When the Japanese hear the word “Karuizawa”, many will associate it with high-class holiday houses. Karuizawa is one of the most famous and prestigious places in Japan to have holiday homes. Indeed, the number of holiday houses far outnumbers that of permanent residential ones.
Why is Karuizawa so popular to have a second house? To find the answer to this question, I visited a real estate company called Karuizawa Chuo Consultant Corporation and interviewed with the President, Mr. Kanayama. The company has been in operation for more than 30 years in Karuizawa. When you want to know better about a place, it is always best to talk to a local real estate professional. He said that having a holiday home was one option to enjoy local life and tourism to the full.
“Karuizawa’s history as a holiday resort started with a visit by Mr. Alexander Croft Shaw, a Canadian missionary,” said Mr. Kanayama. “He praised Karuizawa for its beautiful nature and Western-like cool climate and built the very first holiday house. He called this land ‘a hospital without a roof’, because he thought Karuizawa’s refreshing climate and nature had a good effect on health. And so Mr. Shaw recommended his friends to have holiday cottages here. Karuizawa thus began to flourish as a mountain resort with many holiday homes.”
“Then what are present attractions of Karuizawa as a place to have a vacation home?” I asked. ”First of all, Karuizawa is conveniently located in terms of access, ” explained Mr. Kanayama. “If you take Nagano Shinkansen, it takes only little more than one hour from Tokyo. Expressways are also well connected if you come by car. Not only Tokyo but also many popular regional tourist spots such as Kusatsu and Zenko-ji Temple are within easy access. Secondly, you will be fascinated with four distinctive seasons; spring with beautiful young leaves, cool summer, colorful autumn, and white winter. Thirdly, there are many good places for shopping and eating, like supermarkets, a large shopping mall, and a variety of fine restaurants that serve great food. Fourthly, Karuizawa is an ideal place to enjoy sporting activities like playing golf and skiing. Furthermore, Karuizawa is suitable not only for private holidays but also for a variety of purposes. One example is that many companies have their own recreation facilities for their employees and another is that Karuizawa can host domestic and international conferences. Attractions are countless.”