5 Most Scenic Spots in Karuizawa
A visit to Karuizawa can be one of the most memorable experiences of a lifetime, with the stunning natural scenery around you, the breathtaking Mount Asama, and an enormous variety of things to see and do.
Every season brings a beautiful change to the area, providing plenty of scenic spots to take the perfect picture or enjoy a tranquil and calming moment. Read on to find out more about some of the most beautiful locations around Karuizawa, and start planning your perfect trip, with great deals on Karuizawa accommodation.
The perfectly Instagrammable beauty of the Shiraito Falls
The Shiraito Falls are a stunning set of natural waterfalls, located deep with the lush forests north of Karuizawa. If you're staying in Karuizawa accommodation and looking for the perfect day trip activity, this would be a great way to experience the local area.
Spanning 70 metres across, the waterfalls offer up a splendid sight, and carry water that has been travelling down the mountain, where groundwater emerges as it surfaces. In fact, a large part of the water you see flowing down the falls does not come from a river – but from the mountain itself. This means that the flow of the water remains constant throughout the year, and you'll always have the chance to see a beautiful, picturesque feature, no matter when you visit. The name of the falls literally translates as "white threads".
Being located in the heart of the forest, the waterfalls are seen at their very best during summer and autumn months, when the trees around the area are rich in foliage and drape around the waterfall, or as they turn to spectacular colours later on in the year. Whenever you see it though, it'll surely be a sight to remember.
Usui Pass Observation Platform
One of the best advantages of staying in Karuizawa accommodation is the chance to see the incredible Mount Asama, which stands out prominently amidst the local landscape. One of the best places to take in the amazing views of the region is from the Usui Pass Observation Platform, located a few kilometres away from Karuizawa town centre.
Beautiful mountain views from Usui Pass Observation Platform
From here, you'll be able to take in great views overlooking the mountains of Gunma Prefecture, with Mount Asama on the other side of the platform. You'll also find a wonderful shrine nearby, known as the Kumano Kotai Shrine. This exceptional feature has three main halls, and boasts some stunning classic architecture. Its most unique characteristic though, is the fact that it straddles the border of Nagano and Gunma Prefectures, with a number of different entrances.
It's easy to get to the observation platform by taxi or by bus, and it's best visited on a bright and clear day, when you can make the most of the exceptional views from above.
As the name might suggest, Picturesque Garden is a beautiful and scenic spot, and one of the perfect places near Karuizawa accommodation to enjoy some quiet and peaceful tranquillity. Picturesque Garden can be found as a part of the Karuizawa Picture Book Museum, and it is a natural garden space designed by the British landscape artist, Paul Smither.
The garden was created to show off the four different seasons in a natural and unique way, and you can find each of your senses stimulated by the colourful, fragrant plants, as well as the distinctive sound of the breeze passing through the leaves. Carefully selected native plants ensure that the garden remains a stunning spot throughout the year, changing with each new season and providing the perfect backdrop for a romantic and intimate day out.
While you're visiting the Picturesque Garden, it's also well worth paying a visit to the other attractions that are part of the museum, including the charming Picturebook Museum and the Erz Toy Museum. Explore captivating exhibitions of world-renowned picture books from classic and contemporary writers, featuring beloved characters such as Peter Pan and the Flower Fairies. Within the Toy Museum, experience a wonderful sense of awe and nostalgia as you marvel at beautifully crafted traditional toys from Europe, as well as classically made Japanese collections.
The many shrines around your Karuizawa accommodation each have their own distinctive charms, but the Suwa Shrine deserves a special visit dedicated to it, because of its enchanting and hypnotising atmosphere.
A pair of Komainu (lion-dog) statues flank the staircase to the honden, or inner hall of Suwa Shrine
Covered in moss, the towering torii gate at the entrance of the shrine leads you into a wonderful green space, filled with tranquillity and calm. It's the ideal location to get away from the busy pace of life, and enjoy some gentle, quiet moments where you can contemplate the natural beauty around you, and discover some inner peace.
While it can get very busy during the holiday season, it's well worth a visit nonetheless. Head out earlier in the morning to make the most of the quieter periods, and experience the shrine at its tranquil best.
Kumubaike Pond, often nicknamed the "Swan Lake" by visitors, is one of the most stunning natural scenic spots in Kuruzaiwa. Featuring a spacious pond surrounded by colourful trees, the nature spot is one of the best places in the region to catch a glimpse of the diverse variety of birds that make their home here, and a popular spot for people looking for the perfect photo opportunity.
One of the best ways of exploring the area is simply by taking a nature walk along some of the trails around the pond and surrounding park. It's an ideal, leisurely stroll without being too strenuous, and allows you to leisurely soak up all of the magnificent beauty of the area.
Despite the nickname, you may or may not catch a glimpse of swans here, but there are still plenty of different duck species in the water, as well as other birds up in the trees. Enjoy the picturesque Japanese maples as they burst into greenery through spring and summer, or admire the beautiful colours as they turn through autumn, reflecting spectacularly in the still surface of the lake.