I think it’s now safe to say that autumn is my favorite season: cool temperature and sunny days, delicious food, seasonal fruits like Kaki and chestnut desserts and of course, the vibrant autumn colors.
So during some off-days last week (1st week of November), we had a spur-of-the-moment decision to ride a bus going to Karuizawa, Nagano with my husband’s cousin. We never regretted it even though we only stayed for a night and a whole day. We spent 3 hours on a bus from Ikebukuro Station to Karuizawa town. Karuizawa is known as a favorite summer destination for Tokyo-ites and many have their summer houses there. Some of my Japanese friends told me that it is a place known for the wealthy. I think it started that way but visiting the place is no problem for “average folks” like us because there are many cheaper alternatives like Japanese inns and guest houses. If time is your friend, it is always cheaper to ride the bus compare to the bullet train. Also, riding the bus from Tokyo gives you amazing scenery as you go up to this highland town. The mountains filled with orange, yellow and red leaves are such a treat to the eyes.
Karuizawa had breathtaking autumn spots. I wrote the best spots for autumn viewing in Japan Info site (click herehttp://jpninfo.com/97833). The town itself is already perfect for a long stroll to find secret alleys and backyards that are filled with brown, red and orange leaves. We arrived there Tuesday afternoon when the sun was already setting. Because we only have small backpacks, we decided to walk from Karuizawa Station to Kumoba Pond (Kumoba-ike), a 20-minute walk from the station to the direction of Kyu-Karuizawa. We had a short detour in Yagasaki Park, a park with a pond overlooking the famous Karuizawa Prince Hotel.
Then we walked to Kumoba Pond just before it totally gets dark. It takes 20 glorious minute to walk around the park but it took us a whole lot more because my two companions were photo-enthusiast (I was too but I walk much faster haha). The pond is easy to find and is one of the must-go places in Karuizawa during autumn season, especially if it is your first time in town.
It surely didn’t disappoint us because the trees surrounding the pond were already in their full autumn colors. The colors of red, yellow, orange, magenta and green show an almost painting-like scenery.
Story continued on the next post.