Karuizawa is a popular year round resort offering many outdoor sports, hot springs and recreational activities thanks to the temperate summer climate. Karuizawa is recently been advertised as "Premium Mountain Resort". The truth is Karuizawa itself sits on a plateau (or highlands) at about an elevation of 1,000 meters. The terrain is pretty much flat with no hills. It's not like any ski resorts in Europe where the town itself is in the high mountains. It gets pretty cold below 0°C in the winter but it doesn't snow that much either. That is the one of the reasons it is easy to access and is pleasant to live in the summer. If you travel about an hour you can access many famous ski resorts and Karuizawa is known for its upmarket highland resort so Karuizawa is marketing itself "Premium Mountain Resort" hoping people to stay when accessing the snow resorts around. Karuizawa has a great balance between the convenience and efficiency of the urban lifestyle and quietness and the natural environment of the highland resort.
For those reasons Karuizawa has been a premium resort for highclass sophisticated people due to its history. Karuizawa's popularity as a location for second homes and resort hotels since the Meiji era (late 1800's) has some association with both Japan's Imperial Family and world-famous visitors such as John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Famous show-business personality and successful buiness owners tend to build very exquisite summer resort homes. After Hokuriku Shinkansen was built, things has started to change and many newcomers and young people started to come. To accommodate these "new type" of tourists, many new shops and facilities owned by large Tokyo based companies started to invade the town. This brought urban convenience and service but at the same time lost the charm of Karuizawa. Some people who realized this could lose the advantage and the uniquness of Karuizawa, new young business startups have started to create new type of services and businesses to save and pave the way for better future for Karuizawa. Currently, many foreign tourists are coming more and more each year, and these new type of people are hard at work to accommodate new and diversifying demands.
So if you want to enjoy the greatness of Karuizawa, you will need to find someone or service that knows both the new and the authentic places. Especially if you are interested in traditional shops, restaurants, hotels, etc., those are normally not on the internet or advertised in any famous mediums. Those shop owners mostly only speak Japanese and many not be used to foreingers. Below we will give you some glance of what you may expect when you come over. In the future, we hope to serve real guide and tour services if demands are high.
Like many other Japan resorts, Karuizawa has great four seasons. From deep green leaves and flowers in spring to vast beautiful colored leaves in autumn to shimmering white snow and ice with Christmas decorations in the winter. There is always something very beautiful to enjoy. What is your favorite season? Here are some actual photos.
There are various types of accommodations in Karuizawa. From very luxurious highclass hotels with full of Japanese "Omotenashi" services to very reasonable dormitory for backpackers. There are lodges and bungalows at camp sites for families to enjoy in the spring/summer seasons. If you prefer, you can rent a very highend villas from their owners if you are lucky. Depending on your budget, purpose, and your needs you can always find what suits you the best as long as you know who to ask. During the top season (basically summer season) Karuizawa is literly packed and the price rises significantly and is very difficult to reserve so make sure to plan ahead if you are seeking to go during the top season. Though there are many ways to enjoy during the winter, Karuizawa is very quiet and the pricing is usually very low and many small accommodations close during the winter season.
Probably one of the most thing to be excited about it what to eat in Karuizawa. As Karuizawa has been for highclass people who are used to having the greatest cuisines in Tokyo, many great chefs gather and own restaurants in Karuizawa to serve their apetite. Karuizawa has been known for very fine French cuisine and those places are mostly hideaway places and you may not come across them unless you know someone that really knows around Karuizawa. In recent years with new type of tourist coming over, more and more styles and types of cuisine is served. Popular places definately need reservation especially during the top season and we recommend you reserve well before your visit. If you ever want to go cheap McDonalds will always be there for you. Just remember, it closes early since Karuizawa has strict rules to preserve the wild animals and natural environment.
Whether you're a very active outdoor athlete or you like to enjoy the quietness and spend calm cultural time like an artist Karuizawa can amuse you in many ways. You can enjoy book reading in a quiet cafe that sits in the forest, participate in making handcraft goods at workshops, or enjoy bird watching. There are horse ranches where you can take some lessons and actually go out and enjoy the wild forest. During the winter season, you and your family can enjoy skiing and ice skating too. There is always something for everyone from single travler to family groups. There is so many things to do so picking what you want to do may be the most difficult part of the trip planning. That just may well be the reason why many people come back each year.