial field amounting to approximately one-third of the prefectural gross domestic product (GDP) has been driving the prefectural economy. Regarding the high-tech industry, the precision machine and electronics industries are thriving mainly in the Suwa region which is called “the oriental Swiss.” The value of shipments for microscopes, electronic components and watches ranks first and second in Japan.
Among the various industrial branches, many of the enterprises belong to the manufacturing industry. About half the top 100 sales enterprises in Nagano are companies from or companies associated with the manufacturing industry. In order of decreasing sales, the industry is followed by the wholesale industry, the retail industry 1, medical and welfare services, agriculture and forestry and fishery, the construction industry, hospitality services, other services, and finally transportation and postal services. Making the best use of Nagano’s traits, high technologies of precision, electronic information or others, the prefecture is eager to promote future growth areas through joint efforts of the public and private sectors.
Nagano has been selected as the prefecture where people want to move in to live the most for consecutive 15 years in a magazine called “Inaka-gurashi-no-hon” (the Book about Country Life) by Takarajimasha. Since Nagano Prefecture is nature-rich, comfortable to live and highly accessible to metropolitan areas, the number of people who move in to live there is growing every year. These positive results were achieved by the prefecture’s efforts under the slogan of “Making Nagano more attractive and comfortable.”
Nagano Prefecture has been making great efforts to develop more comfortable dwelling environments, utilize existing facilities more effectively and activate each town by making the best use of its traits and strengths, to realize a prefecture where everybody can live comfortably.
The “Shinshu Urban Design Center (UDC Shinshu),” which is one of the main programs to make Nagano more attractive and comfortable, was established in Higashigo Town, Nagano City, Nagano Prefecture in August, 2019. This establishment is a new form of organization and a hub where various regional entities work unitedly, with urban design experts objectively taking part. Its activities go beyond the frameworks of urban planning by the government and town development by citizens.
The UDC Shinshu holds “town development seminars” periodically to look for and educate talented people who can take responsibility of town development in the future. In the seminars, experts give lectures on various themes for participants to master the planning and space design required for town development and also the skills to communicate with or reconcile differences of opinion between various entities. The public, private and educational organizations support this program in union to promote the municipality development.
Based on “Nagano Prefecture’s Strategic Plan for Promoting Manufacturing Industries,” Nagano Prefecture has been taking various measures to promote the creation of industrial innovation by taking advantage of the prefecture’s traits.
Specifically, this plan aims to form and accumulate next-generation industries with international competitiveness and high added value, and to increase enterprises that take initiatives to promote the creation. The target fields are “health and medical,” “environment and energy,” and “next-generation traffic.” The target markets are “Asian emerging countries market,” “the market of which demand is expanding or expected to expand from advanced nations,” and “signatory nations to EPA and FTA.”
The “NAGANO Monozukuri Excellence” is a qualification system to internationally make public Nagano’s sophisticated technologies or innovative and creative products of enterprises in the prefecture, and to support them through prefectural projects. This system was started by Nagano Prefecture in 2013. As of 2022, 107 technologies or products of manufacturing enterprises from various industries have been qualified. Those qualified can receive an advertising support or preferential treatments such as display at an exhibit from the prefecture. More details can be found here.
In 2022, seven technologies or products were qualified as “NAGANO Monozukuri Excellence 2022.” They are “Okudake-suiryoku (compact water power),” the small-sized water-power generation unit of Arai Seisakusho Inc., “Best! HACCP,” the HACCP management system of Jinstep Research Inc., “NAV-ODC4,” the contaminant-bite-preventive intake-and-exhaust valve of Nippo Valve Co., Ltd., the fixed pressure regulator” of Nihon Pisco Co., Ltd., “HarmonicDrive🄬,” which is a registered trademark of Harmonic Drive Systems Inc., “PN-XERO-WONE,” the user-customized energy management system of Palcosmo Co., Ltd., and the solution-type production technology of Yoshida Industries Co., Limited.
In order to capture vigorous overseas demand in the increasingly globalized world, international cooperation is essential. Nagano Prefecture is actively building mutually beneficial relationships with foreign countries to strengthen business expansion into promising overseas markets such as emerging countries in Asia. Nagano Prefecture’s main initiatives include building a consistent marketing system from production to sales, expanding overseas sales channels to scale up marketing activities as “a sales bureau,” and supporting prefectural companies’ global expansion including assisting them to participate in overseas trade shows
Nagano Prefecture is also strategically promoting export expansion of agricultural produce. For example, Nagano is making sales promotion videos on agricultural produce for exporters to appeal to overseas buyers. While the intensified promotion activities have been raising Nagano’s overseas brand value, overseas sales promotion by top management has been carried out for various fields of industry such as sightseeing, manufacturing and agriculture. As a result, the number of food businesses in the prefecture which work on export has tripled over the period from 2011 (Heisei 23) to 2021 (Reiwa 3). In addition, the export value of agricultural products produced in the prefecture has increased by about three times and the number of prizes won in international competitions for prefectural wines has increased from 7 to 34 bottles, about 5 times over the period from 2018 (Heisei 30) to 2021.
In order to achieve global expansion, it is important to form friendships and partnerships with overseas cities, and local organizations such as Kenjinkai’s (prefectural associations), which establish rapport with regions in various countries, are important for building networks, developing businesses, and building educational partnerships with the regions. Nagano Prefecture currently (as of December, 2022) has sisterly and friendly relations with the state of Missouri in the United States and Hebei Province in China. Further, 34 municipalities in the prefecture have sisterly and friendly relations with 51 cities in 16 countries or regions.
The country where Nagano Prefecture has the largest number of friendship cities is United States as 14, followed by China (11), Austria (6), New Zealand (4), Switzerland (2), Nepal (3), France (3), Brazil (2), United Kingdom (1), Estonia (1), Moldova (1), Canada (1), Germany (1), Mongolia (1), Taiwan (1) and the Philippines (1). (According to Nagano Prefecture: Friendship and sisterhood ties)