The Japanese Alps are an Overlooked Gem

July 17th, 2018 by
Category: Accomodations, Information, Miscellaneous

If you are planning a summer trip to Japan, blocking off time to spend in the Alps is a must!

On a recent two week trip to Japan, my wife and I spent three nights in Nagano prefecture. If your research has gone anything like ours did, very little information online or in travel books is devoted towards this area specifically- besides a mention of the world-class winter sports available during the winter months. As far as the summer, the recommendations are nearly non-existent.

We came to Nagano for a friend’s wedding; knowing little of the area beforehand, we were amazed at the region’s beauty when we first arrived. The green forests and lush mountains, whether set in sunrise or sunset, were striking against the canvas of pinks, purples, yellows, and blues in the sky. We spent much of our time taking in the panoramas of mountains unlike any others we had seen in the past. Aside from the views, we appreciated the mountain life. The slower pace was refreshing after being around the buzz of bustling Kyoto and Tokyo.

Suwa-Shi, Nagano The serene beauty of the lush forested mountains atop smaller towns and roads will take your breath away.

Hoshino Risonare Yatsugatake
Nearly in any direction you looked, glimpses of the multiple mountain ranges were visible.

Kobuchizawa Station, Hokuto
Even the stops at train stations and the interlays of shrines & statues were beautiful.

Hoshino Risonare Yatsugatake
The resort displayed a whimsical appreciation for the seasons with the fun display of colored umbrellas for the rainy season.

We ended up staying at a Risonare Yatsugatake in Yamanashi wine country. This resort was magnificent between phenomenal staff, a plethora of available events/activities, and the quality of the facilities. Whether you want to actually book nights there (which we highly recommend) or just decide to make the day trip, there is plenty to do. The Hoshino resort’s campus holds an array of activities including: shopping, cafes, restaurants, a wave pool, wine tastings, ropes course, horseback riding, bike rentals, arts & crafts, and even a public bath for those staying at the resort. While we were unable to venture out much during our stay, since all the wedding festivities were on campus, we never got bored due to the multitude of options available.

The awe-inspiring sacred mountain continued to warm our hearts and souls at all times of day.

Lastly, the resort and surrounding areas provided ample opportunity to catch glimpses of Fujisan even 75+ miles out. While we only spent slightly more than 48 hours in the Alps (of our 11 day trip), this region now holds some of our fondest memories. We wished we could have done more while there, but now we have even more of a reason to return in the coming months and years.


Bio

My name is Brandon Shell and I currently find refuge amongst the beautiful long leaf pines, lakes, mountains, beaches, and community of North Carolina in the United States. While my wife and I both grew up here, we have always had a passion for changing the trajectory of our families’ legacies through authentic travel experiences. The relationships made while traveling are the most satisfying aspect of our adventures.

We are passionate about leading relationally within our own professions and hobbies all the while blogging our passions on the side. We strive to share with the world how to live intentionally and ethically by seeing daily choices as opportunities for making an impact on communities, both near and far. We document our travels, health, and nutrition choices in a variety of capacities on our blog and on Instagram @wecausewecare. We hope that we can continue to travel for the rest of our lives and leave a legacy that even our grandchildren will one day be proud of!

Social Media:
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New Train Pass for Exploring Karuizawa, Nearby Hot Springs, and More!

March 1st, 2018 by
Category: Cuisine, Culture Art, Information, Miscellaneous, Report, Shopping

Click on the image to see the full PDF flyer.


The Shinano Railway Banzai Two-Day pass offers great savings for anyone interested in spending time in the eastern Nagano area. The pass covers the Shinano Railway line between Karuizawa and Yashiro Stations and costs 1,000 yen for adults—already 300 yen cheaper than the one-way fare between the two! The pass is currently going through a trail run from February 1st to March 31st, 2018, but organizers are hoping to turn it into a year-round option.

When using the Banzai pass, you can enjoy eastern Nagano’s fresh foods, wine, and culture. I recently had a chance to explore more of the area, and I’d like to recommend a three-day course between Nagano and Karuizawa:
Read the rest of this entry »

On the Trail of John and Yoko in Karuizawa

February 4th, 2013 by
Category: Culture Art, Information, Miscellaneous

 

As most Beatles fans know, John Lennon’s second wife is Yoko Ono, the Japanese singer and artist. During the late 1970s, John, Yoko and their son Sean spent several summers in Karuizawa, an upmarket hill resort town in eastern Nagano. These days, Karuizawa is just an hour or so from Tokyo by bullet train. The family stayed in the Mampei hotel, just off the main shopping street in Kyu-Karuizawa (above). There has been an accommodation establishment on this site since 1764. The main building dates from 1935. Stop by for lunch in one of the restaurants and “imagine” what it was like back in the ’70s.

John used to ride his bicycle to buy baguettes at the French Bakery (below) in the main shopping street at Kyu-Karuizawa (opposite the Information Centre). If you go in there, there is a photo on the left hand wall of John, his bicycle and a basket of baguettes. You can also get coffee, buy some pastries and sit and “watch the wheels go round and round”.

Sometimes John, Yoko and Sean would cycle over to the Shiozawa area of Karuizawa and have coffee at the Rizanbo cafe (below). To find it, head from Karuizawa station towards Nakakaruizawa station on route 18, and turn left opposite the Karuizawa Junior High School. Cross the railway line and then the bridge over the shinkansen line. Head down about another 800m and look for the cafe on a corner on the right. It is across the road from a wooden sign that says “Rantasalmi: Live in log home, Live as you wish”. The cafe is open from early April to late November. Sit out on the porch in spring and watch the birds in the trees. “A splendid time is guaranteed for all”.

 

My 5-day Ski and Onsen Trip to Nozawa Onsen

March 31st, 2012 by
Category: Cuisine, Information, Miscellaneous, Onsens (Hot Springs), Outdoor Activities, Report, Seasonal Topics, Sightseeing

— For Japanese translation of this article, click here (authorized link by Nagano Prefecture) —

Photo 1) Reconstructed Rest House YAMABIKO.
 
Photo 2) Brett and Hayley, snowboarders from Australia we interviewed.

My Ski Holidays at Nozawa Onsen Village

From Oct 2011, I wrote 3 reports about “Shinshu Tourist Destinations ‘Kizuna‘ (Bonds) Declaration” (Report #1, Report #2, Report #3).  The reason for drawing up the reports was that I wanted to encourage international tourists to return to Nagano.  Now, one year has passed since the earthquakes of March 2011.  I thought I would like to choose Nozawa Onsen Village, which was partly damaged by the earthquakes in March 2011, for my ski holidays this year to witness the recovery.  When I was writing the 3 reports, Nozawa Onsen looked quite attractive for a vacation.  Then, I carried out the plan.  This is a report of my 5-day ski trip to Nozawa Onsen Village from March 5th to 9th, 2012.
Read the rest of this entry »

Direct Bus from Haneda Airport to Karuizawa

February 27th, 2012 by
Category: Experience, Information, Miscellaneous, Report
You can purchase tickets at the “Tickets and Hotel Reservation Counters (Bus Ticket Sales Counter)” in Haneda Airport.
 
Easy and comfortable. Large luggage can go into the luggage compartment of the bus.  Now let’s go to Karuizawa directly!

Now Direct Access from Haneda Airport (in Tokyo) to Karuizawa (in Nagano)

Have you known that a direct bus route opened between Haneda Airport in Tokyo and Karuizawa in Nagano in July 2011?  This airport limousine service is called “HANEDA AIRPORT EXRESS” and Karuizawa route was newly added to the existing routes. 

Now that Haneda Airport accepts many international airlines, including Cathay Pacific Airways, Korean Air, China Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways and so on.  If your flight arrives in Haneda Airport and your destination is Karuizawa, HANEDA AIRPORT EXPRESS will be a convenient and comfortable choice because you don’t have to hassle with your large luggage and changes of transportation.

There are 2 buses a day for each direction, which means 2 buses from Haneda Airport to Karuizawa and 2 buses from Karuizawa to Haneda Airport (the bus also stops at Yokohama).  It takes about 185 minutes to 200 minutes from Haneda Airport to Karuizawa. 

The price is also quite attractive — JPY3,200 for adults and JPY 1,600 for children for one way.  You can get the bus ticket at Haneda Airport.

For the latest information and details, please check HANEDA AIRPORT EXRESS’s website

We are waiting for you in Karuizawa, one of Japan’s representative mountain resorts with great hotels, wonderful cuisines, beautiful nature, ski hills, hot springs, golf course, a shopping outlet mall and much more.

Karuizawa Shiraito Fall shows different beauty depending on the season.
 
Shaw Memorial Chapel. Karuizawa’s refreshing climate has attracted many international and domestic guests since the old times.
For more information:
Name of the service HANEDA AIRPORT EXPRESS (airport limousine bus operated by Keihin Kyuko Bus and Seibu Kogen Bus)
TEL
  • Keihin Kyuko Bus 03-3743-0022 (Japan country code: 81. Opening hours are from 9:00-18:30 every day)
  • Seibu Kogen Bus 0267-45-5045 (Japan country code: 81. )
URL

Special thanks to Keihin Kyuko Bus for interview and photos (the top two photos) and to Seibu Kogen Bus for interview.

Valentine in Karuizawa in Karuizawa Winter Festival 2012

January 27th, 2012 by
Category: Events, Information, Miscellaneous

  

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From 1st to 14th Feb 2012, Karuizawa will hold “Valentine in Karuizawa” events to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day as part of Karuizawa Winter Festival 2012.  I would like to recommend not only couples but also many people to come to Karuizawa and spend a special time.  Karuizawa is especially known for its cool and bracing summer, but it is also very beautiful in winter.

Events of “Valentine in Karuizawa” include followings:

  • “Love trees”, to which you can bind your love message card, are prepared in Yagasaki Park (5 minutes from Karuizawa Station), Karuizawa Station (JR), and Shinano-Oiwake Station (Shinano Tetsudo Railway).
  • Illumination events are held from 17:00 to 21:00 on 1st, 4th, 5th, 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th Feb.
  • Fireworks display is held from 18:00 (the event starts at 17:00) at Yagasaki Park.  Small gifts and hot drinks are served.  A mini concert is held.
  • Love Message Contest is held from 18:20 on 11th Feb at Yagasaki Park.

I hope you will enjoy the winter of Karuizawa!

 

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Name of the event Valentine in Karuizawa (in Karuizawa Winter Festival 2012)
Dates 1st to 14th Feb, 2012
Place Karuizawa Town (main venue is Yagasaki Park)
Inquiry Contact Karuizawa Tourist Association at TEL: 0267-41-3850 (Japan country code 81).
URL http://www.karuizawamonogatari.jp/valentine.html
General information of Karuizawa Contact Karuizawa Tourist Information Offices: TEL: 0267-42-5538 (Karuizawa Kanko Kaikan in Kyu-Karuizawa) / 0267-42-2491 (Karuizawa Station) / 0267-45-6050 (Naka Karuizawa Station). http://karuizawa-kankokyokai.jp/ (Click “English” button.)

Special thanks to Karuizawa Tourist Association for providing information and photos.

“Shinshu Tourist Destinations ‘Kizuna’ Declaration” Report #3: Nozawa Onsen Village

December 30th, 2011 by
Category: Cuisine, Culture Art, Events, Information, Miscellaneous, Onsens (Hot Springs), Report, Sightseeing

— For Japanese translation of this article, click here (authorized link by Nagano Prefecture) — 

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“Oyu” Public Bath. Nozawa Onsen Village is known for hot springs and has 14 public baths.
 
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Dynamic “Dosojin Festival” is one of the 3 great fire festivals in Japan.

 Shinshu Tourist Destinations ‘Kizuna‘ (Bonds) Declaration

This is “Shinshu Tourist Destinations ‘Kizuna‘ (Bonds) Declaration” Report #3.  As reported in Report #1, “Shinshu Tourist Destinations ‘Kizuna‘ (Bonds) Declaration” was issued in Nozawa Onsen Village by Nagano Prefectural Federation of Societies of Commerce and Industry and all of Nagano’s seventy Societies of Commerce and Industry on 24th Oct, 2011. It aims at strengthening ‘Kizuna’, which means bonds or ties, among the tourist destinations in Nagano (Shinshu) and powerfully promoting tourism and business again to cope with the influences of the earthquakes in March.  In Report #2, we focused on “Nozawa Onsen Snow Resort”, which has been fully recovered from the damage of the earthquakes.  In this Report #3, we would like to convey the attractions of Nozawa Onsen Village from various perspectives.

 

The Village of Onsen (Hot Springs) — ‘Sotoyu’ for People and ‘Ogama’ for Food

Nakao-no-yu Public Bath, housed in a beautifu building, boasts large space.

Nakao-no-yu Public Bath, housed in a beautiful building, boasts large space.

Beautiful appearance of Oyu public bath. In front small Buddhist statues are placed.

Beautiful appearance of Oyu Public Bath. Small Buddhist statues are placed in front.

Kamiterayu Public Bath has hot springs not only for humans but also for boiling eggs.

Kamiterayu Public Bath has an area where you can boil your eggs in hot springs.

"Akiha-no-yu" Public Bath has an open atmosphere with large windows.

Akiha-no-yu Public Bath has an open atmosphere with large windows.

Local women are boiling Nozawana Cabbages in hot springs.

Local women are washing Nozawana Cabbages in hot springs.

Ogama hot springs are like Nozawa Onsen Village's kitchen. Water at 90 degrees celcius is spring out.

"Ogama" hot springs is called "Nozawa Onsen's Kitchen". 90 degree-water springs out.

Nozawa Onsen Village is, as its name “onsen” shows, famous for hot springs or onsen in Japanese.  There are 14 public baths called “sotoyu”, including Furusato-no-yu just opened on Dec 14th.  The public baths are common properties of the villagers, but they are opened to visitors thanks to the villagers’ hospitality.  The public baths are the places not only for bathing but also for warm communication among villagers and visitors.  It would be a great experience to stroll about the downtown with atmosphere and enter as many public baths as possible!    

Another interesting thing about hot springs in Nozawa Onsen is that villagers use the hot-spring water to wash or boil food (see the last two photos above).  There is a place called “Ogama” hot springs at the temperature of 90 degrees.  Villagers bring vegetables and eggs there and wash or boil them in the hot-spring water.  Therefore, Ogama is called “Nozawa Onsen’s Kitchen”.  Ogama is not opened to those other than villagers because it’s hot and dangerous.  But you can still try boiling your egg in hot springs.  In “Ashiyu Park Yurari” located near Ogama, you can boil your egg in “egg baths” while you enjoy soaking your feet in the foot bath next.  Some public baths also have special hot springs for eggs.

Tradition — Dosojin Festival, Akebi Handiworks, Nozawana Cabbage Pickles

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Dosojin Festival. On the evening of Jan 15, fire is set to a shrine built for the festival and other dedicated things.

 

A bag and a hatoguruma (a dove on wheels) woven with Akebi vines.

A basket and a hatoguruma (a dove on wheels) woven with Akebi vines.

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Recipes for Nozawana Cabbage Pickles vary depending on each home.

Nozawa Onsen’s attractions are not limited to hot springs and skiing.  On January 15th every year, the village celebrates its famous Dosojin Festival, which is one of Japan’s three great fire festivals.  Dosojin are a pair of male and female gods whose statues are enshrined along roads.  They protect us from bad luck and bring us a chance of marriage and having a baby. The festival is really dynamic.  A special shrine is built by local men for the festival and fire is set to the shrine and other dedicated things on the evening of January 15th.  The next festival is coming soon, so why not come and look yourself?

As for traditional handicrafts of Nozawa Onsen, Akebi vine works are famous.  If you come to the village, you will soon find a “hatoguruma” (a dove on wheels) woven by hand with Akebi vines.  Hatoguruma is a toy for children, but it will be perfect as a souvenir to display on your shelf.  Akebi vines are also used to make practical products such as baskets.  Akebi vines are very strong, so you can use products for a long time.  The above photo of a basket and a hatoguruma made with Akebi vines (second from the last) was taken thanks to the cooperation of an Akebi vine craft shop and studio “Sankyu Kogei”.  Their website is http://www14.plala.or.jp/sankyu39/

Finally, I would like to introduce Nozawana Cabbage Pickles (see the last photo above).  The pickles are enormously popular not only in Nozawa Onsen Village but also all over Nagano Prefecture, but the home of Nozawana Cabbages is Nozawa Onsen Village.  They are simple but tasty and go well with boiled rice.  Nagano people enjoy Nozawana Cabbage Pickles at teatime, too.  You can find the pickles at almost every souvenir shop and grocer’s. 

Nozawa Onsen Village is welcoming domestic and international guests.  Please come and stay in Nozawa Onsen Village this winter and enjoy snow, hot springs and Japanese culture.  Your visit will definately help Nagano and Japan’s recovery!  Thank you for reading.

Name of the facility NOZAWA ONSEN Tourism Association
Description of business Tourism association
Address 9780-4 Toyosato, Nozawaonsen-mura, Shimotakai-gun, Nagano-ken, 389-2502
TEL / FAX
  • TEL: 0269-85-3155 (Japan country code: 81)
  • FAX: 0269-85-3883 (Japan country code: 81)
E-mail info@nozawakanko.jp
URL
Access Refer to http://nozawakanko.jp/english/ (Click “Access”)
Operating dates Open every day from 8:30 to 18:00
Prices
How to contact Fax or e-mail
General information of Nozawa Onsen Village Contact NOZAWA ONSEN Tourism Association as above.

Special thanks to: Nagano Prefectural Federation of Societies of Commerce and Industry, The Community of Commerce and Industry of NOZAWA ONSEN, NOZAWA ONSEN Tourism Association, and residents and concerned people of Nozawa Onsen Village.

“Shinshu Tourist Destinations ‘Kizuna’ Declaration” Report #2: Nozawa Onsen Snow Resort

December 12th, 2011 by
Category: Cuisine, Events, Experience, Information, Miscellaneous, Onsens (Hot Springs), Outdoor Activities, Report, Seasonal Topics, Shopping, Sightseeing

 — For Japanese translation of this article, click here (authorized link by Nagano Prefecture) — 

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The top of Yamabiko Course is the highest point in Nozawa Onsen Snow Resort. Enjoy the great panoramic view.
 
resthouse_yamabiko
Reconstructed “Rest House Yamabiko”. Enjoy food and drink in the cheerful atmosphere. The popular menu is “Nozawana Cabbage Rice Topped with Steak”.

Shinshu Tourist Destinations ‘Kizuna‘ (Bonds) Declaration

This is “Shinshu Tourist Destinations ‘Kizuna‘ (Bonds) Declaration” Report #2.  As reported in Report #1, “Shinshu Tourist Destinations ‘Kizuna‘ (Bonds) Declaration” was issued in Nozawa Onsen Village by Nagano Prefectural Federation of Societies of Commerce and Industry and all of Nagano’s seventy Societies of Commerce and Industry on 24th Oct, 2011.  It aims at strengthening ‘Kizuna’, which means bonds or ties, among the tourist destinations in Nagano (Shinshu) and powerfully promoting tourism and business again to cope with the influences of the earthquakes in March.

This Report #2 focuses on “Nozawa Onsen Snow Resort”, which has been fully recovered from the damage of the earthquakes.  At the time of the quake on 12th March, 2011, ceilings of the restaurant “Rest House Yamabiko” on Nozawa Onsen Snow Resort fell to the ground and some of the ski lifts got damaged.  But the ski resort made great efforts to continue its operation until the scheduled end of the previous snow season, May 2011.  Now, with “Rest House Yamabiko” beautifully reconstructed as the photo above and all the skiing facilities fully recovered, Nozawa Onsen Snow Resort is entering the 2011-2012 snow season this month with hope of welcoming many domestic and international guests. 

 

Fully Recovered “Nozawa Onsen Snow Resort” — A Paradise for Skiers and Snowboarders 

Nozawa Onsen Snow Resort is one of the largest skiing and snowboarding resorts in Japan with modern facilities: The longest course or slope boasts a distance of 10,000 meters; The vertical drop is 1,085 meters; The steepest slope is at 39 degrees; The number of courses is as many as 36 in addition to a snow park; Modern and comfortable ski lifts and gondolas are equipped; A variety of restaurants are waiting.  The view from the snow resort is also breath-takingly gorgeous.  When you go down the slopes, you can enjoy a great panoramic view of close and far mountains and the hot-spring downtown before your eyes.  Furthermore, the year 2012 is the 100th anniversary of introducing skiing, so there are various celebrating events.

 

The World’s Precious Combination — Large-Scale Ski Slopes and Traditional Hot-Spring Downtown

With my own experience of skiing and staying in Nozawa Onsen, I can say that this village is very fascinating not only for the Japanese but also for overseas visitors.  One reason is, of course, its perfectness as a skiing and snowboarding resort with large-scale slopes, high-quality snow, the beautiful scenery, and modern facilities.  The other reason is that Nozawa Onsen downtown maintains unchanged Japanese culture.  In other words, the villagers have proudly kept their own lifestyle in the mountains over a long period of time, not accommodating themselves to other cultures.  For example, they have 13 public hot-spring baths called “sotoyu” (the 14th bath will open on 15th Dec, 2011).  The village is blessed with a large amount of hot springs and the public baths are kindly opened to anyone free of charge.  When you go into such a hot-spring bath, a shop, a restaurant or an inn or walk around the streets, you can experience their traditional Japanese lifestyle and will feel human warmth.  Such experience often turns to be the most unforgettable memory of your trip.  I think it is very rare in the world for one village to have such a large-scale ski resort and a genuine traditional hot spring downtown.  Please visit revitalized Nozawa Onsen Snow Resort!

 

This Report #2 mainly introduced Nozawa Onsen’s attraction as a skiing and snowboarding resort.  There is more to follow in “Shinshu Tourist Destinations ‘Kizuna‘ (Bonds) Declaration” Report #3.  

skyline_course
On Skyline Course, a 3500-meter super long slope, you can go straight down from the mountaintop with a great view of Hokushin Gogaku mountains and the hot-spring downtown.   
 
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Ushikubi Course, looking down the hot-spring downtown, will satisfy advanced skiers and snowboarders.
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Snowshoeing is another fun. While walking a snowfield, you may meet wild animals like a serow or a rabbit!

 

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After skiing, warm yourself in a public hot-spring bath. This "Oyu" bath is well-known among the 13 baths.

 

 

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Why not get famous Nozawana-zuke, or Nozawana cabbage pickles, for souvenirs?

Name of the facility NOZAWA ONSEN SNOW RESORT
Description of business Skiing and snowboarding resort
Address 7653 Toyosato, Nozawaonsen-mura, Shimotakai-gun, Nagano-ken, 389-2502
TEL / FAX
  • TEL: 0269-85-3166 (Japan country code: 81)
  • FAX: 0269-85-2201 (Japan country code: 81)
E-mail
URL http://www.nozawaski.com/ (Click English button)
Access
  • If by car, 25 minutes from Toyota Iiyama Interchange of Joshinetsu Expressway.
  • If train (JR Nagano Shinkansen), 1 hour and 15 minutes by bus from Nagano Station.
  • If train (JR Iiyama Line), 20 minutes by bus from Togari Nozawaonsen Station
Operating dates Dec 2011 to 6 May 2012.
Prices of Lifts and Gondolas 1 day pass: Adult JPY4,600, Children (Junior high students or younger) JPY2,100, Senior (over 60) JPY3,500.  Refer to the website for more types of tickets.
How to contact Tel or fax
General information of Nozawa Onsen Village Contact NOZAWA ONSEN Tourism Association. http://nozawakanko.jp/ (Click “English” button.)  FAX: 0269-85-3883   Email: info@nozawakanko.jp  

Special thanks to: Nagano Prefectural Federation of Societies of Commerce and Industry, The Community of Commerce and Industry of NOZAWA ONSEN, NOZAWA ONSEN Tourism Association, and residents and concerned people of Nozawa Onsen Village.

Karuizawa Wedding at forestana KARUIZAWA

November 30th, 2011 by
Category: Information, Miscellaneous, Report

// This article was produced in cooperation with Nagano Prefecture Karuizawa High School with the warm support of Nagano Prefecture and forestana KARUIZAWA. Three high school students, Irish, Moe and Yukina tried interviewing with forestana KARUIZAWA and helped me write this article. // 

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Appearance of a wedding facility “forestana KARUIZAWA”. You would feel like you’re in the forest.
 
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All party rooms have a private garden with open atmosphere. This is a garden of the room “Brinche” with an ornamental swimming pool.

Karuizawa, a classic highland resort, is a very popular place for wedding. Many couples and their guests, both from Japan and overseas, come to Karuizawa for their wedding. Today I would like to introduce “forestana KARUIZAWA”, a wedding facility located within the vast site of Karuizawa Prince Hotel.  This is the facility owned by the hotel, so you can stay there before or after the wedding and explore Karuizawa if you like.

forestana KARUIZAWA is made up of the “white” area and the “brown” area, each of which has a chapel and two party rooms. Please enjoy the photos and the interview by the three high school students with Mr. Morita of forestana KARUIZAWA, who kindly held a guided tour of the facility for us.

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— Interview —

Q1 (Irish): How big is the wedding cake?

A (Mr. Morita): More or less 30 cm by 30 cm, but it depends on the couple’s preference and the number of guests. The shapes of the cakes can be designed according to the couple’s request, such as a heart shape, a house shape or a multi-layered shape.

Q (Irish): How much does the wedding cost?

A: This is also totally up to the couple. If it’s only a ceremony, it’s from JPY157,000. The wedding reception with French cuisine is from around JPY500,000 for 20 guests.

Q (Irish): How many wedding ceremonies has forestana KARUIZAWA held so far?

A: We have been operating for 3 years now. I suppose more than 1,200 couples held their wedding with us.

Q (Irish): What is a big round object like a wreath I saw in front of the two chapels?

A: It is our symbol of wedding. In the circle there is a crescent-moon-like object. It is thin at the top and is gradually getting thicker toward the bottom. The thin part represents the bride and the groom of the wedding day. As it becomes thicker, it means the couple’s children are growing and the couple is getting older together. So it represents the bonds between the bride and the groom.

Q (Moe): What is the most popular design for wedding dress?

A: “A-line” dresses are popular, narrower at the top and wider toward the bottom. Other popular designs include a round-silhouette dress and a dress with a long train. Some brides wear a dress with a removable train or a miniskirt-type dress.

Q (Moe): What is the season in which many couples hold wedding?

A: Many couples choose May, June, September and October, because the climate is stable.

Q (Moe): What do you think is important when you give advice to the bride and the groom at the stage of planning ceremonies and parties?

A: We try to listen carefully to their own ideas and propose how to realize those ideas in a concrete way.

Q (Yukina): Is it fixed which music is going to be played during a wedding ceremony?

A: No. It depends on the couple’s request. We can play any music if you bring.

Q (Yukina): What are the things that are thrown by guests to the bride and the groom for celebration?

A: They can be flower petals, rice, feather and so on.

Q (Yukina): What flowers are used for the bride’s “bouquet toss”?

A: You are able to choose your favorite flowers. So flowers for a bouquet toss are not fixed.

Q (Irish, Moe and Yukina): Thank you so much for showing us around and answering our interview.

A: My pleasure.

— Interview end —

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The white chapel “Brasa Bianca” has an image of breeze blowing through the highland. It’s also called “Wind Chapel”.
 
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The brown chapel “Pierre Matiada”, filled with sunlight, has an image of morning dew fallen to the stone. It’s also called “Light Chapel”.
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The white party room "Delicieutale". One student said, "You'll surely think some day you want to get married here."

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The brown party room "Actro" has an elegant, composed atmosphere.

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Irish, Yukina and Moe interviewing with Mr. Morita of forestana KARUIZAWA.

Name of the facility Karuizawa Prince Hotel “forestana KARUIZAWA”
Description of business Guest House Wedding with 2 chapels and 4 party rooms
Address 1016 Karuizawa, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano-ken, 389-0193 Japan
TEL / FAX
  • TEL: 0267-42-1500 (Japan country code: 81)
  • FAX: 0267-41-1001 (Japan country code: 81)
E-mail info@forestana.jp
URL www.forestana.jp
Access About 3 minutes by taxi from Karuizawa Station. If by car, 11km from Usui-Karuizawa Interchange (usually about 12 minutes). The map is here: www.princehotels.co.jp/karuizawa/forestana/access/index.html
Operating dates and hours 11:00 to 19:00 (weekdays) / 9:30 – 20:00 (Saturdays and holidays) / Closed on Tuesdays
Prices Wedding ceremony is from JPY157,000.
How to contact Tel or E-mail
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). http://karuizawa-kankokyokai.jp/ (Click “English” button.)

“Shinshu Tourist Destinations ‘Kizuna’ Declaration” Report #1: Reception

October 24th, 2011 by
Category: Events, Information, Miscellaneous, Report

— For Japanese translation of this article, click here (authorized link by Nagano Prefecture) — 

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Traditional drum performance by Sakae Village’s women was impressive.
 
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Comedian group Kotetsu and SBC announcer are introducing steamed rice with ume or Japanese apricots made by Miyada Village. 

On Oct 23rd, the Reception for “Shinshu Tourist Destinations ‘Kizuna‘ (Bonds) Declaration” was held in Nozawa Onsen Arena in Nozawa Onsen Village ahead of the Declaration scheduled to be made on the following day.  The event was hosted by Nagano Prefectural Federation of Societies of Commerce and Industry and joined by many concerned people and parties. 

The aim of the event was to strengthen “Kizuna“, which means bonds or ties, among the tourist destinations in Nagano (Shinshu) and to powerfully promote tourism and business again.  Japan, including Nagano, suffered from the earthquakes in March.  In the course of overcoming the great trial, we learned that “Kizuna“, or bonds among people to help each other, was the most important thing.  Thanks to “Kizuna“, Nagano is ready to welcome both domestic and international tourists.

During the events, various tourist attractions were introduced, including 19 traveling routes to enjoy local cuisine, tasting healthy recipes using local ingredients, tasting local beer, sake, shochu, and mineral water, and so on.  Furthermore, we enjoyed very good programs including traditional drum performance by Sakae Village’s women.

Now, please come to Nagano and experience its attractions yourself.  We sincerely welcome you!

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Tasty “fried Nozawana cabbage and shinshu chicken” was prepared by women of Nagano Hokushin area. 
 
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Traveling routes to enjoy local cuisine were displayed. Why not travel yourself?
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Mineral water from Sakae Village.

 

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Local beer, sake, shochu. Come and drink!

 

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Nagano's lovely character "arukuma" also joined.

Special thanks to: Nagano Prefectural Federation of Societies of Commerce and Industry.

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