Visiting Karuizawa in Autumn!

Karuizawa is an ideal mini-break and is made all the more beautiful by the autumn leaves that appear each year. With lakes, waterfalls and trendy terraces, there’s all you need for a relaxed but enjoyable weekend away. It is only an hour by bullet train from Tokyo and while it will be busy, there are plenty of spots to escape the crowds and enjoy the golden hues of nature.

Kumoba Pond

Nicknamed Swan Lake, Kumoba Pond is a beautiful spot throughout the year, but really comes into its own in Autumn. Surrounded by trees, its mirror-like surface reflects the bright oranges and reds of the changing leaves, highlighted perfectly by the blue skies above. The pond has a walking path around it which is perfect for a relaxing stroll or a bike ride, and is also popular with bird-watchers as there are many species living in the area. There is a small cafe perched on the waterside called R’s Pond Cafe which is the perfect place for a quiet coffee as you admire the scenery.

Spot Information

  • Name: Kumoba Pond (雲場池)
  • Address: Kumoba Pond, Kyukaruizawa, Karuizawa, Kitasaku, Nagano
  • Location: Kumoba pond is a 20-minute walk from Karuizawa Station
  • Best Time to Visit: Mid October - Early November

Shiraito Falls

Shiraito Falls

At just 3m high, the beautiful nature of this waterfall doesn’t come from its height, but its width. The 70m (width) stretch of water is named after its white appearance, with Shiraito meaning ‘white threads’. Unusually, there is no river that leads to the Shiraito falls, it is instead fed by groundwater flowing up as a spring in the forest just above the falls. As it is surrounded by forests, the waterfall has a very peaceful atmosphere, with a second waterfall below it flowing over steps. In autumn, the trees turn a fabulous orange, creating a picture-perfect fall scene. There are some restaurants close to the pond and the path to the falls is short and easy to follow.

Spot Information

  • Name: Shiraito falls (白糸の滝)
  • Address: Nagakura, Karuizawa, Kitasaku District, Nagano
  • Location: The falls are accessible by local bus - the journey takes 25 minutes from Karuizawa Station and costs approximately 700 yen one way.
  • Best Time to Visit: Early - Late October

Karuizawa Kogen Church

Karuizawa Kogen Church

A very popular spot for weddings as well as some autumn-leaf viewing, this church is a Karuizawa landmark. Opened in 1921and originally a lecture hall, it was a gathering place for creatives and academics. After the Second World War, it was named Karuizawa Kogen Church. If you visit at the weekend you’re likely to see a bride and groom and on some days concerts are held. In autumn, the church is surrounded by golden leaves and is a romantic spot for proposals and kokuhaku (love confessions) as occurred in an episode of the popular tv-show Terrace House.

Spot Information

  • Name: Karuizawa Kogen Church (軽井沢高原教会)
  • Address: Hoshino, Karuizawa, Nagano, Japan
  • Location: The Church is a 25-minute walk from Naka-Karuizawa Station.
  • Hours: 10:00 - 17:00
  • Best Time to Visit: mid October - Early November

Hoshino Area

Hoshino Area

The Hoshino Area has a mix of places to enjoy Autumn leaves in and is about 25 minutes from the Naka-Karuizawa station on foot. Harunire Terrace is a boardwalk area with a mix of local restaurants, cafes and shops. It’s the perfect place to try regional food and to pick up handmade souvenirs, as well as taking a break from sightseeing while relaxing under the changing leaves. You can choose from the special Harunire Terrace blend at Maruyama Coffee, a smoothie from Kokopelli or an unusual gelato flavor from Harvest Nagai Farm - all are perfect to enjoy on the terrace. If you’re keen to show off your skating skills the nearby KERA-IKE Ice Rink is a real frozen pond you can glide across. Skates are included in the price and there’s a cute Ikaru Cafe on the sidelines if you want to watch with a hot drink.

Spot Information

  • Name: Harunire Terrace (ハルニレテラス)
  • Address: 2148 Nagakura, Karuizawa, Kitasaku District, Nagano
  • Location: Harunire Terrace is a 25-minute walk from Nakakaruizawa Station beside the Yu River and across from Karuizawa Kogen Church.
  • Best Time to Visit: Mid October - Early November

Spot Information

  • Name: KERA-IKE Ice Rink (ケラ池スケートリンク)
  • Address: Hoshino, Karuizawamachi, Kitasaku, Nagano
  • Location: The Ice rink is located on the edge of the Karuizawa Wild Bird Sanctuary, close to the popular Hoshino Onsen.
  • Hours: 10:00 - 16:00 (From October March)
  • Cost: 1,900 yen (adults) 1,300 yen (children)
  • Best Time to Visit: Mid October - Early November

Shiozawa Lake & Karuizawa Taliesin

Shiozawa Lake & Karuizawa Taliesin

A large park with a central pond, Karuizawa Taliesin is a must-visit spot in Karuizawa. Home to a selection of museums and some great outdoor walking trails, there are plenty of activities to try including boating, golf and tennis. The three museums in Taliesin are the Literary Museum of Karuizawa, the Musee Peynet and the Kouko Fukazawa Nonohana Art Gallery. There are also a selection of historical buildings to admire while you explore the park, including the former post office and the beautiful summer house. The Rose Garden is a popular spot while the entire park is decorated with golden leaves come Autumn.

Spot Information

  • Name: Shiozawa Lake (塩沢湖)
  • Address: Shiozawa-217, Nagakura, Karuizawa, Kitasaku District, Nagano
  • Location: Shiozawa Lake is best accessed via the City Loop Bus from Karuizawa Station.
  • Best Time to Visit: Early to Mid November

Spot Information

  • Name: Karuizawa Taliesin (軽井沢タリアセン)
  • Address: Shiozawa-217, Nagakura, Karuizawa, Kitasaku District, Nagano
  • Location: Taliesin is accessible by bus from Karuizawa Station, simply catch the City loop Bus and alight at Shiozawako Bus stop.
  • Hours: 9:00 - 17:00 (Mar - Nov) 10:00 - 16:00 (Jan - Dec) 
  • Closed: Irregular
  • Entry: 800 yen (park only) 1,000 (park and Musee Peynet entry) , 1,600 (park and 3 museums)
  • Best Time to Visit: Late October - Mid November

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