Karuizawa (軽井沢) is a picturesque resort town situated in a fertile valley beneath the shadow of Asama-yama, one of the most active volcanoes on Honshū. Its last minor eruption was in 2015, but the previous one in 2009 reportedly saw ash fall as far away as Tokyo (130km). Karuizawa has long been a popular retreat from Tokyo's summer heat for the rich and famous. In 1957 a young Emperor Akihito met his future bride, Empress Michiko, on a tennis court here. Since then, the town has been a popular spot for weddings and an even more popular weekend destination for Tokyoites.
With easy access from Tokyo and Nagano by shinkansen (bullet train), a range of accommodation, restaurants, and a shopping outlet that even anti-shoppers will find hard to resist, Karuizawa makes a worthwhile day trip and a lovely, though expensive, place to spend a night or two.