Travel dates: May 23 to 27, 2018
Shane's proposal, “Experiencing the artistic atmosphere of Karuizawa”, was selected among 732 entries and he had a chance to experience the dream journey of his choice. Accompanying him was his family of five. They were a cheerful bunch and seemed to be enjoying themselves throughout the trip. They mentioned how this was not only a chance to enjoy the atmosphere of Karuizawa, but also to spend time with each other as a family.
Karuizawa is perfect for Summers, but it is also a place to meet John Lennon,
the history, and lights.
At the beginning of summer, we came to Karuizawa to John Lennon – my parents are the generation of Beatles and we were raised in the lyrics of “Let it be.” When we tried to find a new place to go for the family trip where we all have some kinds of emotional connection, Karuizawa became that perfect choice – and it didn’t fall us.
We followed the footsteps where Lennon and Yoko went, the table where he had tea, the bakery where he bought bread, and piano which he played. The moment when the manager in the hotel where he had stayed said ‘the younger staffs are no longer familiar with Lennon’ in front of that piano, I was shocked that my parents are getting that old and glad we had this trip for their youth memories.
The bakery which John Lennon used to buy his bread from
Posing like John Lennon and Yoko Ono in Mampei Hotel
We thought Karuizawa is a place for summer, plus Lennon, but we had a nice surprise: this place is much more than that. The architectures in Karuizawa are amazing because of the lights. Yes, the lights. I am not a Christian but when sitting in the Stone Church, I feel if there is the God, he is there surrounding me by those natural, comfort sun lights. While in the Senju Museum, the trees inside the museum with the blue sky are the best match with humans and the nature I ever had in an art exhibition.
While the Stone Church is known for its architecture, as a Taiwanese historian, Karuizawa is also full of the connections with the past. The Stone Church was in memory of Uchimura Kanzo (內村鑑三). He is rarely known today but was an influential thinker for the senior generations. He was also a schoolmate and friend of Nitobe Inazo (新渡戸稲造) who was “the father of the sugar industry in Taiwan” as they both graduated from the Sapporo Agricultural College (札幌農學校), one of the most famous cookie bread of Sapporo among the Taiwanese people today.
Shane and his mother cycling
At the Karuizawa Picturebook Museum
One last thing about infrastructure. We enjoyed biking in Karuizawa, though driving was even better. It is not commonly known but Karuizawa is a place where you can easily drive anywhere so it is pretty accessible for elders, toddlers, and people with disability. Traveling around the world might not be friendly for all kinds of people, but Karuizawa makes things easier. The traffics were smooth, the people here were driving with patience and discipline, and the rental companies offered insurance with full coverage options. My parents enjoyed full access in Karuizawa, unlike in Tokyo where the long stairs in many metro stations made them exhausted. I could image Karuizawa would also be friendly to parents with their babies, especially those who travel with strollers, for the same reason.
Karuizawa is also a place for a cozy, long stay. It would be nice to have a one-day trip here, but Karuizawa could definitely be much more than that. I would stay in Karuizawa Marriott forever if I didn’t have to come back to reality. The ideal stay in Karuizawa is at least 3 nights, long enough to discover the real Karuizawa. Don’t just hanging around the Kyu Ginza street!
The Karuizawa Marriott Hotel, where Shane and his family stayed