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KaruizawaKaruizawa mapKaruizawa is a famous resort town at the northeastern end of Nagano Prefecture, and is located about 130 km northwest of Tokyo.
It is at the southeastern foot of Mount Asama, and is located at the level of about 1,000 meters.

In 1886, Canadian missionary Alexander Croft Shaw (1846-1902) visited here by chance.
He felt that here was like his hometown of Scotland, so he built his villa for a summer resort in 1888.
He had liked Karuizawa, the he introduced here as the best resort around Tokyo to his friends.
After that many foreign missionaries and intellectuals had summered here.

In the 20th century, several resort hotels and golf courses built here, then here became one of the popular resort towns.

In 1958, when the current Emperor was the Crown Prince, he met the current Empress (Michiko Shoda, born a commoner) in the tennis court in Karuizawa.

And John Lennon (1940-1980, The Beatles member) had stayed here with his family almost every summer for his last several years.

Karuizawa is divided largely into four districts.

The easten districts is "Old Karuizawa".
Mr. Shaw built his villa in this district, so there are many old villas and hotels.
There is the Karuizawa station on Nagano Shinkansen, and many tourists visit here.

The southern district of Karuizawa station has several golf courses and a ski resort.
And many small museums are dotted in this district.

About 4 km to the west of Old Karuizawa, there is "Naka-Karuizawa" district.
The town is around Naka-Karuizawa station on Shinano Railway Line, and the other area in this district has rich nature.
In the town, there are many popular restaurants and cafes.

The district of the western edge of "Oiwake".
It is located at the soutern foot of Mount Asama.
The district has a feeling of old posting station.

The popular spots in Karuizawa are as follows.

Old Karuizawa

  • Karuizawa Ginza /1/ : The main street of Old Karuizawa.
    It is located about 1.5 km north of Karuizawa station, and the length is about 500 meters.
    Originally here was Karuizawa post station, and Mr. Shaw built his villa around here.
    There are many shops, restaurants and cafes.
  • St. Paul Catholic Church /2/ : The church founded in 1935, and built by Antonín Raymond (1888-1976), an American architect born in Czech.
    It has a large triangular roof and a spire, and is the symbol of Karuizawa.
  • Shaw House /3/ : The restored Shaw's villa. It is located at the north end of Karuizawa Ginza.
  • Former Mikasa Hotel /4/ : The luxury hotel built in 1905. It was closed in 1970, and was designated as a nationally important cultural property in 1980.
    It is located about 3.5 km north of Karuizawa station.
  • Kumoba-ike pond /5/ : The small and long pond located about 1.2 km northwest of Karuizawa station.
    The surface of the water is calm, so the scenery of forests are reflected clearly.
    The foreigners had called it "Swan Lake".
  • Shiraito falls /6/ : The falls located about 8.5 km north-northwest of Karuizawa station. The groundwater of Mount Asama falls like many thin threads. "Shiraito" means "white thread".


  • Karuizawa Kogen Church /11/ : The church founded in 1921. It was founded by some Japanese Christians. It is popular as a church for wedding ceremony.
    It is located about 1.2 km north of Naka-Karuizawa station.
  • Yacho-no-mori forest (Picchio) /12/ : The 102-hectare national forest. There are the walking trails about 3 km long in the forest.
    The entrance is located about 0.5 km north of Karuizawa kogen Church.
  • Sengataki falls /13/ : The falls located about 5 km north-northwest of Naka-Karuizawa station.
    The height is about 20 meters. We must walk about 1.5 km from the parking lot.

Southern Karuizawa

  • Karuizawa Taliesin /21/ : A cultural facilities complex located 2.5 km south of Naka-Karuizawa station.
    There are four museums, a rose garden, restaurants, and some sports and amusement facilities.
    (It is said that "Taliesin" means "shining face" in Welsh.)


  • Oiwake post station museum /31/ : The museum displaying the articles in regard to this post station in the 17-19th centuries.
    It is located about 1 km northwest of Shinano-Oiwake station.
Scenic or Nature / Park or Garden / Resort / City, Town or Village / Quarter or Street /
Temple or Shrine / Museum or Laboratory / Market or Commercial facility / Factory /
Other Building or Construction / Historic place / Remains / World Heritage Site

How to get to here

By railroad

By Hokuriku Shinkansen, about 1 hours 5-10 minutes from Tokyo.
From Karuizawa, by Shinano Railway, about 5 minutes to Naka-Karuizawa, about 9 minutes to Shinano-Oiwake.

By car

Run Kan-etsu and Joshin-etsu Expressways and exit at Usui-Karuizawa exit. About 120 km from Tokyo. About 1 hours 30 minutes.
From the exit, about 12 km to Old Karuizawa.

Former Karuizawa station (Currently, this is a memorial museum)
Villas in Karuizawa
Karuizawa Ginza
Photo by Nagano Prefecture Tourism Association
St.Paul Catholic Church
Shaw House in Karuizawa
Photo by Nagano Prefecture Tourism Association
Former Mikasa Hotel
A room in Former Mikasa Hotel Kumoba-ike pond
Shiraito falls Forest in Naka-Karuizawa
Karuizawa Kogen Church Sengataki falls
Lake Shiozawa in Karuizawa Taliesin Oiwake post station museum

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