Nestled in the shadow of Mount Asama, the resort town of Karuizawa draws a summer crowd to its hiking, golfing, cycling and shopping opportunities, while winter offers plenty of skiing, ice skating and snow sports. About an hour by train ride from Tokyo, the charming village sits at an elevation of about 1,000 metres.
Things to do in Karuizawa
Outdoor activities take centre stage in Karuizawa, regardless of the season. After plenty of fresh air and exercise, bubbling hot springs beckon for relaxation with a backdrop of natural wonders such as Shiraito Waterfall cascading from a height of three metres, while indoor and outdoor springs can be found at Sengataki Onsen Karuizawa.
You can also climb to the observation decks at Lake Shiozawa for spectacular views of the entire region, or walk 20 minutes from town to Lake Kumobaike with cafes and charming cottages along the way.
Shoppers can flock to places such as the Prince Shopping Plaza and the pedestrianised old-town centre of Kyu-Karuizawa Ginza. Upscale restaurants, bakeries and boutiques line Ginza Street, while a small town centre opens to more shops and eateries.
Also in the village are the New Art and Hiroshi Senju Museums, reflecting the cultural aspect of life in the region. Karuizawa Ohga Hall comes alive with classical and pop concerts throughout the year.
Getting around Karuizawa
The best way to get from Tokyo to Karuizawa is via high-speed rail on the Hokuriku Shinkansen. Buses also offer transportation from major cities nearby. Walking is easy in the old town, but other areas require the use of a taxi, bus, bicycle or rental car. Both bicycles and cars are available for hire at Karuizawa Station.