Summer Haven Karuizawa
If I can name one thing about Japan that I don’t like, it is Japanese summer. Some days the temperature can get up to 97 degrees fareignheit (36 degrees Celsius) not to mention the high humidity.
Besides wearing a fan jacket, many Japanese people like to go to Karuizawa to escape the heat. Just a few days ago I decided to go there and see if it really is cooler than Tokyo. When I arrived I noticed that the humidity considerably dropped and it was indeed cooler than Tokyo. However, when you are walking from store to store or if you decide to go to their Summer Candle Event (which I highly recommend btw), there is almost no shade. I don’t recommend going to here during summer unless you plan on staying at your hotel the whole time which means you should just stay home and blast the AC.
The highlight of my trip to Karuizawa was their summer candle night which is held at 軽井沢高原協会 (Karuizawa Kougen Church). They hold a candle event at night (winter and summer) where they light up real candle lanterns and they scatter them around the church. Probably one of the best places to take photos and the best part of it is that it is FREE…sort of..
To get to Karuizawa, it costs about 130 dollars for a round trip bullet train ticket (heading towards Nagano) from Tokyo and back and once you arrive you have to take a local train to Naka Karuizawa from Karuizawa Station. The bullet train from Tokyo Station takes about 1 hour which means technically you don’t need to stay at a hotel if you wanted to visit Karuizawa. Naka Karuizawa isn’t great for shopping so I don’t recommend it if you aren’t interested in taking photos. However, they do have a lot of high ranking restaurants on google maps. I’ve only seen like two restaurants that had a lower than 4 star out of 5 star rating. They might be rigged actually but I thought the food was great.