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Summary of advantages, failures, and popular areas of moving to Karuizawa



Karuizawa is easily accessible from the city center, rich in nature, and has delicious food. There are probably many people who are considering this as a place to move to.

What kind of life can I live if I move to Karuizawa? My company is in Tokyo, but how do I commute? Is it okay to handle the cold in winter? What should I pay attention to when building a house? Which area do you live in?

For those who have such questions and concerns, we have compiled everything about moving to Karuizawa, including the advantages and disadvantages of moving to Karuizawa, and useful information to know before moving.

I would be happy if I could convey even a little bit of the fact that Karuizawa, a tourist destination, is such an exciting town when seen from the perspective of a migrant .


INDEX




What kind of place is Karuizawa?    


With the opening of Kazakoshi Gakuen, a kindergarten, elementary and junior high school, the number of immigrants in their 30s and 40s suddenly increased.

Karuizawa is known as a ``hospital without a roof,'' and has been loved by many aristocrats, political and business figures, and literary figures as a resting place and summer resort for over 100 years.

Recently, Karuizawa, which has been seen as a summer resort and tourist destination, has begun to transform into a city where families live year-round.

One of the major motivations for people moving to Karuizawa is for the sake of their children's education .

The opening of Kazakoshi Gakuen in April 2020 had a huge impact on Karuizawa.

When we talk to families who have immigrated, one thing they all say is that they wanted to raise their children in an environment rich in nature. Every day, she feels a sense of confidence as she watches her children grow freely in the face of the lush greenery and sometimes harsh nature that surrounds them.


Everyday life where you can feel the colors of the four seasons

Karuizawa is close to a refreshing natural environment. Even a single forest can show many different expressions in spring, summer, fall, and winter. The fresh greenery of spring, the sunlight filtering through the trees in summer, the changing leaves of autumn, and the silence of winter.

I think an environment where all five senses are sharpened is a great environment for art, writing, and work.

Looking at Karuizawa's climate in numbers, the average summer temperature in Karuizawa in August is 19.6℃, which is about 7℃ different from Tokyo's 26.5℃ at the same time. Summer is really comfortable without the need for air conditioning .

On the other hand, winter is an extremely cold season. Needless to say, it's cold outside, but it's nice to be warmed by the flames of the wood stove while looking out the window at the quiet, snow-covered forest.


I graduated from a crowded train. Make the most of your travel time by commuting by Shinkansen

Transportation has become even better since the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen, and the distance between Marunouchi and Karuizawa is approximately 64 minutes.

Because of its convenience, many businessmen choose to move to Karuizawa and commute by Shinkansen . Above all, it's nice to be able to sit down and commute to work calmly. Of course, you can make effective use of your travel time and finish one job before arriving in Marunouchi.



Advantages of moving to Karuizawa

migrant network

One of the charms of Karuizawa is that you can meet people you wouldn't normally meet if you were wearing a tie in Tokyo.

As it is a town with a population of only 20,000 people, if you act with your antenna up, serendipity (planned coincidence) can often occur, and it is unique to Karuizawa that people with similar values introduce each other and form a network. It's how you connect.

Cafes, bars, golf courses, etc. are places to meet and socialize, and the person sitting next to you may actually be a famous person...

In addition, there are various communities in each villa area, and interaction between them is very active. It seems that the salon culture that was born in the Meiji period and was a place for people to interact has been passed down in this area.

 

environment surrounded by nature

Karuizawa Town is located at the southern foot of the majestic Mt. Asama.

As you can see from old photos, Karuizawa was originally made up of volcanic deposits, and there was a time when there were almost no trees growing there. Those who are only familiar with the current green environment will be very surprised to learn about this history. Once upon a time, a businessman named Keijiro Amemiya conducted a tree-planting project and planted larch trees, which created the current landscape of Karuizawa.

Here are three recommended spots to enjoy Karuizawa's nature.


Kumoba Pond A pond owned by the Ishibashi family, who founded Bridgestone, has been leased by Karuizawa and is open to the public as a scenic spot. The scenery is especially spectacular in early spring when the young leaves are sprouting, and during the autumn leaves, when the colorful colors shine on the water surface.


A spot where you can feel refreshed just by taking a walk while listening to the murmuring of the Yukawa River that flows beside Hoshino Onsen. In the summer, some people take walks with their dogs along the riverside in the sunlight filtering through the trees. Harunire Terrace, operated by Hoshino Resorts, is also within walking distance, making it a place where you can spend an elegant time.


Mikage Irrigation Water Originally an artificially created irrigation canal. The official name is "Sengataki Yukawa Water Temperature Channel". In other words, it was a waterway that heated water that was too cold and flowed it downstream to the rice fields. The waterway is wide, and at first glance the beautiful scenery is reminiscent of European canals. It is a popular spot only known to those in the know, 20 minutes by car from Karuizawa Station.


Full of resort facilities

Karuizawa started with classic hotels such as the Mampei Hotel, where John Lennon frequented, and is home to famous hotels such as Tokyu, Marriott, XIV, and Prince. The service is of course important, but above all, spending a relaxing time in Karuizawa, a place rich in nature, is an irreplaceable time.

In addition, there is Tombo-no-Yu in the Hoshino area of Nakakaruizawa, and Keraba Pond is covered with ice in winter, so you can enjoy skating on the natural ice.

At Harunire Terrace, you can spend as much time as you like, eating, shopping, coffee, and reading.

If you go to the Minami Karuizawa area, you will find Karuizawa Kazekoshi Park, where you can not only play tennis, but also enjoy outdoor skating and curling in the winter.


There are many restaurants

For a population of 20,000 people, there are over 300 restaurants in Karuizawa town. There are also famous restaurants opening that will please the taste buds of vacationers and gourmet connoisseurs, and many people come from Tokyo just to check them out.

There are also delicious restaurants in Miyota Town, Saku City, and Komoro City, which are adjacent to Karuizawa, and many people take the trouble to go there by car.

Nowhere else in Japan can you find an area with such a rich natural environment and so many restaurants where you can enjoy delicious food made with local ingredients.


Good access from the city center

The Hokuriku Shinkansen connects Marunouchi and Karuizawa in just 64 minutes. Also, it takes only 2 hours by car on the Kanetsu Expressway, making it extremely accessible from central Tokyo! When we ask immigrants living in Karuizawa, many of them point out ``easy access.'' This sense of distance, which allows you to easily go back and forth between the city and nature, is perhaps unique to Karuizawa.

Some businessmen who live in Karuizawa find it valuable to be able to commute to Tokyo comfortably from Karuizawa Station. This is a very persuasive voice because it comes from someone who has experienced crowded trains before.


▼ Click here for a video simulating commuting by Shinkansen from Karuizawa to the Tokyo office!



Disadvantages you should know when moving to Karuizawa

severe cold in winter

The first thing you should know when moving to Karuizawa is the coldness of winter.

Although the weather has become much warmer in recent years, there are times when temperatures of -10 degrees Celsius continue for several days and get quite cold.

One thing to keep in mind when building a home is that equipment such as water heaters, heating, and piping must be designed with specifications for extremely cold regions. In addition to high-performance insulation materials, foundation planning that ensures a freezing depth (the depth at which the ground freezes) of at least 80 cm increases building costs.

Car transportation required

It is common to travel by car not only in Karuizawa but also in Shinshu. Outside of areas where commercial facilities are concentrated, it is standard in Nagano Prefecture for many households to own one vehicle per person. Of course, you should also be aware that there are unexpected expenses for first-time car owners, such as fuel costs, car maintenance costs, and stock of winter tires. (However, maintenance costs such as parking fees are much lower than owning a car in the city.)

Also, heavy traffic jams occur during the tourist season in Karuizawa. Knowing the back roads in advance is also an important point for a comfortable life in Karuizawa.

Cases where moving to Karuizawa fails

A place where you can forget the hustle and bustle of the city in the refreshing sunlight spilling through the trees. I want to move to such a wonderful Karuizawa and live a relaxing life forever!

However, it is true that there are some people who feel that coming to visit and living here are two different things, and regret moving there.

Even though I moved to Karuizawa with high expectations, why did I fail? Let's talk about the causes and countermeasures.

The coldness of winter and the associated utility costs were unexpected.

I think it's difficult to fully grasp the unexpected expenses that come with living in the Shinshu area, which you don't have when living in a big city, until you move there.

Compared to the city, rent or land cost and property tax are cheaper.

On the other hand, utility costs (water, gas) and prices (gasoline, etc.) tend to be higher in rural areas. In addition, consider the following costs:

  • Electricity bills to prevent freezing Equipment and water pipes are equipped with heaters to prevent freezing, which can cost about 10,000 yen more per month than in the summer.

  • Heating equipment and heating costs Expect to spend around 20,000 to 30,000 yen per month on heating costs. Also, please take into consideration that heating is required for a long period of time in Karuizawa (5 months from mid-November to early April). However, air conditioning costs in the summer are basically free!

It's often the case that moving to Shinshu turns out to be more expensive than you expected, so it's a good idea to get some information from the locals beforehand.

Fighting moisture and mold

A beautiful moss garden spread out in a luxury villa area. A magical morning mist gathers in, making you realize that you have arrived at a villa in Karuizawa.

However, Karuizawa's climate is characterized by high humidity, so if you are purchasing an old used villa, you will need to be prepared to deal with condensation and mold depending on the property.

If you want to create a home that you can comfortably live in all year round, it is important to create a floor plan and take proper building measures to control humidity and condensation.


Inconveniences when living in separate locations (living in two areas)

In Karuizawa, there are many people who not only live permanently, but also enjoy living in two areas or moving there on weekends.

However, I feel that living between Tokyo and Karuizawa requires (1) time, (2) expenses, and (3) physical strength.

①Moving costs and time are required.


Changing the environment inevitably requires travel time and costs.

When you think about traveling every weekend, you need to pay for gas, highway fees, train fees, etc. However, in the case of Karuizawa, it takes 64 minutes to get to Tokyo by Shinkansen, which is not much different from the average commute time in Tokyo, which is 47 minutes. This is the reason why many people commute to Tokyo from Karuizawa every day.

②It costs money for rent, household goods, hobby tools, fuel, etc.


Of course, if you have two locations, you will need twice as much rent and daily necessities. Consider whether you can secure these as necessary expenses.

Also, Karuizawa's appeal is that it offers an environment where you can immerse yourself in your hobbies, but it can often be expensive to buy the necessary equipment.

③I'm busy because I have a lot to do.


I think there are fewer customers who are living a ``relaxed country life'' as much as veteran immigrants. That's because I make full use of my precious time on weekends to do farm work and DIY. Still, many people say they don't have enough time.

I think the significance of living in two areas in the countryside is that you can enjoy living in itself. They grow their own vegetables that can be bought instantly, they painstakingly make furniture that can be bought cheaply, and they enjoy nature while cutting down weeds that won't grow if they are hardened with concrete all year round.

If you want to live conveniently and rationally, it is the same as city life. Trying to live a richer life takes time and effort. This is the charm of rural living that far outweighs the disadvantages.


How to avoid failure when moving to Karuizawa?


First of all, I think it is important to experience and understand ``to what extent can you tolerate the inconveniences of the countryside'' and ``to what extent can you tolerate the climate environment''.

The acceptable range differs depending on the person, so please take the step of checking these points before moving.

I think you can get a lot of impressions by just staying for a few days.

  • Cold morning and evening

  • atmosphere of life

  • Actual travel distance and time

  • Bustling shops where locals gather...

If you don't just listen to the story, but also touch and experience it yourself, you will get a more concrete image of your lifestyle after moving.

We also recommend asking your senior immigrants about their lifestyle, or asking them what you would like to try once you move to see if it is possible.


Popular areas for moving to Karuizawa


Even though it is called Karuizawa, the characteristics and land prices vary depending on the area.

The area you choose will be narrowed down depending on what kind of atmosphere you want to spend your time in, whether you want to live in a vacation home or a permanent home, and what your budget is for the home.

We will introduce you to five major areas, so please look at them while imagining your own life's work.


Old Karuizawa area

The birthplace of Karuizawa's villa culture.

Famous tourist spots such as the former Karuizawa Ginza, the Shaw Memorial Chapel, and the Mampei Hotel are concentrated here, and the area is a villa area surrounded by the deep greenery of a moss garden. It can be said that this is the area where you can feel the “Karuizawa-ness” the most.

Land prices are among the highest in Karuizawa. There are few properties for sale, and it is not uncommon for land to cost over 100 million yen. The price per tsubo of land is around 200,000 to 500,000 yen, depending on the location of the villa.

Please note that compared to other areas, it doesn't get much sunlight, and in winter, the snow can remain unmelted and the roads can become icy and slippery. Therefore, many people do not use their vacation homes during the winter.

Also, since the area is humid, laundry may not dry and parts of the house may become moldy. When building a house, use construction methods that prevent moisture from accumulating.

Minamigaoka/Nanbara area

It is a villa area with a calm appearance lined with pine trees, which was sold along with the development of Karuizawa Golf Club, which is famous as a prestigious members-only golf course.

The area is close to the so-called ``Gourmet Street,'' which is lined with famous delicious restaurants, making it a popular area for people with a high level of food sensitivity. It is also on the gourmet street that there is Rizanbo, where John Lennon is said to have passed.

It is a very popular area now because it is less humid than the old Karuizawa area, and although it is flat, there are lush trees and a typical Karuizawa atmosphere. The price of land is rising every year, and the price per tsubo is around 150,000 to 250,000 yen.

Nakakaruizawa area

The area is centered around Naka-Karuizawa Station, which is approximately 8 minutes by car from Karuizawa Station and 4 minutes by Shinano Railway, and is home to a relatively large number of locals and long-term residents.

In the station north area, there are villa areas with a typical Karuizawa atmosphere, such as Sengataki, Mitsui no Mori, Uenohara, and Hoshino villa areas, as well as a number of day-trip hot spring facilities and Harunire Terrace operated by Hoshino Resorts.

The area south of the station has facilities such as the popular Tsuruya supermarket, Yukawa Furusato Park, a drug store, a hospital, and the town hall. There are also educational facilities such as nursery schools, elementary schools, and children's centers, so you can feel safe raising your children.

This area is popular not only for those who are thinking of living permanently, but also for those who want to own a vacation home in a convenient location. The price per tsubo of land is about 50,000 to 150,000 yen.

Minami Karuizawa area

When you get off the Usui Karuizawa IC and head towards Karuizawa, you will see a wide open plain. This is the Minami Karuizawa area. Facilities such as the famous "Karuizawa 72 Golf Course", botanical gardens, and art museums are concentrated here.

In particular, the Kazakoshi area has seen a rapid increase in the number of families raising children from the city center, partly due to the opening of Kazakoshi Gakuen, an integrated school from kindergarten to junior high school, which opened in 2020.

At Kazakoshi Park, which is located right next to Kazakoshi Gakuen, you can enjoy many sports such as curling, skating, tennis, pool, and gym.

Furthermore, this area is also home to Karuizawa Hakkaichi Ichiba, a direct sales facility for agricultural products that opened in 2016.

The price per tsubo of land is around 50,000 to 100,000 yen.

Oiwake/Miyota area

Oiwake is an area located about 15 to 20 minutes west by car from Karuizawa Station, and retains the atmosphere of a post town that flourished as one of the three Asama-shukus on the Nakasendo. Miyota is an area about 5 to 10 minutes west of Oiwaka.

These two areas have good access to Saku City, which is full of shopping facilities including large shopping centers, and land can be purchased at reasonable prices, so they are also chosen by people who want to live permanently.

There are also many delicious hideaway-style cafes run by people who have moved here, so you can relax at a nearby cafe while taking a walk.

The area is full of greenery, convenient for living, low humidity, and affordable land prices, making it a recommended area for both permanent residence and vacation homes.

The price per tsubo of land is around 50,000 yen.

▼ Check out the video for tips on finding land in Karuizawa!



summary

It only takes about 60 minutes from Tokyo Station to Karuizawa Station.

Enjoying a walk with your pet in the midst of rich nature, playing with your children in the large garden, trying your hand at home gardening... Karuizawa offers lifestyles that are hard to find in the city.

However, you need to be careful about high humidity and cold winters. Measures against humidity and cold are essential when building a home! When choosing a builder, be sure to check not only the design and price, but also the performance.

``Kobo Shinshu no Ie'' specializes in building houses that use plenty of natural materials such as solid wood and diatomaceous earth from Nagano Prefecture, and has built approximately 1,200 houses to date. We have received acclaim from various quarters, including winning the Good Design Award for seven consecutive years and the Minister of Regional Revitalization Award at the Japan Service Awards.

We provide consistent support from helping you choose the land to designing, construction, and after-sales maintenance.

We also offer ``Karuizawa Guided Tours'' and ``Home Tours of Immigrant Owners.'' Please feel free to contact us with any concerns you may have regarding immigration, such as childcare, work, and daily life.

We are looking forward to seeing you at the “Kobo Shinshu House” Karuizawa Exhibition Hall !


For more information on building houses in Karuizawa, please also visit the [Second Base HP].







While we are architectural professionals such as architects and construction managers, all of our employees work as ``Shinshu concierges'' to support a rich Shinshu life.

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