In less than 2 hours from Tōkyō by shinkansen (high-speed bullet train), you can reach the incredible nature of Karuizawa. Located in the prefecture of Nagano, this town is surrounded by mountains and forests, appearing as if they have been set ablaze during autumn due to the colors of the leaves.
The city center is not far from the main station and is easily reachable on foot. It is also possible to rent bikes for 1000 yen a day. You will be able to enjoy the bike ride into the forest and admire the beautiful architecture of many little wooden houses built in the area. Karuizawa is rich in local handmade products and it also boasts its culinary prowess. There are a lot of small unique shops that are truly worth your time in the Hoshino area, particularly the Harunire terrace. Be sure not to miss to taste the famous soba, honey, beer, or the delicious cheese of “L’atelier du fromage” along with a glass of Nagano’s red wine. From there on, you will be able to access to the Hoshino hot springs (onsen), which enjoys an excellent reputation.
All throughout Japan, this region is well-known for the beauty of the autumn leaves (kōyō). Having said that, each of the seasons here have their own unique grandeur. You will be able to enjoy skiing near Karuizawa Prince hotel during the wintertime. Spring and summer are very crowded and a lot of Tokyo’s inhabitants head over to Karuizawa to enjoy its many outdoor activities, particularly those in these two amazing natural sites:
The Asama volcano is recommended for anyone that loves hiking. To be able to reach it, you will have to take the Shinano railway line from Karuizawa station and get off at Komoro station. From there on, a bus will take you directly to Asama Sansou from which you can begin your hiking experience. When you finish the trek, you will be rewarded with the Asama Sansou’s hot springs (onsen) and take your well-earned break.
In autumn, the Shiraito falls are surrounded by the wonderful red and yellow leaves of the trees. Get up early and enjoy the quiet of this magical place.