Surrounded by rich nature, Karuizawa is famous as a prominent resort town of Japan. The town was first used as a resort by Alexander Croft Shaw a chaplain of the British Consulate in 1886, when he relocated for the summer. Other foreigners and wealthy Japanese followed his example, and acquired resort houses in which to spend the summer. However, the influence of a humble lifestyle based on Christian beliefs is still discernable in Karuizawa today. Karuizawa hosted both winter and summer Olympics Games. Equestrian events were held in the town for the Tokyo Olympics in 1964. Then in 1998, the curling event was held in the town as a part of the Nagano Olympics. Tennis which was played among upper class people in the old days is another sport that represents the town of Karuizawa. In fact the cool climate is suitable for a variety of sports, including golf, cycling and walking.
Located at an altitude of 1,000 meters, summer temperatures average just over 20 ˚C; so it can be cool enough for long sleeves in the morning and evening. With its rich nature, Karuizawa offers beautiful scenery for every season.
Kyu-Karuizawa shopping street, established in the Meiji Period for the summer foreign residents, is known as Kyu-Karu Ginza and is still popular with tourists. Shopping Plaza with over 240 retail stores and HARUNIRE terrace in Naka-Karuizawa are also popular.
Restaurants here serve a variety of food using fresh local ingredients. Since many gourmets are drawn to the town, it is easy to find good restaurants serving the dishes of different countries, including French, Italian and Japanese.
Surrounded by woodland, walking and museum visits are popular in Karuizawa. In addition, there are many photo opportunities afforded by the beautiful scenery. Cycling is another activity that can be enjoyed in the fresh highland air.