Wednesday, 18 November 2009

A Day Of Retail Therapy In Karuizawa

After spending a night at Taenoyu Onsen, enjoying the onsen then taking the steam locomotive and being swamped by people in Omotesando, it was time for some retail therapy for us. Armed with our JR East Passes, we took the shinkansen to Karuizawa, about an hour and half from Tokyo.
Me, in front of Karuizawa station before embarking on our retail therapy session. Karuizawa is an upmarket mountain resort at the foot of the active volcano Mount Asama. Apart from the shopping opportunities that we were there for, there are various outdoor activities, such as tennis, hiking, cycling, golfing in summer and skiing and skating in winter that can be enjoyed in Karuizawa.

We spent almost a day just walking from shops to shops. The first shop we went in was Nike Factory Outlet. You bet I acted like a girl in a candy shop here. I simply love my Nike stuff. I'm decked in Nike from top to toe when I hit the gym, after all. Despite my grand intention to do some serious shopping here, I only bought a skirt, a boot and a Nike gym bag. Zaini did more damage to his wallet buying one stuff that wasn't in his shopping list. At the Nike shop, he got himself a new pair of pants. We also bought Giants T-Shirts (got one for Zaini as his birthday present which was on Sep 23rd) at Adidas shop. Went completely ga-ga drooling over designer goods, but luckily I was sane enough to stop myself from going on a mad shopping spree. I was reluctant to even enter the Coach boutique but somehow can't resist after Zaini's prodding. I wish I have more $$$ to spend!!! Zaini spent a bit of time at the BAPE store; trying out stuff, but ended up not buying anything there.

If you are looking for something to eat, you might want to consider this one. A popular ekiben which was first sold in Karuizawa, it is called kamameshi, and are still sold in nearby stations. It contains mountain vegetables and chicken cooked with rice in an earthenware pot. The pots make a nice souvenir to bring home.

The earthenware ekiben was kept heated and you get a hot meal when you purchase them. We witnessed a huge queue at a stall selling this ekiben. And each customer seemed to buy more than one. Impressive.

Zaini's big splurge. A foldable Hummer bike he got for 18,980yen. He forgo his intention to buy a miniature train set (which was almost the same price as the bike) to get this. I wanted to buy the train set for him as a surprise birthday gift, but sad to say, I can't afford them. :(


  1. a true hubby sure understands why you can't afford to buy glamourous or extravagant gifts. regardless of the gifts you choose, i'm sure your gift will bring joy to him.

  2. Oh the ekiben looks good. And that it comes in an earthenware pot is so unique even~

    Unlike those here that comes in either plastic or polystyrene.

  3. wow the bike is that expensive? Same price as the train set too?

    Well, eventually in time he will get his train set i am sure ^^.

  4. Oh LR is right... it doesn't matter what you get him.. because he will understand that you can't afford it. It is the love that counts ;).

  5. @Life Ramblings,
    That's true. It's the thought that counts. (At least I hope so!) :D

  6. @ladyviral,
    some ekibens have really cool packaging. I got a paddle shaped one bought in Hiroshima last year. :)

    Believe it or not, those type of bikes are more expensive if bought here. A Dahon bike can set you back a thousand RM or more. Cheapest one is Le Run's at below RM500.00

    Yeah, I know that he'll get his train set someday. :)

  7. immediately reminded of our own foldable bike (oritatami jitensha) when i looked at zaini's 'big splurge'. ours is not a Hummer but we really treasure it because it's a departure gift from Koseki-san, the detective from Asakusa Police Station who used to visit us in Asakusa Mosque from time to time...

  8. @A Z Haida,
    Oooo.. it's called oritatami jitensha. Heard the word so many times, but we were like, densha apa ke bendanya? LOL

    Your bike is priceless! A gift of any kind should be treasured. How very nice of Koseki-san.

  9. Hi Lina! Retail therapy! hahaha

  10. after rreading all of your japan posts, I am really convinced that buying their bentos is a good idea most esp if you want to have some authentic japaenese souvenir to bring back home. Those are quality boxes and claypots!

  11. It must be nice to go shopping with you, looks like you ca stand to shop around the whole day in which my husband won't do! he'd rather sit somewhere after buying what's needed and wait for me to be done.

  12. @Ayie,
    I'm happy to make you interested in the bentos. Do try some local ones if and when you visit Japan. :)

    I need Zaini and Raimie to give me feedback when I go shopping (they are my personal stylists, hahaha) so they cannot go sit somewhere while I shop. :D
    I actually can't stand Zaini's style of shopping. He'll spend days looking for one item, just because he just cannot find that is perfect for him!

  13. The train set as expensive as the bike? Wow! I think it's wise to choose the bike instead. More useful : )

  14. So you are a fan of Nike? So the prices there were expensive? I thought you might get some good bargains, no?

  15. @foong,
    sometimes, usefulness isn't outweighed by an interest. Zaini does loves train sets, even if that isn't exactly a useful thing to have. He'll buy the ones he had been eyeing for, someday.

    The place we went to in Karuizawa is kinda an upmarket boutique town, so yes, most of the stuff there are expensive, but they are cheaper than buying them at home but not that much this year due to much higher yen compared to our RM. Last year, I can save a lot buying my stuff there compared to this year.


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