[This is a collaboration post with Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza]

It’s hard for one to disagree that Japan a wonderful shopping paradise, especially with the yen now weaker than ever against mots foreign currencies.This implies that all the goodness of Japan’s quality products is now available at a substantial discount compared to just a few years ago.

While most travelers tend to shop in typical big cities where a dizzying smorgasbord of shopping malls and retail outlets overwhelms, today I’d like to introduce a unique spot—possibly the most scenic retail outlet I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting—Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza.

Located right next to Karuizawa Station, this means that the massive emporium is just a mere 1-hour away from Tokyo on the Hokuriku Shinkansen, making it a perfect day trip to and from Tokyo.

Karuizawa has long been one of the most popular travel destinations from both within and outside of Japan. It is well-loved as the ultimate summer retreat nearest to Tokyo, and it also holds a special place in the hearts of the Japanese as the spot where Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko first met in a tennis tournament at Karuizawa-kai Tennis Court, and have frequented ever since for their summer rest.

Other than pristine nature, soothing hot springs, and wellness resorts and hotels for a therapeutic stay, this mountain resort town also satisfies the need for retail therapy.

A leisurely stroll along the Old Karuizawa Ginza Street offers handcrafted goods and local souvenirs, but if you are looking forward to more shopping expereince, Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza is the perfect option to enhance your trip.


A Scenic Shopping Experience

First of all, unlike the narrow, multiple-storey “ekimae” (literally “in front of the train station”) shopping malls in Shinjuku or Shibuya of Tokyo where shoulder-brushing is inevitable, Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza is nestled in the tranquility of the resort town, surrounded by scenic vistas. One can easily spend the entire afternoon just relaxing while browsing the stores without feeling overwhelmed.

Once you hop off the shinkansen and exit the station, Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plazaimmediately unfolds before you. You will want to head straight to the information center to pick up a map of facilities and shop lists.

Fashion Galore

Boasting about 240 stores from high-end boutiques and designer stores to popular Japanese brands, Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza promises a day of exploration in a setting that effortlessly blends luxury and trendiness.

While most shoppers make a beeline for familiar renowned international brands’ outlet stores for tantalizing discounted goods, I would like to introduce some of my favorite local Japanese brands that often escape the international traveler’s shopping list.

Lowrys Farm is your go-to if you are looking for a blend of casual yet stylish clothing and accessories at an affordable price.

This outlet offers lots of value-for-money grabs. For example, this classic trench coat is merely under JPY6,000 after the discount.

Another brand that often graces my wardrobe is Jeanasis.

This street-inspired fashion brand is popular with its effortlessly cool clothing designs that bring a touch of urban flair to the fashion scene in Japan.

For those who lack confidence in clothing-matching skills, just copy the store’s mannequin’s style, and you will never go wrong.

Tabio is another crowd favorite that prides itself with made-in-Japan high quality socks and stockings.

Established in 1968, the brand has garnered a reputation for its commitment to craftsmanship, comfort, and unique designs, incorporating creative patterns and materials to elevate everyday legwear. The pricing is genuinely a steal considering it’s Japan-made quality!

Lifestyle & Souvenirs

Fans of Sylvanian Families, don’t miss this store! Known for its endearing and intricately detailed miniature animal figures living in whimsical miniature homes, this imaginative toy collection brand’s timeless appeal has continuously captured the hearts of both children and collectors globally for decades.

You can find shop-limited as well as Japan-limited animal figures, such as the Shiba Inu families as well as sloth families. It will make great gifts for your friends and family back home who are collectors.

Sawaya is another of my compulsory stops and personal favorites when it comes to souvenir shopping.

Born in Karuizawa, Sawaya prides itself on being one of the very few jam makers in the country using only Japan-grown, non-frozen fresh fruits and ingredients. Even the sugar used in jam-making is meticulously sourced from Hokkaido’s beet farms.

I’d definitely recommend checking out their high-quality jams, from classic fruit jams like apple, blueberry, and strawberry to fancily rare variations such as rhubarb, chestnut, quince, and matcha milk jam.


Restaurants & Cafe

When hunger strikes, Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza has you covered. From international cuisine to local delights, visitors can explore a range of dining options within the plaza.

As a meat lover, for lunch I have opted Sacree Fleur, a French Parisian chain specializes in steaks that has made its debut at Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza.

For orders of 300g or more, steaks are served on a sizzling hot stone, allowing diners to enjoy their preferred doneness.

Other more affordable options are also available at Taiyo to Midori no Kitchen, a food court where diners can dine in a wide space ordering from a variety of different F&B options.

Seasonal Charm

The charm of Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza evolves with the seasons. Spring brings vibrant colors, summer adds cool climate and outdoor events, autumn paints the plaza in warm hues, and winter turns it into a magical winter wonderland. The changing seasons provide a dynamic backdrop, ensuring that no two visits are the same.

(Summer 2022)

(autumn 2023, featuring a nearby ski slope taken from Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza)

Whether you’re a fashion enthusiast, a food lover, or simply seeking a scenic retreat, Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza invites you to indulge in a day of exploration, relaxation, and retail therapy in this captivating corner of Japan.

For more info, visit www.karuizawa-psp.jp