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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan. Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan.
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare. An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare.
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife. Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife.
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan. Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan.
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara. The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara.
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower. Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower.
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving. Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving.
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky. The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky.
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

NAGANO Karuizawa Shop, ski, or simply relax in Nagano’s upmarket mountain getaway

Shop, ski, or simply relax in Nagano's upmarket mountain getaway

Located an hour from Tokyo in south-central Nagano, at the base of Mt Asama , Karuizawa has been popular with wealthy urbanites since the 19th century. At that time, Tokyo's foreign expats were seeking an escape from the sweltering city and found Karuizawa. With endless shopping opportunities along atmospheric streets, excellent food, and pretty woodlands close by, Karuizawa remains a favorite Nagano getaway.

Don't Miss

  • Strolling the trendy shopping street of Kyu-Karuizawa Ginza
  • Absorbing the chic small town vibe while cycling between Karuizawa's many attractions
  • Bargain hunting at the Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza outlet mall

How to Get There

Karuizawa is a straight shot from the Tokyo Station on the JR Hokuriku Shinkansen. The trip takes less than 1 1/2 hours and is covered by the JR Pass.

Quick Facts

Karuizawa started off as a post town along the old Nakasendo Highway that connected Kyoto and Edo (modern-day Tokyo)

Karuizawa is the only town in the world that's been a venue for both Summer and Winter Olympic events

Explore Kyu-Karuizawa Ginza

The old main street and historic heart of town is lined with enough boutiques, cafes, and restaurants to keep visitors shopping and feasting for days. The cosmopolitan streetscape features eateries ranging from traditional Japanese to French, from Nepalese to Iranian. Kyu-Karuizawa Ginza is a hip area to wander and watch Japan's urban elite at play.

Set out on a Karuizawa bike-about

While Karuizawa's shopping areas are compact enough to explore on foot, renting a bicycle will help you explore further afield. Several rental shops near the station have bikes for about 1,000 yen per day.

Loved by Lennon

The historic Mampei Hotel is just a ten-minute ride from Kyu-Karuizawa Ginza. Once a Japanese inn in the 1700s, it transformed into a Western-style hotel at the turn of the 20th century. Famed for service and atmosphere, it was John Lennon and Yoko Ono's favorite place to stay. Stop off for a bite at one of its highly rated restaurants, or pop into its bar from another era.

About 1.5 kilometers from the station, Kumobaike Pond is a picturesque spot for a stroll, especially in the fall when the leaves change.

Stylish Naka-Karuizawa

Naka-Karuizawa is an alternate shopping and dining center, located west of the old town in a forest setting. It's very stylish but less crowded. While there, stop off for a soak at the elegant Hoshino Onsen, complete with indoor and outdoor baths.

Also in Naka-Karuizawa, the Stone Church's unique design is big with architecture buffs and feels more like you are entering a fairy tale cavern than a place of worship. The Stone Church is closed to the public when weddings are in session.

The Karuizawa Picturebook Museum preserves 6,000, mostly Western, picturebooks, including first editions and rare paintings from classic children's literature, such as Alice in Wonderland and Peter Rabbit.

Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza

This enormous mall near the south exit of Karuizawa Station has 240 outlet shops with brands ranging from Levi's to Armani. It's part of the Prince Grand Resort Karuizawa, with wedding, golf, and ski facilities, as well as a generous food court. If you need a breather from the commercial circus, the landscaped area around the mall has a lake and walking paths with views of Mt. Asama.

A base to explore further afield

Nearby Karuizawa there are some interesting half-day trips.

The 70-meter-wide cascade of Shiraito Falls is a peaceful spot, just a 25-minute bus ride from town.

Onioshidashi Park is an otherworldly landscape created by Mt Asama 's massive 1783 eruption. It includes a temple dedicated to the Buddhist goddess of compassion, Kannon. Mt. Asama looms beyond. The park is just over the prefectural border in Gunma but is most easily accessed from Karuizawa.

Komoro Castle Park , located in the nearby town of Komoro, is home to picturesque grounds and a historic main gate that dates back from the early 1600s. It's particularly nice to spend time here in the fall when the leaves change. While in Komoro, don't miss the cliff-bound Nunobiki Kannon Temple that features views over the town to Mt. Asama.

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