Karuizawa: Take a trip to this mountain resort that’s beautiful all year round

Karuizawa is a serene, upscale resort town in Nagano Prefecture. It can be reached in just over an hour by bullet train from Tokyo, making it an ideal destination for a day trip. It made a name for itself as a summer resort near the active volcano, Mount Asama, an image born to it in the late 1800s. Its main appeal in the summer is that its relatively high elevation makes it an escape fresh from the oppressive heat of Tokyo and its surroundings.

There is a bit of something for everyone at Karuizawa. Although it is widely known for its upscale and westernized atmosphere which can be experienced in the old town of Kyu-Karuizawa, there are also exciting natural sites and cultural sites.

shopping streets

Photo: iStock/colinhui

Karuizawa is home to two shotengai (shopping streets) and a huge factory outlet park near the station. Karuizawa Ginza Shotengai is one of the first places people visit in the area. Just a 10-minute bus ride from Karuizawa Station, the shopping street offers a variety of exciting street food, cafes, and delicious souvenir shops featuring local crafts and materials.

For an upscale experience, Harunire Terrace is located closer to Naka-Karuizawa Station and is a good place for a romantic dinner. A short walk from Harunire Terrace is a famous, upmarket onsen (hot spring) called Tonbo no yu which has a spacious sauna and outdoor and indoor baths.

Karuizawa Wild Bird Sanctuary

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