Introduced as a summer getaway in 1886 by a Canadian missionary, Karuizawa is a laid-back town with a unique culture. Karuizawa is very popular as an easily accessible resort, lying only an hour and 10 minutes from Tokyo on the Hokuriku Shinkansen. Boasting historically beautiful architecture such as the Karuizawa Kogen Church and the Kyu-Mikasa Hotel as well as lovely natural attractions like Kumoba Pond, this town offers many sightseeing opportunities. Golfing, horseback riding, and skiing are also popular outdoor pursuits. With all that, plus outlet shopping malls and more, it's no wonder people flock to this resort town all year round. Stop by the retro styled Tourism Association located beside Karuizawa Station to plan a day away from it all, brimming with exciting activities.
This western style wooden hotel is one-of-a-kind in Japan and has been designated as an important cultural property. At the time of its operation this hotel boasted the highest quality innovations such as electric chandeliers, tiled flush toilets, and British-made carpeting. Even today you can feel the presence of the many prominent figures of the Meiji and Taisho periods who stayed there. The hotel ceased operations in 1970 and today operates as a museum, standing as a symbol of Karuizawa sightseeing.
(5 minutes from the Mikasa stop, accessible by Kusakaru Kotsu bus from Karuizawa Station)
Affectionately known as Swan Lake and supplied with pure water from a spring within a nearby grove of trees, its shimmering crystal surface reflects the beauty of the four seasons. The greens of early summer and the vivid hues of the autumn leaves are particularly stunning. A scenic hiking path circling the pond provides the means for a 20-25 minute nature walk. This is one of Karuizawa's must-see attractions.
(5 minutes by taxi from Karuizawa Station)
Renting a bicycle from one of the many shops in front of the station and throughout town is a great way to see the local sights. Available by the hour or day you'll have plenty of time to see even the more distant attractions. So hop on a bike, or even a tandem, and get some fresh air while riding through pastoral highlands where many keep their summer houses. This is one excursion that's sure to leave a lasting impression.
(Karuizawa Station area)
Located in front of Karuizawa Station's south exit, this mall features a wide variety of stores from luxury designer boutiques to reasonably-priced outlets. For skiing and snowboarding you can visit the easily accessible Prince Snow Resort just one minute by shuttle bus from Karuizawa Station. You can also enjoy other sporting activities in the area such as golf, horseback riding, tennis, and more, while surrounded by picturesque scenery.
(5 minutes on foot from Karuizawa Station)