Karuizawa was the second pit-stop in our 10 day driving trip across central Japan. Karuizawa is a mountain resort at the foot of Mount Asama in Nagano Prefecture popular with city folks from Tokyo to escape the heat in summer and to ski in winter. It is just an hour by Shinkansen from Tokyo.
We stopped by for a night en-route to Jigokudani Monkey Park. I booked a family cottage (US$230 without breakfast) for four at the Karuizawa Prince Hotel East. The cottage is spacious with 2 rooms 4 beds and a good sized dining table. It is very clean, cosy and nice. Comes with free wi-fi and heated floor. There is a hot spa (1200 yen per entry) which we did not have the time to try.
If you are into skiing, the ski slope and ski-lift is just behind the hotel. We were given a map of the facilities around the sprawling hotel grounds and driven to our cottage in their hotel van. Location is great and service top notch.
We did some shopping at the Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza nearby (Opening hours 10am – 7pm). It is a huge outlet mall with more than 200 shops and a modern food court within walking distance from the hotel lobby. The hotel also provides free shuttle to the mall. Do check out the mall’s website for discount coupons if you intend to do some serious shopping.