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The Complete Guide to the Karuizawa Prince Outlet! Souvenirs, Area Guides and Accessibility, All in One Place!

Karuizawa, in Nagano Prefecture, is home to one of Japan's most well-known highland resorts. It is an extremely popular tourist area that is perfectly accessible from central Tokyo. This article introduces you to a spot in Karuizawa that has everyone talking, the 'Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza'.

What is the Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza?

The 'Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza' was opened in 1995 and is Japan's largest outlet shopping mall. It is conveniently located a short 3 minute walk from Karuizawa Station on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line. There are approximately 260 stores on site, from the most high-class foreign brands, to popular sports labels and lifestyle stores, all spread across 10 different shopping zones on around 26 hectares. It is easily accessible from central Tokyo and is famous not just as somewhere where you can enjoy shopping while feeling as though you have come to a resort, but also as a tourist site in its own right.

What is the Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza?

Karuizawa, Karuizawamachi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano

Opening hours and how to get there

The Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza is in a convenient location that is easily accessible from the center of Tokyo. You can get there by taking an approximately one hour bullet-train ride on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line from Tokyo Station. The shopping plaza is located 3 minutes' walk from the south exit of Karuizawa Station and as it is visible from the station there is no need to worry about getting lost. Moreover, you can also get to the station and shopping plaza by taking a highway bus from Ikebukuro. If you are coming by car you can get there by a 2 hour motorway ride, taking the Tokyo Nerima Inter-change. However, if you are coming by car you may be caught in traffic and have trouble getting a car parking space once you arrive. While you can of course enjoy the plaza on a day trip, if you are looking to shop till you drop, then why not spend a night or two in Karuizawa for easy access?
If you are looking to get the best from your shopping trip you should visit when the foliage is at its best. However, if you are more concerned with discounts then you should visit in the bargain seasons during summer and winter. Be sure to come prepared if visiting in winter as it gets quite cold. Opening hours: 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
※Opening hours vary depending on the month, so be sure to check the official website before coming.

What makes Karuizawa and the Prince Shopping Plaza different!

The most strikingly unique feature of Karuizawa and the Prince Shopping Plaza is how it uses its natural location to create a resort feel. This space was previously home to a golf course, giving it a sense of expansiveness that is teeming with abundant natural plant life. With large 'Grass Field' areas, ponds, a playground for kids and other facilities like dog runs, you can have rest assured that there is something for everyone, even if you are bringing small children or pets along. The Karuizawa outlet is surrounded by beautiful nature, so there are numerous different ways to enjoy your time there. If you are tired from shopping you can refresh and relax by gazing upon the glorious scenery, and those with no interest in shopping can enjoy walks surrounded by nature or a picnic or spot of reading in one of the aforementioned Green Field areas. There really is something for all generations on offer.

Where can I find what I am looking for? Useful info on the different shopping areas

Due to the sheer size of the Karuizawa outlet, getting to every one of the stores in a single day would be a mammoth task. For this reason, it is recommended that shoppers make a list of what they want to buy and take a look at the website to ensure that the stores they are looking to visit can be found at the outlet. There is a free shuttle bus at the outlet to carry shoppers between areas, so make sure to use it for a more productive shopping experience.

If you are looking for souvenirs and trinkets then head to 'West'

The West area is located near to the highway bus boarding point and is home to a collection of stores that trade in children's fashion brands, goods featuring popular characters and miscellaneous trinket stores. You can also find drug stores and convenience stores here so when you are feeling unwell or just thirsty, this is a convenient area for a pit stop. There is also a souvenir corner that it is recommended to check out before you set of shopping where you can get your hands on some Shinshu souvenirs (Shinshu is an old name for the area that covers modern-day Nagano Prefecture.).

Head to 'New West' if you are looking for clothes stores

This is the area with more clothes stores than all of the others. It is all here, from popular ladies fashion brands to men's and children's clothing too. You can also find a large selection of other stores in this area, from glasses and lifestyle stores, to stores selling kitchenware, and also a variety of restaurants. There is also a bowling alley at New West and a store selling goods featuring Namco characters.

The 'Tree Mall' is home to high-end designer brands and a pet area

At the 'Tree Mall' you will find a cluster of high-end designer brands like Gucci and Coach. Located between the East and West areas, the stores are laid out encasing one of the on-site 'Green Areas' so you can gaze upon the luscious nature as you enjoy your day shopping.

'New East' is home to 'Select Shops', popular in Japan

In this area there are a wide variety of men's fashion stores, popular overseas brands and popular 'select shops' from across Japan. A 'select shop' is a type of store common in Japan that deals in a wide range of different brands curated by the owner. If you are trying to fully co-ordinate your look with small leather goods like wallets, purses and bags or other accessories, there are many stores stocking these goods in New East, so make sure to stop by. There is also a Lego store that the kids will love.

Sports and 'outdoorsy' types should head to 'East'

The 'East' area is filled with major international sports brands like Adidas and Nike, primarily popular with younger consumers. If you are looking to enjoy sports and outdoor activities in Karuizawa, then why not stop by to pick up the necessary clothing and equipment? You might just make a lucky find that you weren't expecting.

Looking for lunch? Then look no further!

There are many cafes and restaurants in each of the different areas, a total of 33. You will be spoiled for choice in the food court with the popular local restaurants and Japanese cuisine available in the 'Karuizawa -Aji no Machi' area or the thick and juicy Hawaiian style hamburgers available at 'Kua 'Aina' so you might want to check which restaurants are available in what areas before you head for something to eat.

Sacree Fleur is a French bistro housed in a striking building that is bursting with character. The main branch of this chain restaurant is actually found in France.

Take a rest at a cafe

Cafes like Tully's Coffee (at the Tree Mall) and Starbucks (at New East) will come in handy when you are looking to take a little break. There is also branch of Mikado Coffee found in the 'Center Mall' area of the outlet that you should be sure to visit. The original was established in Tokyo in 1948. You can enjoy their specially selected roast coffee and taste their signature coffee flavored ice cream known as 'Moca Soft' that you can see advertised on boards outside the store.

Perfect for souvenirs! You can pick up gifts from Shinshu and Karuizawa

There are 8 different gift shops in the 'Souvenir Area' selling special local goods synonymous with the Shinshu Region such as jams and sweets made from local fruits like apples and berries, as well as dairy products and wine.
A top pick from among the wealth of options on offer is the jam on sale at Sawaya. There are no additives used in its production leading to a wonderfully flavored jam made with the freshest fruits that allow you to enjoy their natural sweetness.

Enjoy an event

While there are many different events at the Karuizawa outlet mall, nothing gets the crowds more excited than the winter illumination. While you can enjoy the beautiful and other-worldly illuminations from the Green Field sites in every area, you can't do better than gazing upon the light reflecting on the pond from the deck in the 'New East' area. Make sure to get your fill of this amazing light show that colors the winter nights in a romantic atmosphere.
When can you see them:Until March 31st (Tue) 2020
Lighting times: 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Try 'Karuizawa Prince Hotel West' if you are looking for a convenient place to stay

If you would like to stay over after your shopping trip then you would be wise to book a room at the 'Karuizawa Prince Hotel West'. As it is located just a short two minute walk from the shopping plaza, you can head to your room to drop off the shopping bags that are weighing you down as you venture back out to look for more wares to purchase, as well as using the room as a convenient rest stop for when you get tired. They also offer bike rentals and a program of outdoor experiences for adults and children alike, so if you are looking for something beyond a shopping trip then you should be sure to book a night at the hotel.

Try 'Karuizawa Prince Hotel West' if you are looking for a convenient place to stay

Karuizawa, Karuizawamachi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano

Karuizawa, one of Japan's most instantly recognizable resort areas, offers other special experiences beyond the realm of shopping. Make sure to get yourself to Karuizawa to experience all of its incredible delights first-hand.

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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