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.
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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.

“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) — 

oyu3
“Oyu” Public Bath. Nozawa Onsen Village is known for hot springs and has 14 public baths.
 
dosojin_7
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

dosojin_4

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.

nozawana_tsukekomi1

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.

Resort Inn “Candytuft” in Karuizawa

December 20th, 2011 by
Category: Accomodations, Cuisine, Information, Report
outside_winter
The appearance of the resort inn “Candytuft” in winter. The antique pink building is charming.
 
dining
You enjoy dinner and breakfast in this spacious dining room with a warm wood-burning stove.

If you want to enjoy Karuizawa, a popular highland resort in Japan, to the full extent, what is the ideal type of accommodation?  I think you will need to find a place which provides comfortable rooms, good access to tourist spots, delicious meals, kind staff, the quiet surroundings and relaxing bathrooms.  Today I’d like to introduce an inn called “Candytuft”, which will surely satisfy those needs I mentioned.

Candytuft is located in the quiet area called Minamigaoka, where there are a lot of trees and holiday homes.  If you walk or cycle around the inn, you will soon find the typical beautiful scenery of Karuizawa.  Yet, it is only 1.9 kilometers from Karuziawa Station and has good access to popular sightseeing spots, including Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza (famous outlet mall) and Karuizawa Prince Snow Resort (skiing and snowboarding facility).  And to the convenience of tourists using trains, the hotel can pick you up at Karuizawa Station as long as you make a pickup reservation in advance.  That would be helpful especially for visitors from overseas.

Other than its location, I would like to talk about the inn itself.  There are ten nicely decorated Western-style rooms, nine of which with a bath and a toilet, one with a toilet, and all with a washbasin.  Aside from a bathroom within a guest room, the inn has two independent family bathrooms, which can be used privately.  You can relax in a bigger bathroom with artificial hot-spring water.  As for meals, you can enjoy tasty Western-style dinner and breakfast in the beautiful dining room with a lovely wood-burning stove.  At the corner of the dining room, you will find a display of premium shochu (Japanese alcoholic drink) bottles.  You can sip these shochu or other alcoholic beverages during your meal or in your room.

 I’m sure you will have a wonderful time if you stay at Candytuft and explore Karuizawa.

twin_room
A twin room with a bath and a toilet. There are 10 guest rooms in European taste.
 
bathroom_1
Guests can also use a family bathroom with artificial hot-spring water.  Have a private relaxing time!  
sake

You can enjoy drinking from a large collection of alcoholic beverages.

 

breakfast

Fresh breakfast is served in a dining room with a view of the beautiful outside scenery.

 

lounge

There are tourist guidebooks in the lounge.

Name of the facility Candytuft
Description of business Accommodation in Western style with a capacity of 23 guests
Address 1143-10, Karuizawa, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano-ken, 389-0102
TEL / FAX
  • TEL: 0267-41-1350 (Japan country code: 81)
  • FAX: 0267-41-1353 (Japan country code: 81)
E-mail p-candy@alto.ocn.ne.jp
URL
Access
  • Pickup and sending service available with advanced reservation. Please contact the inn.
  • If you walk, it takes 25 minutes from Karuizawa Station (1.9 km).
  • If you take a taxi, it takes 5 minutes from Norh Exit of Karuizawa Station (about JPY1,100).
Operating dates and hours Closed on Dec 31 and Jan 1. Other irregular closure is possible, so please contact the inn. 
Prices JPY8,000 to JPY13,000 per night per person with breakfast (the price varies seasonally).
How to contact Email only
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 #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) — 

yamabiko_top1
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.   
 
ski_ushikubi
Ushikubi Course, looking down the hot-spring downtown, will satisfy advanced skiers and snowboarders.
snow_shoeing3

Snowshoeing is another fun. While walking a snowfield, you may meet wild animals like a serow or a rabbit!

 

oyu3

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

 

 

nozawana_osaramoritsuke2

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.

HOTEL CYPRESS KARUIZAWA

December 2nd, 2011 by
Category: Accomodations, Cuisine, Events, Experience, Information, Onsens (Hot Springs), Report, Sightseeing
1_standardtwin1
Standard Twin room (30 square meters). All the guest rooms of HOTEL CYPRESS KARUIZAWA are spacious.
 
2_openbath
Open bath attached to Special Roten Room. You can enjoy a relaxing bath time privately.

HOTEL CYPRESS KARUIZAWA is within a 15-minute walk of Karuizawa Station.  There is no doubt that the convenient location is an advantage, but the hotel’s attractions do not end there. 

The hotel is in the center of Karuizawa, yet it faces a quiet street.  The neighborhood has a lot of greenery, so you can enjoy your holiday surrounded by the refreshing environment.  When you arrive at the hotel and enter your room, you will be pleasantly surprised at its spaciousness.  Even the smallest room has the area of 30 square meters, and the majority of the rooms have the area of 50 or more square meters. 

Another fascination is bath.  There is a large public bath with radium spring water, which is good for your health.  Furthermore, some of the rooms have a private open-air bath attached to the room (the right photo above).  Those baths will surely relax your body and mind.

Cuisine would also be satisfactory.  For dinner, you can choose from French food and Japanese food.  You would enjoy a lot of fresh local ingredients with good wine.  For Japanese food, they offer such food as shabushabu (thinly-sliced beef cooked in a pan on the table), teppan-yaki (hot plate cooking) and hot pot.

I hope you will have a wonderful stay at HOTEL CYPRESS KARUIZAWA.

3_teppan_trimming
Teppan-Yaki (cooked on a hot plate) premium beef is served at the hotel’s Japanese restaurant “Bien”.  
 
4-evening_view
A romantic night view of the courtyard reminiscent of a forest in Karuizawa.
5_publicbath

This large public bath is open exclusively to hotel guests.

 

6_dinner_christmas

An example of French multi-course dinner.

 

7_appearance1

The hotel's entrance. You can walk from Karuizawa Station.

Name of the facility HOTEL CYPRESS KARUIZAWA
Description of business Accommodation (capacity: 355 guests) with tea and bar lounge, French restaurant, Teppan-Yaki restaurant, wedding chapel, spa salon, banquet rooms and public and private baths.  
Address 287-1, Karuizawa-higashi, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano-ken, 389-0104
TEL / FAX
  • TEL: 0267-42-0011 (Japan country code: 81)
  • FAX: 0267-42-0989 (Japan country code: 81)
E-mail info.karuizawa@urhm-inc.jp
URL http://www.cypresshotels.co.jp/karuizawa/index.html
Access 15 minutes on foot from Karuizawa Station. Go out of North Exit of Karuizawa Station and walk 700 meters toward the direction of Naka-Karuizawa. Map is here: http://www.cypresshotels.co.jp/karuizawa/access/index.html
Operating dates and hours Contact for winter closure (about 10 days). The restaurants are from 18:00 to 22:00 (last orders at 20:30, reservation needed). The lounge is from 10:00 to 22:00 (23:00 on days before holidays).
Prices Minimum rate for a twin room is JPY15,000 per person with dinner and breakfast. Prices are changeable depending on the season, so please contact the hotel.
How to contact Email or contact form below. http://www.cypresshotels.co.jp/karuizawa/contact/index.html
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.)

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. // 

appearance
Appearance of a wedding facility “forestana KARUIZAWA”. You would feel like you’re in the forest.
 
brinche
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.

img_0502  img_04831
 

— 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 —

chapel_white1
The white chapel “Brasa Bianca” has an image of breeze blowing through the highland. It’s also called “Wind Chapel”.
 
chapel_brown
The brown chapel “Pierre Matiada”, filled with sunlight, has an image of morning dew fallen to the stone. It’s also called “Light Chapel”.
delicieutale

The white party room "Delicieutale". One student said, "You'll surely think some day you want to get married here."

banquet_small_brown

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.)

Queen’s bakery cafe in Karuizawa

November 26th, 2011 by
Category: Cuisine, Information, Report
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Queen’s bakery cafe’s popular menu “Morning Set” is available until 11:00 a.m.
 
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For “Today’s Lunch”, you can choose the main dish from 3 choices, including pasta like this photo.  

For many travelers, definitely me, it’s a great pleasure when we find a cafe that has a warm atmosphere to enter and provides voluminous, delicious meals with reasonable prices.  If you want to find such cafe in Karuizawa, I would like to introduce “Queen’s bakery cafe”, which faces the main street extending from Karuizawa Station.

The cafe has two functions.  One is “bakery”, where various kinds of freshly-baked bread are displayed for sale on the shelves.  The other is “cafe”, where you can order the cafe’s original menus or eat some bread you’ve just bought at the bakery part. 

The popular menu at the cafe is “Morning Set”, which can be ordered from the opening time to 11:00 a.m.  This menu includes scrambled eggs, ham and sausage, freshly-picked vegetable salad, bread and drink (a choice from coffee, tea, orange juice or grapefruit juice).  And it’s only 880 yen!  It must be nice to start your new day with delicious breakfast.

Another recommendation is satisfying “Today’s Lunch”.  You can choose the main dish from three options.  On the day I visited, the main dish choices were pasta with tomato sauce with bacon and eggplant, hamburger steak and chicken sauteed with basil.  Whichever main dish you may take, you will also be served freshly-picked vegetable salad, bread and drink. 

When you come to Karuizawa, why don’t you drop in at Queen’s bakery cafe for bread, meals or coffee?

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Bread flavored with pizza taste, ham and cheese, baked curry and onion gratin, all from bakery.
 
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Croissants and sandwiches from bakery.
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Hamburger steak from Today's Lunch.

 

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How about a cup of coffee at the terrace?

 

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Chicken with basil from Today's Lunch.

Name of the facility Queen’s bakery cafe
Description of business Bakery and cafe restaurant
Address 386-4, Karuizawa, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano-ken, 389-0102 Japan
TEL / FAX 0267-42-2666 [Tel and fax] (Japan country code: 81)
E-mail queensbakerycafe@orange.plala.or.jp
URL http://www13.plala.or.jp/queensbakery/
Access 7 minutes on foot from Karuizawa Station. Go straight on the road starting from Karuizawa Station North Exit.  Go past traffic lights “Shinonome” and walk 700 meters.  Then you will see it on your left. 
Operating dates and hours 7:30-17:00 (7:00 – 18:00 from the end of Apr to Sep)
Prices Morning Set: JPY880, Today’s Lunch: chicken JPY980, pasta JPY1100, hamburger steak JPY1280, Season’s salad: JPY 700
How to contact E-mail, Tel or Fax
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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Ramen Restaurant “Menya Marubozu” in Karuizawa

October 6th, 2011 by
Category: Cuisine, Information, Miscellaneous, Report
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Power Ramen. The Ramen has a plenty of volume and a flavor of garlic. Soup is spilling over.
 
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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.

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Putting the lard on Power Ramen. This process is a point to make Ramen delicious.
 
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This is an outward appearance of Menya Marubozu in front of Naka-Karuizawa Station.
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The inside of the shop is stylish. There are 18 seats.

 

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Mr. Tsuchiya is answering our questions.

 

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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 / FAX
  • TEL: 0267-46-6226 (Japan country code: 81)
  • FAX: 0267-46-6226 (Japan country code: 81)
E-mail
URL
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). http://karuizawa-kankokyokai.jp/ (Click “English” button.)