“Kumoba Pond (‘cloud place’ pond) is named for its frequent fogginess, which lends it an eerie beauty, and is attractive in any weather. A path around the pond, wandering through the adjoining larch forest, allows it to be circled in less than half an hour.
“Karuizawa began life as one of the 69 stations on the Nakasendo, one of the two routes linking Kyoto and Tokyo in Edo era Japan. In fact, the 30km or so of Route 18 between Karuizawa and the town of Takasaki (home of the Daruma doll) to the east still follows the old Nakasendo.
“The next big event that shaped modern Karuizawa was the discovery of the town in 1886 by the then-Bishop of East Tokyo, Alexander Croft Shaw (1846-1902), who began coming here to seek respite in Karuizawa’s altitude (about 1,000 meters) from hot, muggy Tokyo summers, and introduced other foreign residents to the town.
“Karuizawa’s cool climate attracted a number of Japanese writers in the early 20th century including Ryunosuke Akutagawa (1892-1927) the author of In a Grove and Rashomon, Tatsuo Hori (1892-1953), Saisei Muro (1889-1962), and Hakucho Masamune (1879-1962). Akutagawa stayed at the excellent Hotel Tsuruya, which displays photographs of the author in its lobby in memory of his stays in 1924 and 1925.”
– Karuizawa Guide, JapanVisitor