Karuizawa | An Idyllic Town of Paradise
Heaven isn’t hard to find. In fact, it’s approximately 80 minutes north of central Tokyo by bullet train, and it’s called Karuizawa.
Feel revitalized upon arrival to this idyllic mountain retreat, which makes a perfect second home or an escape from the office.
Karuizawa is a high-class, historical resort town where nature and mankind coexist in luxury. Resting at the foot of Mt. Asama at 1000 meters high, Karuizawa is on average 20 degrees Celsius daily and features a cool gentle breeze all year round, which makes it perfect for a summer getaway to escape the heat. The town was discovered in the late 1800s by British Missionary A.C. Shaw. In awe of the town’s perfect cool temperature during Japan’s typical sweltering summer heat, Shaw saw potential profits and made the town a resort area for others to enjoy and retreat. Now, the town is filled with amazing shops, restaurants, and cultural activities.
Blissful activities such as shopping, golfing, hiking, biking, and enjoying art and abundant nature may be enjoyed every day, year-round. The popular Prince Shopping Plaza is an outlet mall with more than 200 stores, while the Kyu-Karuizawa Ginza is filled with delightful galleries and craft shops.
Visitors and residents alike can enjoy the town’s amazing ski opportunities, which earned a great reputation after Karuizawa hosted the Winter Olympics in 1998. If you need a break from the snowy slopes, you may indulge in the natural hot spas then later enjoy fine dining at premium Michelin star restaurants.
The Tourist Perfect Getaway
Karuizawa is popular with both foreigners and Japanese people alike. Its vibrant restaurant scene features cuisines from around the world, giving Karuizawa a truly global appeal. There are several international schools, such as UWC ISAK Japan, and services that support the foreign community, as well as the local hospital, where English is spoken.
The town became a popular tourist site for Westerners, thanks to John Lennon’s annual family summer retreat at the historical Manpei Hotel during the 1970s. Founded in 1894 by Shaw, the Manpei hotel is one of Japan’s few classic elegant hotels remaining and was the first Western-service-style hotel in the town of Karuizawa. The hotel features a museum showcasing Karuizawa history. The museum exhibits a piano where John Lennon reportedly played every year during his stay.
It is rumoured that the co-founder of Microsoft, American billionaire Bill Gates, built a four-story mega-mansion in Karuizawa, estimated between 2000-3000 sqm at an expected construction cost of 8 billion yen. Though the ownership of the home has yet to be confirmed, the land prices have increased as the rumour inspired demand from wealthy investors.
Tourism has a bright outlook in Japan, with the stunning natural and cultural attractions holding huge appeal across developing Asian countries and the Western world. There is also heavy demand for wealthy enclaves. Considering all this, Karuizawa is well-positioned to continue to grow in the future.
Whether you are searching for a peaceful family vacation home or a high-end rental property, Housing Japan can assist you in finding your Zen in Karuizawa.