Nakadanasou – Japanese-style Inn in Komoro –

January 31st, 2011 by
Category: Accomodations, Cuisine, Information, Onsens (Hot Springs)
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“Hatsukoi Ringo Buro” (Hatsukoi Apple Bath).  Apples are floated on hot spring water.
 
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Outlook of “Heiseikan” accommodation building. 

“Nakadanasou” is a Japanese-style hot spring inn in Komoro city founded in 1898.  This 113-year-old traditional inn is especially renowned for its association with Shimazaki Toson (1872-1943), a prominent Japanese author and poet.   Toson loved to stay here and enjoyed its hot springs which contain healing power.  Nakadanasou even appears in Toson’s famous poem called “Chikumagawa Ryojou No Uta”.  

The main buildings of Nakadanasou are “Taishokan” (accommodation where Toson stayed and wrote the above poem), “Heiseikan” (new accommodation), and “Harikoshitei” (Japanese restaurant).  While the whole site is filled with a classic and tranquil atmosphere, its modern and convenient amenities ensure your comfortable stay at the same time.

I had lunch at the restaurant Harikoshitei.   The building of Harikoshitei, designated as important cultural property, is a large old house in the Edo period.  When I visited there, many dolls were beautifully displayed for the coming Girl’s Festival on March 3rd.   It is a Japanese custom to exhibit special dolls called “hina dolls” to celebrate the festival.  The restaurant serves Japanese country-style food using fresh local ingredients.  I had a set lunch called “Hatsukoi Gozen”.  Many small plates, such as tempura, fish and simmered vegetables, were served in a beautiful basket.  Furthermore, sashimi (raw fish), chawanmushi (steamed egg custard in a cup), soba noodles and a Japanese-style dessert were served.  I truly enjoyed the tasty and beautiful meal while looking at the pretty dolls. 

I also experienced its famous “Hatsukoi Ringo Buro”, which literally means “first love apple bath”.  The word “hatsukoi” was named after Toson’s poem in which apples appear.  From October to May, apples are floated on the hot spring water.  The sweet smell of apples really relaxed both my mind and body.  The hot spring bath is available throughout the year (from June to September with no apples), to both overnight guests and day visitors.  Please contact the inn to confirm the opening hours for day visitors.   

Finally, let me add that the inn is conveniently located for sightseeing.  Komoro station and Kaikoen Park are just 15 minutes’ walk.  Karuizawa, a popular mountain resort good for shopping, skiing and other leisure activities, is 20 minutes’ train ride.  “Asama 2000”, a ski resort at the altitude of 2,000 meters with natural powder snow, is 30 minutes’ drive by car. 

Why not experience traditional culture and cuisine in Nanadansou? 

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A large guest room that has Japanese rooms and a Western room with a great garden view. 
 
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The restaurant “Harikoshitei”, designated as important cultural property, was decorated with pretty hina dolls for the Girl’s Festival. 
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In front of Nakadanasou. Landlady in traditional kimono will give you a warm welcome.

 

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Set lunch "Hatsukoi Gozen" at "Harikoshitei" restaurant. Soba and dessert are also served.

Taishokan Nakaniwa

"Taishokan" accommodation building can be seen behind trees and flowers in the inner garden.

 

Name of the facility Nakadanasou
Description of business accommodation (capacity of 70 guests), restaurant, public hot spring bath  
Tel 0267-22-1511 (Japan country code: 81)
Fax 0267-22-9191 (Japan country code: 81)
Email nakadana@komoro.co.jp
URL http://www.nakadanasou.com (Click “ENGLISH WEBSITE”)
Address Kojou Nakadana, Komoro, Nagano, 384-8558, Japan
Reservations and inquiries Please contact by email or use the inquiry form on website.
Access
  • If you get off Nagano Shinkansen at “Sakudaira” station, change to JR Koumi Line and get off at “Komoro” station (last stop).
  • If you get off Nagano Shinkansen at “Karuizawa” station, change to Shinano Tetsudo (Shinano Railway) and get off at “Komoro” station.
  • Nakadanasou can be reached from Komoro station either by taxi (5 minutes) or on foot (15 minutes).
  • You can find a map on website.
Operating dates and hours
  • Nakadanasou (accommodation part) is open every day of the year. 
  • Harikoshitei (restaurant) is open daily from 11:30 to 14:00 except Wednesday. Reservation needed for dinner from 17:00 to 21:00.
Room rates and other prices
  • Minimum room rate is JPY11,000 per person per night including dinner and breakfast.  Room rates are changeable depending on the season, so please contact the inn.
  • A variety of souvenirs are available at the shop, including “nigorizake” (unrefined sake) at JPY1,680, “Harikoshi manju” (original Japanese-style buns with red bean paste filling) at JPY450, “umeshu” (plum liquor) at JPY1,100, and original wine at JPY2,800.

Karuizawa Mampei Hotel – Classic and Luxury –

December 31st, 2010 by
Category: Accomodations, Report, Sightseeing
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Front view of Mampei Hotel in winter.  The hotel and Karuizawa are also beautiful in spring, summer and autumn.
 
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Classic guest room in Main Building Alps constructed in 1936.  Mr. John Lennon was one of the fans of this hotel. 

“Mampei Hotel” in Karuizawa is one of Japan’s representative classic resort hotels with long history and tradition in the quiet greenery setting.  It started operation in 1894 as a western-style hotel, but its predecessor, a Japanese-style inn, dates back to 1764.  What is good about this hotel is that while it has atmosphere of good old days, we can enjoy a comfortable stay with functional amenities and friendly customer service at the same time.

Mampei Hotel has been loved by many prominent guests domestically and internationally.  Mr. John Lennon spent four summers from 1976 to 1979 in this hotel.   John seemed to enjoy his relaxing holidays with his Japanese wife and loving son in Karuizawa.  In 1972 the then Prime Minister Tanaka and the then U.S. Presidential Assistant Kissinger had a meeting in Sakurano-ma Room of this hotel.  From 1945 to 1952, the post-war period, Mampei Hotel was seized by the U.S. eighth Army and accommodated American officers.  In accordance with its tradition to welcome foreign guests, some of the staff still now receive English lauguage and culture training to improve their skills.

It has several types of guest rooms and independent cottages, so you can choose a room of your taste.  If you plan to come to Karuizawa for a one-day trip, you can still enjoy fine food and drink in the restaurants and the cafe in the hotel.   

The hotel is usually closed from the end of January to the beginning of March, so please check the latest information.  I’m sure you will have a memorable stay every season.

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In the luxurious Main Dining Room, guests can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner.  This room
was once used as a dance hall in old days.
 
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Why not enjoy your special night in Japan in the hotel bar with atmosphere? 
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Stained glass shows old-time Karuizawa, which used to have 3 resting stations along Route Nakasendo in Edo era.

 

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Juicy beef hamburger steak with tasty sauce served with vegetables (serving style can be changed).

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Delicious and fresh omelet, toast with hotel's original jam and butter, coffee, etc. in breakfast.

Name of the facility Mampei Hotel
Address 925, Karuizawa, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano-ken, 389-0102, Japan
Access
  • About 4 minutes (about 2 km) by taxi from “Karuizawa” station of JR Nagano Shinkansen or Shinano Tetsudo (Shinano Railway). 
  • From Tokyo to Karuizawa it takes about 70 minutes by JR Nagano Shinkansen.
Operating dates and hours
  • Open daily except for winter closing period (in case of 2011, closure is from Jan 23 to the noon of Mar 4). 
  • [Restaurants] Main Dining Room (French and western cuisine) / Manzanro (Chinese cuisine) / Cafe Terrace (coffee, snack, cakes) / Yugyoan (Kyoto-style Japanese cuisine.  Seasonally open) / Bar.  Please check the latest opening dates and hours for each.  The restaurants are at least closed during the hotel closing period above.
Room Rates [In case of 2010] JPY 22,200 or more per twin room.  There are several types of value packages that include room rate, dinner, breakfast, etc.  Please check the latest information.
TEL 0267-42-1234 (Japan country code: 81)
FAX 0267-42-7766 (Japan country code: 81)
URL http://mampei.co.jp/ (Top page)www.mampei.co.jp/room_reserve/index_english.html (English)
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 Taliesin (Lake Shiozawa)

November 21st, 2010 by
Category: Cuisine, Culture Art, Experience, Information, Outdoor Activities, Sightseeing
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Lake Shiozawa with Mt. Asama in Autumn.

 
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Beautiful lakeside with autumn leaves.

 “Karuizawa Taliesin” is one of Karuizawa’s largest leisure parks centered around Lake Shiozawa (Shiozawa-ko in Japanese) in the beautiful natural setting of the Southern part of Karuizawa. It has three museums, five historic buildings, a rose garden and six restaurants and cafes. There are also various sport and recreation facilities that families can enjoy, including tennis courts, rental boats, an archery facility, miniature golf courses, amusement rides, a park, shops, and pottery making experience. You can spend a full day in this wonderful amusement complex with lots of cultural and natural interest.   

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Meiji Yonjyuyonen Kan in July.

 
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Inside Suikyuso, a house with history.

Ducks walking on the lakeside.

Ducks on the lakeside.

 

Pasta at Sonnet

Pasta at Sonnet

 

Croquettes at Kosui.

Croquettes at Kosui.

Name of the facility Karuizawa Taliesin
Address 217, Shiozawako, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano-ken, 389-0111
Access About 8 minutes by taxi from “Karuizawa” station of JR Nagano Shinkansen or “Nakakaruizawa” station of Shinano Tetsudo (Shinano Railway). There are also several bus services depending on the season. Access to Karuizawa Station: About 70 minutes from Tokyo and 30 minutes from Nagano by JR Nagano Shinkansen.  About 90 minutes by Shinano Tetsudo from Nagano. 
Operating dates and hours 9:00 to 17:00 (Mar to Nov), 10:00 to 16:00 (Dec and Jan). Open every day from Mar to Nov. There are closing days in Dec and Jan.  Please check in advance.  Fully closed in Feb. Individual museums, attractions and historic buildings may have their own closing dates.
Admission fees Admission to the park: JPY800 (adults), JPY400 (elementary and junior high).  Admission to the park and Musee Peynett: JPY900 (adults), JPY500 (elementary and junior high).  Admission to the park and 3 museums: JPY1,500 (adults), JPY800 (elementary and junior high).  Admission to The Literary Museum of Karuizawa: JPY700 (adults), JPY300 (elementary and junior high).  Admission to Kouko Fukazawa Nonohana Flower Museum: JPY700 (adults), JPY400 (elementary and junior high).  Additional charges for some other facilities.
TEL 0267-46-6161 (Japan country code: 81)
URL http://www.karuizawataliesin.com/
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.)   

Autumn Leaves Viewing in Karuizawa

October 5th, 2010 by
Category: Cuisine, Events, Experience, Information, Miscellaneous, Outdoor Activities, Seasonal Topics, Sightseeing

 

Autumn comes early in Karuizawa, which is at an altitude of 1,000 meters on average.  You can enjoy beautiful red and yellow leaves in many parts of Karuizawa.  Today I would like to introduce two popular spots for autumn color viewing.  The peak of autumn colors is usually from the end of Oct (maple trees) to the beginning of Nov (larch trees).

 

(1) Kumoba Ike (Kumoba Pond)

 

dcp_7443 (Photo: Kumoba Pond)

 

Kumoba Pond is within easy access from Karuizawa Station and is one of the most popular autumn destinations in Karuizawa.  Around the pond is a twenty-minute walking trail, on which you can stroll under the beautiful red and yellow leaves.  The autumn colors reflected on the water surface are breathtaking as well. 

[Access] Go out of Karuizawa Station North Exit and walk straight on for about 500 meters.  Turn left at the traffic signal called “Shinonome”.  Keep walking along the street for about 500 meters.  Then you will see the pond on your right.  About 15 to 20 minutes from the station.

 

 

(2) Kyu Usui Toge Miharashidai (Kyu Usui Pass Observation Platform)

 

dcp_0758r  (Photo: Usui Toge Yuran Hodo hiking trail)

 

Kyu Usui Toge Miharashidai (Kyu Usui Pass Observation Platform) is located on the border of Nagano and Gunma Prefectures and boasts a fine view of towns and mountains below your eyes.  Near Miharashidai, there is an old shrine called “Kumanokotai Jinja” worth visiting.  If you feel hungry, you can take a rest at one of the traditional Japanese-style tearooms that serve famous “Chikara Mochi” rice cakes.  You can go to this Miharashidai by bus or your own car, but you can also get there by following a hiking trail called “Usui Toge Yuran Hodo”.  The hiking trail is like a tunnel of splendid fall foliage. 

[Access] You can take a Karuizawa Kotsu bus from Mampei Hotel, Karuizawa Kanko Kaikan, or other bus stops.  Karuizawa Kanko Kaikan, whose first floor is Tourist Information, is in the middle of Karuizawa Ginza Shopping Street.  Buses are seasonally operated, so it is better to check the operation schedule in advance.  An about 30-minute bus ride will take you up to Kyu Usui Toge Miharashidai.  If you like to take “Usui Toge Yuran Hodo”, the hiking trail, the entrance is near Nitebashi Bridge at the eastern end of Karuizawa Ginza Shopping Street.  You hike uphill for about 90 minutes under beautiful fall foliage.

 

 

Karuizawa Autumn Festival:

From October 2nd to November 3rd, Karuizawa Autumn Festival is being held.  During the festival period, various special events are held and special discounts are applied to some museums and Japanese-style inns if you have discount tickets that are attached to the leaflet of Karuizawa Autumn Festival.

 

Access to Karuizawa:

It takes about 70 minutes by JR Nagano Shinkansen from Tokyo.  You can check the following URL, too.

http://www.town.karuizawa.nagano.jp/html/English/access.html

 

For more information, contact Karuizawa Tourist Information Offices:

URL: http://karuizawa-kankokyokai.jp/ (Click “English” button)

TEL: 0267-42-5538 (Old Town) or 0267-42-2491 (Karuizawa Station) or 0267-45-6050 (Naka Karuizawa Station).   


If you like to join private or group tours to see Karuizawa and nearby areas, there are some organizations that provide guided walking tours, cycling tours, bus tours, and taxi tours depending on the day.  Some are guided in Japanese and others in Japanese and English.

 

I hope you will enjoy autumn beauty in Karuizawa.

 

 

 

 

Getting to Karuizawa for less — just 2000yen.

October 25th, 2009 by
Category: Miscellaneous, Shopping, Sightseeing

Having recognized that alomost all the posts on this blog are realated to sightseeing within Nagano, I dare to post this info on tranportation from Tokyo as I thought this is quite useful & helpful for anyone planning on visiting Karuizawa and its nearby town. Most visitors to this site wants to know not only the places to visit but also how to get there and how much it costs! Believe or not, you can come to Karuizawa from Shinjuku, Tokyo by bus for just 2000yen!  It’s an amazing price and less than half of the cost of Shinkansen from Tokyo. But the down side is that it takes about 2 hours 30 min, which is about twice as long as Shinkansen. The bus arrives at a parking area win Karuizawa Price Shopping Plaza New East.

For details visit the bus reservation page at Rakuten Travel

(Find the bus route ” KR421 ” in the list. Using Japanese web sites for booking public transportation and hotels is always headache. And unfortunately this is not an exception. Price may vary by season and day of the week.)

Bus to Karuizawa

Bus to Karuizawa

The Shiga-Kusatsu-Karuizawa Loop

October 13th, 2009 by
Category: Onsens (Hot Springs), Outdoor Activities, Seasonal Topics
The colors of Shiga Kogen in Autumn

The colors of Shiga Kogen in Autumn

I was all prepared to write about seeing the autumn leaves in Shiga Kogen and then noticed that Zeno beat me to it a week earlier and came back with some beautiful photos!  So rather than try to steal the spotlight, I will tell of the wonderful drive I took my family on today — a drive up to Shiga Kogen, heading into Gunma and back into Nagano at Karuizawa.

As has been the trend in my family lately, we packed up the hiking boots, the day packs and the kids and headed to the mountains for some short hikes with beautiful views.  We drove up from Nakano on Route 292 and continued on that road past the junction of Route 471.  There are a number of marshes with boardwalks built over them in this area, as well as some nice little trails heading off into the autumn foliage.  We took a stroll along a small trail near an onsen that you can clearly see belching steam on the right side of the road as you head in the direction of Gunma Prefecture.  You’ll see lots of reds, oranges and yellows here, as well as the white birch trees and the green pines scattered throughout.

The view from Yokote-yama

The view from Yokote-yama

Back in the car, we head further uphill.  And before long, we found ourselves in Gunma Prefecture, but not before reaching the highest point of the trip, on the slope of Yokote-yama, where the view down toward the rest of Shiga-Kogen, Nakano and Nagano City is absolutely spectacular!

Continuing on, we arrived at Shirane-san in Gunma (yeah, I know, this is a Nagano blog, but Shirane-san is in Shiga-Kogen and really is most easily accessible from Nagano, so let’s leave it be).  Shirane-san is an active volcano that has a rather unique feature:  a poisonous, acid pond in its crater.  The sulfur and other gases in the area turn the water in the crater a light, pastel blue and it is great to see. 

Shirane-san

Shirane-san

However, due to recent volcanic activity(yikes!) it is no longer safe to take the nearer course up to the crater.  We walked up the, slightly farther away route available, but still got to enjoy the view.  Our five-year-old was afraid the mountain would start erupting fire, and she was anxious to get off the mountain as soon as possible, but other than that, it was a great hike up.  Our almost-three-year-old daughter was able to walk all the way up on her own, but as always, she wanted to be carried back down.  Whatever course you take, it is steep in places, but paved, either with concrete or with round stones, as was the route we took today.

Later, we headed down to Kusatsu, an onsen village well-known to people in Japan and one that always seems to be jammed with traffic whenever we go.  Kusatsu has a very large, yet delightful public rotenburo (or, outdoor bath) in a park you can visit.  Its town center features a large area devoted to gathering sulfer and other minerals found in the water there (more info on Kusatsu here).  Aside from picking up some onsen manju, we didn’t stop in Kusatsu on this trip, and instead headed on, passing through lots of rolling forest land and back into Nagano along the Shiraito Toll Road to Karuizawa.  There was a lot of wonderful autumn colors along the Shiraito Toll Road, and it looked as if that area has yet to reach its peak as of this posting. 

It was a great day trip, and I recommend it, even if you are too late for the autumn colors.  Our course was the Nagano Expressway to Shinshu Nakano Interchange.  Then Route 292 all the way through Shiga Kogen and beyond Kusatsu Onsen.  After that, we took Route 146 back into Nagano Prefecture and then turned left onto the Shiraito Toll Road, which took us straight into the center of Karuizawa.

Only one word of warning:  Be sure to dress warmly!  It is cold up there, and the one word I heard most that day was “Samui!”

Karuizawa 72 (seven-two) Golf Tournament

August 28th, 2009 by
Category: Outdoor Activities
LPGA NEC Karuizawa 72

Two weeks ago, I went to see a golf match the other day –  the NEC Karuizawa 72 (seven-two) Golf Tournament on the LPGA of Japan Tour, held in 72 North Course. I and my son entered before 10AM. It was Friday, but there was alreay a number of visitors. Ai Miyazato (fresh from her breakthrough win at Evian and T3 at the Women’s British Open), Momoko Ueda who came off previous week’s win on tour and other big players including Akiko Fukushima and Sakura Yokomine were there. The 72 North (Kita) Course is 6637 yards, par 72. The 72 consists of 4 well run courses. The North Course is just one of them. Some people say some holes on the course are boring but I believe that you never forget its beatiful landscape and good layout. So if you golf or big fan, it’s worth a visit. Don’t ask me if I scored good on the course. Well, sorry I’ve never played there. *_*;;  Wish to be able to clearly report on my score at this blog within 10 years… Photos and videos are not allowed inside. So I just took one shot at the entrance.

Japanese web site : Karuizawa 72 North Course.

Some English information available at Golf-In-Japan web site.

TK-syusyu

Shiraito-no-taki Waterfall, Karuizawa

July 20th, 2009 by
Category: Information, Outdoor Activities, Sightseeing

Shiraito-no-taki WaterfallShiraito-no-taki Waterfall is one of the most famous sites with great nature in Karuizawa area. While its height is only 3 meters, the width is about 70 meters long. Surprisingly, the water’s temperature is not so cold. The reason is because the water is not originally from river or rainfall, but is gushing out of rocks. Also the amount of water coming out does not change much throughout the year. I thought the water contains a lot of minerals so I wanted to taste it. But I did not since no one around me was drinking it.

From the left end of the waterfall, you’ll find a trail that leads to a great forest. Watch out for wild bears! Free parking lot available. But we recommend visiting there in the morning to avoid conjestion for parking. There are several food stands and souvenir shops along the car street. About 25min by bus bound for Kita-karuizawa. Get off at Shiraito-no-taki Bus Stop. The beautiful, healing waterfall is about 5min walk from there. Of course, the admission is free, so are the fresh air and mist from the waterfall! It’s worth visiting if you plan to come to East Nagano.

TK-syusyu

Mount Asama at 260km/h

April 23rd, 2009 by
Category: Sightseeing
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Last night, on the Nagano Shinkansen coming back from Tokyo, around the Karuizawa area I saw Mount Asama with a cloud of volcanic ash rising from its peak. The whole scene was impressively dynamic — massive Mount Asama showing signs of volcanic activity, with the ash cloud dark against the sunset-tainted orange sky, all while cruising at 260 km/h in the “Asama” Nagano Shinkansen bullet train — human and natural forces at work.