Ride to Karuizawa Welcome to the Middle of Japan
banzai pass

The Shinano Railway Line has long been essential to the lives of local residents, but it is also a line that connects the rest of Japan to popular tourist locales like Karuizawa, the old Japanese cities Ueda and Komoro, and many famous hot springs.

The best part of traveling on the Shinano Railway Line is the gorgeous window view. Mount Asama, with picturesque Karuizawa at its base and white smoke emanating from its north side, is a magnificent active volcano that has served as inspiration for many great artists. The Chikuma River, the longest and largest river in Japan, runs parallel along the tracks from Komoro to Shinonoi. The view of the great river and the mountains that run behind it are a beautiful sight, with each season offering a different but equally lovely take.

Recommended Shinano Railway Spots

Sanada, a Japanese samurai, built Ueda Castle on this land, fended off attacks from the Tokugawa house not once but twice, and in doing so made his name known across all of Japan. During the Meiji and Taishō periods silkfarming became a popular trade, with pongee in particular becoming one of Japan’s most famous products. Even today this town carries a distinctive air of the historic and traditional, which its visitors enjoy greatly.
This is Mount Asama, an active volcano that stands 2,568 meters (8,425 feet) tall, and Komoro, a town near the Chikuma river that is resplendent with natural beauty. Historically, the town has had a long and deep relation with people of culture, such as the great author Tōson Shimazaki, who wrote classics like Cloud and The Sketch of Chikuma River while he was staying there. Furthermore, the Komoro Castle ruins are home to a lovely park where visitors can enjoy the atmosphere of each of the four seasons.
Since the Meiji period, many non-Japanese missionaries, government figures, business people, and people of culture have built second homes in Karuizawa, making it a place where many people come to spend the summer and enjoy a unique multicultural atmosphere. With cool breezes in the summer, a truly international feel, and lots of high-profile brand shops, the town is visited every summer by many happy tourists.