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First we’d like to introduce the Shinshu soba at Kawakami An. Shinshu soba is a regional dish that you should definitely try when you come to Karuizawa. The signature dish of Kawakami An is the coarsely-ground “nihachi” soba.
Nihachi soba is soba made from 2 parts wheat flour and 8 parts buckwheat flour. Compared to regular soba, it’s got a smooth texture that goes down easy. The soba made at Kawakami An uses homemade buckwheat flour, utilizing a stone mortar (powdering tool) to powderize buckwheat carefully selected by the shopkeeper himself.
These finely cut noodles are completely hand-made, and their elasticity goes perfect with the salty soup. You may find yourself addicted to the rich flavor of soba that spreads throughout your mouth. There are plenty of other menu items that let get involved with the taste of soba, such as soba noodle croquettes, soba fried dough cakes, soba tea, and more.
Address: 6-10 Karuizawa, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano Prefecture
Opening Hours: 11:00am - 10:00pm (last order 9:00pm), 10:45am - 11:00pm (last order 10:00pm) *Peak season
Shiraito Falls Shop
If you pay a visit to Shiraito Falls, a famous sightseeing spot in Karuizawa, you should make sure to eat “iwana-no-yaki” - salt-grilled char. It’s sold at the Shiraito Falls Shop, found on the way to the Shiraito Falls. In this shop you can sample fresh char fished out of the Kumagawa river that runs through Karuizawa. The store clerk will grill it right there as you order it.
Char grilled over charcoal is very soft, and the slight saltiness will incite your appetite. You can eat everything from head to tail - worth sinking your teeth into. You can buy salted grilled char at 700 yen per fish. Why not try munching on some fresh char while soaking up the negative ions?
Address: Shiraito Falls, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano Prefecture
Opening Hours: 9:00am - 5:30pm
Karuizawa Kogen Tofu Shosuian
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Karuizawa is known as a town with delicious tofu. What we’d like to introduce next is the Karuizawa Kogen Tofu Shosuian, a tofu restaurant for people in the know. At Karuizawa Kogen Tofu Shousuian, you can enjoy many variations of tofu dishes. Tofu made with domestic soybeans and water from the plateau has a fragrant and rich flavor. The courses include sesame tofu, soymilk “yuba” rolls, soba made from kneaded tofu, and more. It’s a line-up featuring all kinds of tofu.
Also, you can purchase the tofu featured at the restaurant at their souvenir corner. The most popular item is tofu with the name of the shop, Shosui. It’s sweeter than regular tofu, and characterized by the rich flavor of its soybeans. This means you can eat it deliciously as-is without adding anything to it. Definitely give it a try!
Address: 2450-2 Nagakura, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano Prefecture
Opening Hours: Lunch: 11:00am - 2:00pm, Tea: 2:00pm - 4:00pm, Dinner: 5:00pm - 9:00pm (last order 8:00pm)
If you like apple pie, we’d definitely like to recommend the legendary apple pie at Cafe Terrace. This apple pie, a signature dish of the cafe, is made using plenty of Shinshu apples. Its delicious flavor was beloved by the legendary British singer John Lennon. The moderately sweet custard cream and the acidity of the apples makes a good match, and once you eat it you’ll never forget it.
Also, there are plenty of other menu items that can only be experienced here, such as the Kogen Blueberry Tart made using plenty of fresh blueberries, and the Lemon Tart which has gone unchanged since the cafe opened.
Address: 925 Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano Prefecture
Opening Hours: 9:30am - 6:00pm
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Next we’d like to introduce “oyaki” at Tsukemono Aki, a shop that specializes in Shinshu produce. Shinshu isn’t really a suitable location for rice cultivation, a the temperature doesn’t rise throughout the year. In the past, oyaki made from buckwheat flour and wheat flour was used instead of rice as a staple food. Oyaki is considered a soul food for the people of Nagano Prefecture. If you stop by Karuizawa why not try one for yourself?
Inside of the oyaki you’ll find it packed with leafy seasonal greens such as pickled “nozawana” (colseed), and other famous Shinshu plants. From a snack to a side dish, oyaki is deeply rooted in the lifestyle of Nagano locals. There are plenty of variations, such as the steamed type, grilled type, and those filled with sweet bean paste and pickled vegetables.
Address: 606-3 Karuizawa, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano Prefecture
Opening Hours: 8:00am to 6:00pm
Restaurant Suju Masayuki
Speaking of famous Nagano Prefecture produce, we can’t forget Shinshu miso. You can eat dishes that use Shinshu miso at Restaurant Suju Masayuki. This is an old restaurant, founded as a miso warehouse in 1827.
Among the many menu choices, the most popular is the miso pork cutlet rice bowl, which uses plenty of Shinshu miso. As it’s flavored with miso, it’s light and not that heavy, meaning you can gobble it down in a jiffy. You can get free rice refills, so you can eat to your heart’s content.
In addition, there are a wide variety of specialized miso dishes available, such as eggplant and ground meat stir-fry, charcoal grilled miso chicken thighs and iron-plate buttered potatoes.
Address: 6-1 Karuizawa, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano Prefecture
Opening Hours: 11:00am - 10:00pm (last order 9:00pm), from April 26 - May 6: 11:00am to 11:00pm (last order 10:00pm)
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At Sansui, which is a 5 minute walk from Naka-Karuizawa Station, you can get a taste of seasonal Karuizawa ingredients. Karuizawa is a region where Japanese angelica-trees, “udo” (similar to ginseng), and “koshiabura” can be harvested in abundance. Koshiabura is an ingredient that’s very familiar to local residents.
You can get a taste of tempura made using koshiabura at Sansui. It’s crispy and can be eaten with salt or sauce. It can be enjoyed in any way. There are plenty of other menu items that can only be sampled at Sansui, such as butterbur sprouts and angelica-tree tempura. How about enjoying a meal leisurely while taking in the expansive natural landscape before you?
Address: 3216-1 Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano Prefecture
Opening Hours: 11:00am - 3:00pm, 5:00pm - 9:00pm
Trattoria Primo is a famous Italian restaurant in Karuizawa. It’s a super-popular restaurant that people line up for every day. The Trattoria Primo menu items use freshly prepared highland vegetables.
Many of the menu items, prepared by a chef that underwent training in Italy, are as beautiful as works of art. Get stuck into the dishes that the chef takes pride in, like pizza brought out on a hot iron plate, and Bagna Cauda made using seasonal vegetables such as asparagus and broccoli. Many locals, as well as tourists from within Japan and from abroad, come to taste these meals that the chef has painstakingly crafted.
Address: 330-8 Karuizawa, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano Prefecture
Opening Hours: 11:30am - 2:45pm, 5:00pm - 9:45pm
The last place we’d like to introduce is the Karuizawa Brewery. This is a beer manufacturer that makes the local Karuizawa beer, “The Karuizawa Beer”. With the admission fee of 500 yen for one adult, you can check out the inside of the Karuizawa Brewery. There’s also a tasting corner where you can drink one freshly brewed beer free of charge.
For those who are driving and can’t drink, you will receive 2 cans of beer to take home with you. And, there’s soft drink service for visitors who are not yet of drinking age, so this is a place the whole family can enjoy.
Address: 64-3 Nagatoro, Saku, Nagano Prefecture
Opening Hours: 9:30am - 5:00pm
Enjoy Karuizawa cuisine
In Karuizawa, surrounded by expansive nature, you can enjoy cuisine made using locally produced vegetables and water from the highland. How about enjoying local cuisine in a place that’s known as a gourmet town? Be sure to use this article as a reference when on your Karuizawa sightseeing trip!
Pricing information and schedule may not be up to date and are subject to change without notice. Please check before your trip.