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Karuizawa is a popular summer mountain resort located in Nagano Prefecture.


Karuizawa is located in Nagano Prefecture and is one hour away from Tokyo by bullet train (Shinkansen). The city is situated at the foot of Mt. Asama and has been a popular summer mountain resort since the 19th century. During the Edo Period (1603-1867), Karuizawa was one of the 69 stations along the Nakasendo, an old highway connecting Edo (present day Tokyo) to Kyoto. When the town was discovered by Alexander Croft Shaw, a Bishop of East Tokyo, and James Main Dixon, an English professor of Tokyo Imperial University, Karuizawa began being a popular summer resort among foreigners.

Many famous people and political heads have stayed or own summer homes in the vicinity. John Lennon and Yoko Ono spent time there in the 1970s and Emperor Akihito played tennis there in his youth with his wife. Karuizawa reached worldwide fame when the equestrian events for the 1964 Olympics were held there. Aside from summer attractions there are winter recreational activities available when the season comes around. For the autumn season it is recommended to take a drive on Japan’s version of Germany’s “Romantic Road.” Karuizawa is one of the cities along the 350 kilometer stretch of road and the autumn leaves start appearing in mid-October and last till early November.

There are a few spots of interest that people should consider visiting. Karuizawa can be separated into two areas. Naka-Karuizawa, west of Karuizawa station and Kyu-Karuizawa, north of the station have different attractions to their area. Kyu-Karuizawa is more of a touristy place while Naka-Karuizawa is another town center featuring unique places. Shiraito (white threads) Falls is a beauty spot because the water falling into the pond below looks like white threads hence the name. The waterfall was not naturally made as parts of the rock face were carved out to create the 3-meter-high and 70 meters wide.