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Nature Walks Around Karuizawa

In Karuizawa if you look beyond the cultural and commercial activities and into the forest, you’ll be sure to find several trails and hiking options that will get you to imposing viewing points, within photographing distance of wild birds, and let you get a closer look at the natural environment that attracts many urbanites to relax in this part of Japan.

Nature Walks Around Karuizawa
  • Nature Walks Around Karuizawa

    Nature Walks Around Karuizawa

    On the east side of the town, a few hundred metres past Kyu Karuizawa Ginza Dori, you’ll find the head of the Usui Pass Trail. The trail starts soon after passing by the Karuizawa Shaw Memorial Church, and from then on will lead hikers along parts of the old Nakasendo Trail and up to the Usui Pass Observation Point, one of the most scenic spots in the area. The hike is approximately 2.5 kilometers long and although it is steep at times it is not too challenging yet very rewarding with for its deep forest, the view of several mountain ranges, and of Mount Asama in the distance. Not far from the observation point, a stop by the Kumanokoutai Shrine, and a subsequent rest at one of the two tea houses is perfect for recovering your energy for the trip back down.

    Nature Walks Around Karuizawa

    Nature Walks Around Karuizawa

    On the opposite side of town, that is about 2 kilometers from Naka-karuizawa JR Station, another trail alternative for wildlife lovers is the Wild Bird Sanctuary (Yacho no Mori), where various bird species and even the famous but elusive flying squirrel can be viewed. The forest sanctuary can be accessed and explored freely at any time, making it a great option for taking in the natural beauty of Karuizawa.

    Nature Walks Around Karuizawa

    Nature Walks Around Karuizawa

    Nature Walks Around Karuizawa

    Nature Walks Around Karuizawa

    Keep in mind though, that on your own you might end up hearing the birds from a distance without knowing exactly where to look for them. The flying squirrel is even harder to see so is definitely worth it to get assistance from the experts with a guided tour. These nature tours can be booked at the Picchio Centre and are held from September to May (bird watching) and from March to November (flying squirrel watching). A third option is the Nature Watching Tour which is offered daily and is less dependent on the seasonality of the wildlife.

    Nature Walks Around Karuizawa

    Nature Walks Around Karuizawa

    Besides these two trails, those looking to connect with the surrounding nature without getting too deep into the forest can also do so by simply exploring the back unpaved roads of the town both on the Kyu Karuizawa and the Naka-karuizawa areas. Walking away from Ginza Dori gives quick access to these back roads lined with towering trees, crossed by water streams, and at times visited by the some of the same birds from the sanctuary. These street are not secluded so you will find residential homes along the way. Still, a lot of these homes blend smoothly with their surroundings and give an interesting twist to the nature walk. On the Naka-karuizawa side, walking a couple of kilometres north of Hoshinoya Resort will also take you to similar roads that are perfect for early morning strolls.

    Nature Walks Around Karuizawa

    Nature Walks Around Karuizawa

    Karuizawa
    Address
    Nagano Pref. Kitasakugunkaruizawamachi Karuizawa ()
    Phone
    Kyukaru Ginza (Kyu-Karuizawa Ginza Street)
    Address
    Nagano Pref. Kitasakugunkaruizawamachi Karuizawa
    Phone
    0267425538
    めがね橋 碓氷第三橋梁
    Address
    群馬県安中市松井田町坂本地内
    Phone
    027-382-7622
    Shaw Memorial Chapel
    Address
    Nagano Pref. Kitasakugunkaruizawamachi Karuizawa 57-1
    Phone
    0267424740
  • 浅間山
    Address
    長野県北安曇郡白馬村
    Phone
    Kumano Kotai-jinja Shrine
    Address
    Nagano Pref. Kitasakugunkaruizawamachi Tougemachi 2
    Phone
    0267425749
    Hoshinoya Karuizawa
    Address
    NaganoKitasaku Karuizawa 星野
    Phone
    0267456000
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