Tatayama Kurobe Alpine Route – Return Trip
After another night at the mountain lodge Raichoso (雷鳥荘), we made an early depart just after 7 am, as we would have a fair bit of travelling to do to reach our last destination of the trip, Karuizawa. First, a return trip on the Alpine Route – we made it to the Murodo terminal waiting for the first service of the day.
There were a few things we had wanted to check out in Karuizawa’s large outlet mall – the main attraction there for a lot of shoppers. We didn’t expect our shopping would take too long, so we allowed about two hours for some brief sight-seeing. With a rental bicycle, we were just able to do a circle route up to the Old Ginza (旧軽井沢銀座) area. There are definitely more places to visit than possible with the available time – Shiraito No Taki (白糸の滝) waterfall being one I was interesed in.
Regarding bicycles, unless your sole purpose there is for the outlet – which is right next to the train station, then they are quite necessary, as places Karuizawa are a bit far apart to walk. Buses could also be an option, but bicycles are generally ok as the area is flat (though I hadn’t checked for the sites that are further out of town). One problem though is as you get closer to Old Ginza, the pavement can get pretty crowded that you have to get off and push instead. Also, don’t forget that you have to park your bicycle. The rental cycle shop provided us with a map showing the parking spots, which helped greatly.