Horseback trekking & a host of other winter activities in Karuizawa - besides skiing!

When talking about winter sports, there are many people who visualize skiing or snowboarding, aren’t there? However, in Karuizawa, there’s a full assortment of activities aside from just winter sports like skiing and snowboarding. There are tons of things that the whole family from kids to adults can enjoy, such as snowshoeing, hot air balloons, trekking, and more. There are things that can only be enjoyed during the cold winter. How about moving around and getting some exercise amongst Karuizawa’s fresh, clear air?

Curling at Karuizawa Ice Park


The first activity that we’d like to introduce is curling. Karuizawa Ice Park, found within Kazakoshi Park, is a comprehensive sports facility that became a venue for curling at the Nagano Olympic Games in 1998.

Curling is a competitive team sport where stones are thrown 40 meters towards a target across a flat ice surface. There are very few places where you can experience curling, even in Nagano Prefecture - so it’s sure to become a very memorable experience.

2 courses are available: 60 minutes (2,380 yen) and 90 minutes (3,240 yen). The instructor will carefully teach you how to safely walk on the ice and how to use the brushes, so even beginners can relax and enjoy.

Also, there’s an indoor skating rink right next to Karuizawa Ice Park. With admission fees of 800 yen for adults, and 400 yen for elementary and junior high school students, anyone is free to use the facility.

Address: 1154-1 Hotchi, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano Prefecture
Opening Hours: 9:00am - 10:00pm

Trekking Tour at the Base of Mt. Asama

Skiing and snowboarding is fun, but we also recommend participating in the Trekking Tour at the base of Mt. Asama. Trekking is where you walk along the mountain while enjoying the scenery. From the top of Mt. Asama - a mountain said to be the symbol of Karuizawa - you can look out over the snow-covered Karuizawa townscape.

While on the road to the peak of Mt. Asama, a professional nature guide will provide support and lead the way. This means even small children and beginners can join in without worry. Also, there are multiple courses to accommodate for a wide range of experience levels, from beginner to advanced. The price starts at 4,600 yen per person.

A Course: (Parking lot in front of the Kita Karuizawa Asama Farm Store or Mine-no-Chaya trailhead)
B Course: (Komoro Station or the Takamine Kogen Hotel parking lot)
C Course: (Ikenotaira Marsh parking lot or Jizo Pass parking lot)
Hours: 9:00am - 1:00pm

Night Forest Starlight Snowshoe Tour

Our next recommendation is the Night Forest Starlight Snow Shoe Tour. “Snowshoes” are shoes that have been especially made for walking atop the snow. On the Night Forest Starline Snowshoe Tour, you’ll wear these snowshoes as you head for the mountain summit while gazing at the starry sky. During your mountain trek, if you’re lucky you may be able to meet some wild rabbits, raccoons, or foxes.

In Karuizawa, the building height is restricted in order to preserve this beautiful scenery. There aren’t many building lights either, so you can see the stars very clearly. In the clear air, the dazzling stars shine brightly in the dark sky. It’s breathtakingly beautiful - a special experience unique to winter in Karuizawa.

Address: 1990-800 Kitakaruizawa, Naganohara-machi, Agatsuma-gun, Gunma Prefecture
Opening Hours: 6:00pm - 9:00pm

Karuizawa Prince Hotel Ski Resort

If you’ve come to Karuizawa in the winter, you can’t miss out on the skiing and snowboarding. The Karuizawa Prince Hotel Ski Resort is a ski resort that everyone from children to adults can enjoy. It’s in an ideal location, accessible from the nearest station, Karuizawa Station, in just 1 minute by car.

At the Karuizawa Prince Hotel Ski Resort, there are 10 ski courses available. There are also ski lessons (2 hour lessons start at 4,000 yen) held for beginners to enjoy. With full rentals of necessary ski equipment on offer, such as skis and goggles, you can skip the hassle of having to prepare your own gear and just show up empty-handed.

Also, there’s a full assortment of onsen facilities close to the Karuizawa Prince Hotel Ski Resort. You can find everything from open air baths, indoor baths, and steam saunas. Come to alleviate your travel fatigue.

Address: 1016 Karuizawa, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano Prefecture
Opening Hours: 8:30am to 4:30pm

Horseback Snow Trekking

The next activity we’d like to introduce is Horseback Snow Trekking. Horseback Snow Trekking lets you ride atop a horse as you trek across the expansive snow fields. There’s a beginners horseback trekking experience, so even if this is your first time to ride a horse, there’s nothing to worry about.

Riding on a tall horse expands your field of view, letting you take in the snowy wonderland as far as you can see. Activities where you can ride a horse through the great outdoors are a dime a dozen - please be sure to experience it for yourself. It’s sure to become an unforgettable memory.

Address: 24199-74 Kamishiro, Hakuba-mura, Kitaazumi-gun, Nagano Prefecture

Nature Kids Forest House: Forest Crafts Experience

Crafts experience)
*Image for reference only
In the Nature Kids Forest House, located within Karuizawa Prince Hotel East, you can experience crafting using cypress and nuts. As a place the whole family can enjoy, this is a hands-on experience that boasts high popularity among many tourists.

There are various plans in the Forest Crafts Experience, such as putting together a car without glue using only Japanese cypress tress and a hammer, as well as creating an original calendar using parts selected from animals and insects. It’s sure to become a part of your Karuizawa trip your family will remember for a long time.

Address: Within the Karuizawa Prince Hotel East, Karuizawa, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano Prefecture
Opening Hours: 9:00am - 5:00pm

Karuizawa Toys Kingdom

At Karuizawa Toys Kingdom, located 30 minutes away by car from Karuizawa Station, you can enjoy snow rafting across the snow. Snow rafting is an activity that involves skimming atop the snow on a rubber board connected to a snowmobile.

Rollers and jumps are built into the course, and the moment when you build up speed and go flying is a thrill to behold. Cutting through the wind on a snow raft for a short while leaves you feeling brisk and refreshed.

Address: 2277 Omaehosohara, Tsumagoi-mura, Agatsuma-gun, Gunma Prefecture
Opening Hours: 11:00am - 3:00pm


Though it’s a bit far from Karuizawa Station - 1 hour 50 minutes by car - this is definitely an activity we’d like to recommend: hot air ballooning. Depending on the weather, it can reach an altitude of 1,000 meters or more.

Experience a high-scale sky walk, and gaze out over the spectacular scenery of Shinshu Azumino, Nagano Prefecture, before you. The windy ride lasts for about 40-50 minutes, letting you get your fill of elegant air travel.

Address: 8207-2, Hotaka, Azumino-shi, Nagano Prefecture
Opening Hours: 9:00am - 5:00pm

Fun activities that can only be enjoyed in the Karuizawa winter

When you think of Karuizawa in the winter, there are usually many people who only imagine skiing and snowboarding. It’s not widely known, but there are many fun activities that the whole family can enjoy aside from skiing - such as trekking, snowshoeing, curling, and more.

We didn’t mention it here, but in areas slightly separated from Karuizawa there are other winter activities that can be experienced, such as ice climbing and dog sledding. Why not try out a non-skiing activity this winter?

Pricing information and schedule may not be up to date and are subject to change without notice. Please check before your trip.

Related ski resorts
Nov. 1st to Mar. 31st
Longest run distance1,519 m
Maximum gradient31 °
Longest run1,519 m
Maximum31 °

Adult 2 people1 night

USD 176.70〜 (JPY 27,981〜)