[Touring Spot] [Nagano Prefecture] Bike trip to Karuizawa! Solo Harley trip to experience the rich natural scenery and history

Hello, this is _hiroyuki.ta.
This time, I went on a motorcycle tour from Tokyo to Karuizawa.
Karuizawa is a highland town in Kitasaku District, Nagano Prefecture, and is famous as a summer resort.
There are many attractive spots such as rich natural scenery, historic buildings, stylish shopping plazas, and cafes.
This time, we will introduce the highlights of Karuizawa and information on motorcycle parking lots.


What is Karuizawa?


Karuizawa is a town located on a plateau at an altitude of approximately 1000m.
Summers are cool and winters are beautiful with snowy scenery.
During the Meiji period, foreign missionaries developed it as a summer resort.
After that, many cultural figures, politicians, members of the imperial family, and others began to set up vacation homes here.
Even today, it is known for being visited by celebrities and entertainers.
It is also famous for frequent stays by John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

Route to Karuizawa


For this tour, I used my favorite Harley-Davidson FLSB Sport Glide.
Depart from central Tokyo and enter the Kanetsu Expressway via Shuto Expressway Routes 6 and 5.
On the Kanetsu Expressway, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of mountains and rivers as you drive.
Along the way, you can stop at service and parking areas to rest and eat.
From the Kanetsu Expressway, take the Joshinetsu Expressway and exit at the Usui Karuizawa Interchange.
From there, take National Route 18 and Prefectural Route 43 to reach the center of Karuizawa.
The journey takes approximately 3 hours.

Highlights of Karuizawa


Karuizawa has many spots where you can feel nature, history, and culture.
I will introduce some of them below.

Old Karuizawa


Old Karuizawa is an area developed by foreign missionaries during the Meiji era.
There are many Western-style buildings and churches scattered around that still retain traces of those days.
Particularly famous is St. Paul’s Catholic Church.
This church is Japan’s first Catholic church and is where John Lennon and Yoko Ono were married.
You can also tour the former Mikasa Hotel and the former Mikasa Villa.

Kumoba Pond


Kumoba Pond is a lake that can be said to be a symbol of Karuizawa.
There are beautiful forests surrounding the property, and you can enjoy the scenery of each season.
There are boathouses, restaurants, and hotels along the lake.
You can explore the lake by boat or canoe, or go for a walk or bike ride.

Karuizawa Ohga Hall


Karuizawa Ohga Hall is a concert hall designed by Kengo Kuma, one of Japan’s leading architects.
It features a beautiful wooden exterior and an open space that takes in natural light and breezes.
The acoustics are excellent, and concerts of classical music and jazz are held here.

Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza


Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza is an outlet mall located a 5-minute walk from Karuizawa Station.
There are approximately 200 brand shops and restaurants.
You can also enjoy walking around the grounds, which are spread out in the middle of a forest.
There are also entertainment venues nearby, including movie theaters, bowling alleys, and karaoke.

Harunire Terrace


Harunire Terrace is a highland resort located south of Karuizawa.
There are many fashionable shops, cafes, and restaurants built in the forest.
Particularly famous is Patisserie Sadaharu Aoki Paris Atelier Karuizawa.
At this shop, you can enjoy delicious sweets that are a fusion of French and Japanese culture.

Karuizawa motorcycle parking lot

In Karuizawa, there are several parking lots exclusively for motorcycles.
I will introduce some of them below.

Former Karuizawa Motorcycle Parking Lot

Kyukaruizawa Motorcycle Parking is a motorcycle parking lot located in the center of Kyukaruizawa.
It is laid flat and has no roof.
Reservations are required.

Shin-Karuizawa parking lot

Shin-Karuizawa Parking Lot is a municipal parking lot located in front of Shin-Karuizawa Station.
It is laid flat and has no roof.
Free parking.


This time, I went on a motorcycle tour from Tokyo to Karuizawa.
After driving for about 3 minutes, we arrived at Karuizawa.
Karuizawa is a charming town where you can feel nature, history, and culture.
We visited highlights such as Old Karuizawa, Kumoba Pond, and Karuizawa Ohga Hall.
We also enjoyed shopping and gourmet food at Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza and Harunire Terrace.
We also introduced some motorcycle parking lots.
I think Karuizawa is the perfect town for touring by motorcycle.
Please come and visit us at least once.

The above was sent to you by _hiroyuki.ta.
Look forward to the next touring article!

*Karuizawa is written as Karuizawa in English.