Apple Season is here!

October 27th, 2011 by
Category: Cuisine, Experience, Outdoor Activities, Seasonal Topics

It’s fall, which means apple season here in Nagano.  Depending on where you are from, visiting an apple orchard may not be high on your list for your Japan itinerary.  However, not only do apples taste their best when eaten freshly picked right of the tree, but Japan has varieties you may have never seen before, and the attention to details that the orchardists give to their fruit will amaze you.

tart kogyoku apples
tart kogyoku apples

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Ramen Restaurant “Menya Marubozu” in Karuizawa

October 6th, 2011 by
Category: Cuisine, Information, Miscellaneous, Report
Power Ramen. The Ramen has a plenty of volume and a flavor of garlic. Soup is spilling over.
Wafu Niboshi Ramen. This Japanese-style soup is well flavored and made from 5 fish.

// A high school student Keisuke wrote this article under supervision of Chie Nagashima.  He chose this topic, so please enjoy what is recommended from a local student’s point of view.  This article was produced in cooperation with Nagano Prefecture Karuizawa High School and acknowledged by Nagano Prefecture.  // 

I (Keisuke) would like to introduce tasty Japanese food “Ramen noodles” to international tourists.  I often go to a very good Ramen restaurant called “Menya Marubozu” in Karuizawa.  Let me introduce the restaurant here.  The following is my interview with Mr. Tsuchiya, the owner.

Q (Keisuke): What do you think is important for this restaurant?

A (Mr. Tsuchiya): Always to be vital and cheerful, and to provide delicious meals. 

Q: What are your recommendation dishes?  And what is your important thing about Ramen?

A: The menu “Tsukemen” is using elastic noodles that are cut and crumpled by hand.  The thick dried bonito soup matches with them. “Power Ramen” has meat, vegetables, garlic, and lard on the noodles.  The soup spills over into a saucer.  The soup of “Ton-no Ramen” is made from a skull of pig simmered 12 hours, from which a unique smell is removed.  “Wafu Nigori Ramen” is using the paitan soup made from stewed pig bones and the soup made from stewed dried bonito.  The soup of “Wafu Niboshi Ramen” is well flavored and is made from 5 dried fish.  For a person who wants to eat rice, I recommend set meals.  My policy about Ramen is to provide delicious food approved by me with confidence.   

Q: How do you develop a new menu?

A: I make a new meal that I want to eat.

Q: What is Ramen for you?

A: It is like my child.  I try to grow it up with care.

Q: Thank you very much.

Please also enjoy photos we took at Menya Marubozu.  I hope you will go to the restaurant and enjoy tasty Ramen in Karuizawa.

Putting the lard on Power Ramen. This process is a point to make Ramen delicious.
This is an outward appearance of Menya Marubozu in front of Naka-Karuizawa Station.

The inside of the shop is stylish. There are 18 seats.



Mr. Tsuchiya is answering our questions.



I am eating Power Ramen. Very good!


Name of the facility Menya Marubozu
Description of business Ramen noodle restaurant
Address 3225 Nagakura, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano-ken, 389-0111 Japan
  • TEL: 0267-46-6226 (Japan country code: 81)
  • FAX: 0267-46-6226 (Japan country code: 81)
Access 30-second walk from Naka-Karuizawa Station (Shinano Railway)
Operating dates and hours Lunch 11:30-14:30, Dinner 17:30-22:00. Irregularly closed.
Prices Wafu Niboshi Ramen JPY700, Ton-no Ramen JPY700, Wafu Nigori Ramen JPY700, Noko Wafu Tegiri Tsukemen Small: JPY630 / Large: JPY900, Power Ramen JPY750  
How to contact Tel
General information of Karuizawa Contact Karuizawa Tourist Information Offices: TEL: 0267-42-5538 (Old Town) / 0267-42-2491 (Karuizawa Station) / 0267-45-6050 (Naka Karuizawa Station). (Click “English” button.)

No Radiation Detected in Foodstuffs Harvested in Nagano

October 2nd, 2011 by
Category: Cuisine, Information, Seasonal Topics

The great harvest season has come! Thank God. This year we are worried about radiation. Did the nuclear power plant accident by the 3.11 Quake effect Nagano, which is around 300km far from Fukushima?
Nagano Prefecture inspects foodstuffs (vegetables, fruits, grain(rice/wheat/barley/soba), meat(beef/deer), milk, river fish, tea, wasabi) harvested in Nagano and NO RADIATION (radio iodine nor radio cesium) WAS DETECTED after April 21.
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Cottage Inn Log-cabin and Barbecue Restaurant LOG-TEI in Karuizawa

September 30th, 2011 by
Category: Accomodations, Cuisine, Information, Miscellaneous, Report
Barbecue (Yakiniku) dinner with prime quality beef.
Shabushabu dinner with prime quality beef. You boil beef and vegetables and eat them with special sauce.

Are you interested in staying at a cottage-type room, rather than a normal hotel room, and having delicious barbecue dinner in Karuizawa? If yes, I recommend you to stay at “Cottage Inn Log-cabin” (accommodation), which has “Barbecue Restaurant LOG-TEI” (restaurant) on the same site.

An only 5-minute walk from Naka-Karuizawa Station takes you to Cottage Inn Log-cabin and Barbecue Restaurant LOG-TEI surrounded by the nature.  All of the guestrooms are wooden cottages with bath and toilet, so you can fully enjoy your private time. As they have different types of cottages, anyone can enjoy a comfortable stay, from couples, friends, families to a large group of 20.

One of the great advantages to stay at this inn is that you can enjoy delicious barbecue and other dishes in the restaurant on the same venue. The restaurant LOG-TEI is known for providing high-quality meat dishes, such as Barbecue (in Japanese “Yakiniku”, grilled meat and vegetables cooked at a table) and Shabushabu (a hot-pot with thinly-sliced meat and vegetables boiled at a table). The restaurant is open to the public, so those who don’t stay at this hotel are also welcomed.

I hope you will enjoy a special resort holiday here!

Appearance of “Barbecue Restaurant LOG-TEI”.
All the rooms of “Cottage Inn Log-cabin” are cottages made of natural logs.

"Family Cottage" with a loft for 3 or 4 guests.



"Romance Cottage" for 2 guests.



If you want to enjoy a large bathroom, "Family Bath" is available on site.

Name of the facility Cottage Inn Log-cabin (accommodation) / Barbecue Restaurant LOG-TEI (restaurant)
Description of business Accommodation (capacity: 50 guests), restaurant
Address 3148-1, Naka-Karuizawa, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano-ken, 389-0111
  • TEL: 0267-45-6007 (Japan country code: 81)
  • FAX: 0267-45-0365 (Japan country code: 81)
URL (Click “English”)
  • From Naka-Karuizawa Station (Shinano Railway): 5 minutes on foot
  • From Karuizawa Station (JR Nagano Shinkansen): 7 minutes by taxi  *Free pickup is also available, so please contact.
Operating dates and hours
  • Cottage Inn Log-cabin: open every day
  • Barbecue Restaurant LOG-TEI: Closed on Wednesday except for summer (Open every day in summer), 11:00-14:00 for lunch, 17:00-21:00 for dinner
  • Cottage Inn Log-cabin (room rate per person for a group of 2 guests): JPY6,000 without meals on weekday, JPY6,500 without meals on weekend, JPY8,500 with dinner and breakfast on weekday, JPY9,000 with dinner and breakfast on weekend
  • Barbecue Restaurant LOG-TEI: Barbecue dinner with prime beef at JPY6,090 (price for 2 guests), and much more menus
How to contact for on-line reservation (in Japanese). You can also make inquiries by “contact us” form on the English website or by e-mail above.
General information of Karuizawa Contact Karuizawa Tourist Information Offices: TEL: 0267-42-5538 (Old Town) / 0267-42-2491 (Karuizawa Station) / 0267-45-6050 (Naka Karuizawa Station). (Click “English” button.)

A 10,000-person ‘Kanpai’ with Nagano Sake

September 3rd, 2011 by
Category: Cuisine, Events

Nagano Prefecture’s sake brewers and sake shop owners have created ‘Jyowakai’ to promote the great sake made here in Nagano. They are planning a huge event called:

‘Kanpai’ Fes 2011
On 15-Sept (Thurs) at exactly 6:30pm, an estimated 10,000 people from throughout the prefecture will make a toast with Nagano sake.

We at Kamesei Ryokan are also registered to participate. We proudly serve our town’s local sake, Obasute Masamune, and will be joining our guests in the ‘kanpai’ to honor Nagano sake.  Even if you’re not in Nagano, pick up a glass of Nagano sake and join in the ‘Cheers!’

I recently had an opportunity to meet some of the Jyowakai members and was impressed with their enthusiasm. Visit their website to find out more about the group.

Karuizawa Taliesin

August 29th, 2011 by
Category: Cuisine, Culture Art, Events, Experience, Information, Miscellaneous, Outdoor Activities, Report, Seasonal Topics, Shopping, Sightseeing
Autumn leaves on the shores of Lake Shiozawa.
Yonjyuyonenkan is a building originally constructed as a post office in 1911. It is now a restaurant and a museum.

I would like to give you the latest information of “Karuizawa Taliesin” (the previous article is here). 

Karuizawa Taliesin is a leisure park which has Lake Shiozawa, museums, play facilities, restaurants, shops and a rose garden.  It is a very popular tourist spot in Karuizawa because you can enjoy the beautiful lake and the nature.  The park shows different scenic beauty every season.  If you wish to see marvelous red and yellow leaves reflecting on the lake, the best season is approaching.

If you are interested in historical architecture, Taliesin has several important buildings which were transferred from other locations.  For example, “Meiji Yonjyuyonenkan” is a building constructed as a post office in 1911.  It is now used as “Kouko Fukazawa Nonohana Museum” and “Shunsai Pasta Restaurant Sonnet”.   “Suikyuso”, designed by an architect W. M. Vories, used to be a summer residence of Tomiko Asabuki, a prominent writer and translator of French literature.  “The Summer House” of Antonin Raymond, a masterpiece in architectural history, is used as “Musee PEYNET” today.   

If you feel like art or literature, your choices include “Musee PEYNET”, which exhibits works of a French painter Raymond Peynet, “Kouko Fukazawa Nonohana Museum”, showing paintings of wild flowers, and the “Literary Museum of Karuizawa”, exhibiting manuscripts and correspondence of writers connected with Karuizawa.

Moreover, Taliesin has a choice of great restaurants.  So you can enjoy taking a rest with great food and drinks.  You can get souvenirs, too, of course, at the shops.  And last but not least, you can just simply relax on the lakeshore.

Why not visit Karuizawa Taliesin to have a refreshing holiday?

Boats and Suikyuso.  Taliesin is the only place in Karuizawa where you can enjoy boating.
A waterway. This is the view before your eyes when you enter Taliesin from Central Gate.

Inside of the Literary Museum of Karuizawa.



Musee PEYNET. The building used to be "the Summer House" of Antonin Raymond.



"Suikyuso", designed by W. M. Vories, was a summer villa of Tomiko Asabuki.

Name of the facility Karuizawa Taliesin
Description of business Park with museums, play facilities, restaurants, shops, rose garden
Address 217, Shiozawako, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano-ken, 389-0111
Operating dates and hours Open from 9:00 to 17:00 (10:00 to 16:00 in winter).
  • Park admission: JPY800 (adults), JPY400 (elementary and junior high).
  • Park and Museums combination ticket: JPY1,500 (adults), JPY800 (elementary and junior high).
  • TEL: 0267-46-6161 (Japan country code: 81)
  • FAX: 0267-45-3663 (Japan country code: 81)
How to contact Tel or email
General information of Karuizawa Contact Karuizawa Tourist Information Offices: TEL: 0267-42-5538 (Old Town) / 0267-42-2491 (Karuizawa Station) / 0267-45-6050 (Naka Karuizawa Station). (Click “English” button.)

B&B August 7th (Karuizawa)

August 17th, 2011 by
Category: Accomodations, Cuisine, Experience, Information, Miscellaneous, Outdoor Activities, Report, Sightseeing
Beautiful outlook of “B&B August 7th” in the evening.
The original barbecue consists of delicious pork spareribs, beef, chicken and seafood in different tasty sauces. (Dinner is optional)

Are you looking for a nice B&B in Karuizawa?  Then I’d like to introduce “B&B August 7th” located in the southern part of Karuizawa.  If you look at the left photo above showing the outlook, you will see the building has a French palace atmosphere.  The B&B’s name “August 7th” was given because it is the opening date of the B&B as well as the birthday of the owner.

The B&B welcomes tourists from overseas and has accepted many including those from the USA, Switzerland, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.  According to the owner, the inn is also loved by TV personalities, lawyers, golf competition sponsors and famous professional golf players.

You can also enjoy your stay in various ways there.  For example, you can rent barbecue equipment and enjoy barbecue with food and drinks you bring.  Or you can use the inn as a base of tennis camp.  Or you can hold a private party inviting around 10 to 40 guests.  They also welcome tourists traveling alone.  Long stayers are welcome, too.

Why not stay in B&B August 7th when you come to Karuizawa?


Breakfast. This is a photo of the hotel’s original French toast topped with season’s fruit, yogurt, blueberry sauce, and so on.
This double room called “Violet” is equipped with 16c French antique bed frame with a canopy and a chandelier.

Dining room with classic tableware.


Stylish family bathroom surrounded by the glass.


Japanese room in the old Karuizawa summer house style.

Name of the facility B&B August 7th
Description of business Accommodation (capacity: 45 guests, Japanese-style rooms, Western-style rooms), rental barbecue equipment
Tel 0267-41-4606 (Japan country code: 81)
Fax 0267-41-4555 (Japan country code: 81)
URL (Click “English)
Address 13-19, Nagakura, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano-ken, 389-0111, Japan
How to contact Fax, email, online reservation (website) or telephone.
  • 4 minutes by taxi from Karuizawa Station.  Take Prince Dori Street, along which Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza stands.  Turn left at the second signal called Narisawa and take the first left into a narrow graveled path.  The B&B is the second on the left.
  • 24 minutes on foot from Karuizawa Station.  Take Prince Dori Street and turn left into a graveled path 3 houses before the signal called Narisawa. The B&B is on the right on the path.
Operating hours Check-in: 16:00, Check-out: 10:00
Rates and other prices JPY6,000 without meals to JPY18,500 with breakfast per person including air-conditioning
General information of Karuizawa Contact Karuizawa Tourist Information Offices: TEL: 0267-42-5538 (Karuizawa Kanko Kaikan) / 0267-42-2491 (Karuizawa Station) / 0267-45-6050 (Naka Karuizawa Station). (Click “English” button.)

* This article is written based on the information given by the facility and the writer is not liable for the information.

Musee Le Vent (museum in Karuizawa)

July 16th, 2011 by
Category: Cuisine, Culture Art, Events, Experience, Information, Miscellaneous, Shopping, Sightseeing


From 2011 exhibition.
“Kao” (Face) by Masanari Murai.
From 2011 exhibition.
“Soratobuie” (Flying house)
by Yoji Kuri.

“Musee Le Vent” is a museum in Karuizawa related to a school called Bunka Gakuin.  The museum building is a reproduction of Bunka Gakuin’s school building at the time of foundation in 1921.  Designed by Isaku Nishimura, the school founder and the artist, the museum is in the British cottage style with a beautiful garden, from which you can see Mt. Asama well.

The museum offers two exhibitions, one with its permanent collection and the other with a themed special collection.  The permanent exhibition includes works of Isaku Nishimura and of artists related to Bunka Gakuin, such as Kaoru Yamaguchi, the painter, and Akiko Yosano, the poet.  As for the special exhibition, the theme of the year 2011 is “Flowering of Individuality — small and good things (Isaku Nishimura’s words) —“.  The special exhibition is now showing works of graduates of Bunka Gakuin, who became first-class artists after graduation, such as Masanari Murai, Yoji Kuri and Setsu Nagasawa.

I would like to add that the museum has a very nice cafe that has a spacious terrace facing the charming lawn garden.  You can enjoy great food, cakes and drinks.  The cafe and the neighboring museum shop can be entered without museum admission tickets, so you can drop in and enjoy relaxing time anytime.   The museum also holds several concerts in August.  Why not come to Karuizawa to spend a wonderful time in Musee Le Vent this summer and autumn? 

Musee Le Vent is located in the quiet greenery setting in the southern part of Karuizawa.
A menu from Cafe Le Vent. The quiche with smoked salmon and asparagus is delicious.

Museum shop Le Vent sells a selection of art goods.



From 2011 exhibition. "Aoitaitsude" (In blue tights) by Setsu Nagasawa.


The rice omelet is a popular menu at Le Vent Cafe.

Name of the facility Musee Le Vent
Description of business Museum, shop, cafe
Tel 0267-46-1911 / 03-3401-8896 (Tokyo office)
Fax 0267-46-1910 / 03-3401-8896 (Tokyo office)
Address 957-10, Nagakura, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano-ken, 389-0111, Japan
How to contact Tel, fax or email.
Access 15 minutes by taxi from Karuizawa Station of JR Nagano Shinkansen or Shinano Tetsudo (Shinano Railway) or 5 minutes by taxi from Nakakaruizawa Station of Shinano Tetsudo. 12 kilometers from Usui Karuizawa Interchange.
Operating hours 10:00 – 17:00 from the mid June to the beginning of November.  Closed on Wednesday (no closure from July 15 to September 15).
Rates and other prices [Admission to the museum]

  • Adults: JPY800
  • University and senior high students: JPY600
  • Junior high and elementary students: JPY400

* Discount available for groups of 15 or more and for the disabled.

General information of Karuizawa Contact Karuizawa Tourist Information Offices: TEL: 0267-42-5538 (Karuizawa Kanko Kaikan) / 0267-42-2491 (Karuizawa Station) / 0267-45-6050 (Naka Karuizawa Station). (Click “English” button.)

The Real Deal — Nagano Soba next to Komoro Castle

June 20th, 2011 by
Category: Cuisine

Nobody does soba noodles as well as Nagano.  If you come to Nagano, it is absolutely against the rules to not try our buckwheat noodles.  But with more soba restaurants than one could count, how do you know which one to go to?  Well, Kusabue in Komoro City has been around for over 400 years, so that’s a good sign that they know their noodles.  They have 6 locations from Nagano City to Saku City, but the main store is in Komoro right next to the famed ‘hole castle’ Kaikoen.  (Most castles tend to be perched on the top of a hill.  When you see Komoro’s distinctive configuration, you’ll know where it’s nickname comes from.) 

Kusabue's main store's facade

Kusabue's main store's facade

Komoro’s Kaikoen is a popular tourist destination in Nagano.  And with its location adjacent to the  castle, Kusabue makes a great spot for lunch.

I recently made my Kusabue debut.  Of course I had heard about the restaurant (they’re especially known for their generous volumes), but this was my first time to put chopsticks to their noodles.  So how was it?  Now I know why Kusabue is so well-known and well-regarded.  There’s something about the flavor, the environment (being made in an area with such clean air and water), the shop’s ambience, and the history that makes Kusabue’s soba stand out.  And I should know — I’ve had lots of Nagano soba. 

For guests coming from out of the prefecture (or from overseas for that matter) and wanting to try Nagano’s soba, I can confidently say that Kusabue is a duly suitable representative for our famed soba. 

Kusabue’s main restaurant faces Kaikoen’s parking lot just to the west of ‘San no Mon’, the castle’s distinctive gate.  Just minutes by foot from Komoro Station on the Shinano Railway line.  Kusabue’s website is here.

*Tel# 0267-22-2105
*Hours:  10am-3:30pm or until they sell out.  (From 11am in winter.)
*Open year-round.

SAWAYA’s Fresh Jam in Karuizawa

May 2nd, 2011 by
Category: Cuisine, Report, Shopping
Hulling strawberries by human hands.  SAWAYA offers start-to-finish production of jam.
Fresh strawberries in a large caldron in the jam factory.

// SAWAYA is operating as usual without any influence of the March 11th earthquake and radiation as of May 2, 2011.  Please feel safe to come. //

“Jam” is one of the most popular souvenirs of Karuizawa.  In the end of the 19th century, Westerners living in Japan, many of whom were Christian missionaries, started to live in Karuizawa during summer.  Karuizawa’s summer is cool (the max temperature seldom exceeds 30 degrees Celsius), so foreign residents came here to escape from Japan’s hot and humid summer.  During their stay, they taught European culture and techniques to Karuizawa’s local residents.  Jam is said to be one of such techniques conveyed from foreign residents. 

Today I would like to introduce a famous jam production and sales company called SAWAYA to you.  SAWAYA, started as a greengrocer’s in 1952, is proud of start-to-finish production of jam at their own factory.  They use only domestic fresh fruits harvested at their best in each season.  Their jam, made without additives, ranked No.1 in the “Breakfast Jam Ranking” of Nikkei, a prestigious newspaper.  If you go to SAWAYA shops, you’ll be surprised by a huge variety of jam flavors.  According to the staff, the most popular flavor is strawberry, the second blueberry, and the third orange marmalade.  They also offer jam making experience programs.  It will be a good memory if you join one.

SAWAYA runs restaurants, too.  At Restaurant “CoDow” surrounded by trees, you can enjoy French food in a nice atmosphere.  At SAWAYA CAFE and Kyu-Karuizawa Cafe, snacks like Russian piroshki and drinks are served.  And on April 28th 2011, a brand-new bakery cafe called “Patisserie et Cafe fleur fleur” has just opened.  You can buy or eat sweets, bread or some meals there.  

The writer (me) is also an old fan of SAWAYA and likes to give the jam to friends and families as Karuizawa’s specialty.  When you come to Karuizawa, please don’t miss it! 


From left, strawberry jam, blueberry jam, orange marmalade. They are just a few of SAWAYA’s large collection of flavors.
Restaurant “CoDow”, a casual French restaurant, is spacious and surrounded by trees.

Piroshki, a Russian-style fried meat bun, is a popular menu at cafes.


Beautiful sweets with fresh ingredients. Available at "fleur fleur", etc.


A variety of bread at "fleur fleur". Why not take a rest during sightseeing?

Name of the facility SAWAYA
Description of business Production and sales of jam, restaurants 
Tel 0267-46-2400 (Japan country code: 81)
Fax 0267-46-2404 (Japan country code: 81)
Address 702, Shiozawa, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano-ken, 389-0111, Japan
Reservations and inquiries Please contact by fax or email.
Access Map is available on SAWAYA’s website.

  • Sawaya Bypass Shop (Restaurant “CoDow”, Patisserie et Cafe “fleur fleur”, jam shop): Along R18 Bypass. 5 mins by taxi from Karuizawa Station.
  • Kyukaruizawa Shop and Cafe: Near Karuizawa Ginza Shopping Street.
  • Kyukaru Rotary Shop: Along Karuizawa Ginza Shopping Street.
  • SAWAYA CAFE: Along Karuizawa Ginza Shopping Street.
  • Shin-Karuizawa Shop: 5 mins on foot from Karuizawa Station North Exit.
  • Prince Dori Shop: Along Prince Dori (or Prince Street). 8 mins on foot from Karuizawa Station South Exit.
  • SAWAYA Jam Factory: 20 mins by taxi from Karuizawa Station. 
  • Karuizawa Station Shop: Near the ticket gates at Karuizawa Station.
Operating hours
  • Jam shops are open throughout the year from 9:00 to 19:00 (time changeable in winter).
  • Restaurant “CoDow”: Open every day in July and August.  For other months, closed on Tuesdays.  Possible winter closure.
  • Patisserie et cafe “fleur fleur”: Newly opened on April 28, 2011. Closed on Thursdays.
Room type and capacity
Rates and other prices
  • Jam: Different prices
  • Jam Making Experience Program: JPY2,800 (including factory tour), JPY3,850 (including afternoon tea, JPY2,500 for children), JPY5,250 (including multi-course lunch, JPY3,150 for children)
  • Restaurant “CoDow”: Set lunch from JPY1,420
  • SAWAYA CAFE: Piroshki JPY280, blueberry soft ice cream JPY400
  • Patisserie et Cafe “Fleur Fleur”: Bread from JPY100, Brunch from JPY800, Lunch from JPY900
General information of Karuizawa Contact Karuizawa Tourist Information Offices: TEL: 0267-42-5538 (Old Town) / 0267-42-2491 (Karuizawa Station) / 0267-45-6050 (Naka Karuizawa Station). (Click “English” button.)