According to many, Karuizawa represents Nagano’s resort areas.
Anyway, this prefecture has many other fascinating towns to offer!
For this reason we chose to introduce Komoro city’s jewel: here is the park of Kaiko, Kaiko-en!
What’s special about Kaiko-en?
Komoro used to be a castle town ruled by the Komoro clan, many remaining old buildings remind us of those times.
Unfortunately, the original castle structure is nowadays not visible, except for some parts that can still be found in the park: here some walls and a bridge remain, in a wide green area.
Several promenades start from Kaiko Shrine, located in the center of Kaiko-en.
We recommend the view on the rice fields that you can enjoy from the southern area of the park.
Together with other structures, Kaiko-en hosts writer Shimazaki Fujimura’s Memorial Museum and painter Oyama Keizō’s Art Museum.
There is also a small zoo, where you can see birds, penguins, deer and even a lion!
The railway splits the park in two. On the other side, Komoro castle’s huge Ootemon gate takes place.
Old buildings scattered all around create a unique atmosphere.
How to get to Kaiko-en
Komoro is located in southern Nagano Prefecture: it is therefore easily reachable from the Kantō region!
From Tōkyō, Saitama, Gunma and Nagano, Nagano Shinkansen carries you to Sakudaira Station. Take the Koumi line and get off at the final stop, Komoro Station.
From central Tokyo it takes less than 2 hours.
For those who come from western Japan, take the ‘Shinano’ limited express departing from Nagoya, heading to Matsumoto-Nagano.
Once the train stops in Kobuchizawa, take the Koumi line to Komoro (from here, about 2 hours).
Kaiko-en is just out of the station!
By the way, the Koumi Line is the highest of the whole country: it reaches the altitude of 1350 meters above the sea level with Nobeyama Station: the view on Yatsu-ga-take is particularly stunning.
My impression of Kaiko-en
I arrived in Komoro by train: the clear sky allowed me to behold Mount Asama’s shape, in a quite impressive stance.
It is easy to see posters of ‘Ano Natsu de Matteru’ around town, chosen as set for this anime.
I got out of the station and entered the tourist office to get some information.
I went then towards the recently taken to restore Ootemon, which made me feel the caslte’s atmosphere.
Along stores and old shops, I went on the Old Way to Karuizawa up to Kaiko-en.
Here, I was mostly impressed by the amount of green space, also on the surrounding mountains and rice fields which created a relaxing atmosphere.
Oyama Kenzō’s museum is very interesting: it was unusual for me to see European style paintings made by a Japanese artist:
here I bought some postcards showing the artist’s landscapes views that caught me the most.
Komoro is a place where one can truly relax: to those who visit Karuizawa, I recommend to get a little further and take a few time to see Kaiko-en!