let's enjoy nature
Kita Karuizawa and Tsumagoi Village are places full of nature, including mountains, trees, and animals.
Spring when the trees are budding, summer when the trees are covered with greenery, autumn when the trees turn red, and winter when the snow is pure white.
Every season has a different look and is full of charm.
This page introduces information for enjoying nature more.
Asama, the symbol of this area. At an altitude of 2,500 meters, it is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. It began erupting nearly 70,000 years ago, and has undergone many eruptions during the Heian and Edo periods, and has continued to this day. If you look closely at the top, you can see something like a black bean grain. This is hardened lava near the crater. It looks small from a distance, but it is quite large when you see it up close, so it is called Senton Rock. From around November, only the top of the mountain is covered with snow, and then the snow melts repeatedly, and by December, the entire mountain turns white. In the village of Tsumagoi at the foot of the mountain, it is said that when Mt. Asama turns white three times, it will snow in Tsumagoi as well.
Kitakaruizawa and Kusatsu are areas with many hot springs. Because there are many volcanoes. One of the ways hot springs are created is that (1) rain and snow seep into the ground and become groundwater, (2) magma accumulates in the shallow parts of the volcano and heats the groundwater, and (3) the heated groundwater spouts out from cracks in the surface. there is something Therefore, there are many hot springs. In addition, many of the hot springs in this area are 'flowing directly from the source'. Source free-flowing is a luxurious way to use the hot spring without adding water or heating after it gushes out. This usage can be done because there is a large amount of gushing water. Kusatsu has the highest amount of spring water in Japan. 230,000 drums of hot spring water springs out every day. There is a similar word "natural hot spring", but in this, the hot spring used is filtered, disinfected, circulated, used many times, and water is added. There are also "artificial hot springs" that add medicines and ores.
Butterbur sprouts are delicious when made into tempura. In Kitakaruizawa, it can be seen in early spring when the snow melts. It likes moist places and places that are not exposed to the sun, and can be found on the banks of riverbeds, near fields, among fallen leaves, etc. Like the fluff of a dandelion, they spread by scattering seeds, so they often grow in clusters. Around May, you can see that they have grown into green butterburs.
Japanese larch (new shoots in spring, red leaves in autumn)
Pine trees grow abundantly in this area. In kanji, it is written as Karamatsu. Because the origin is similar to the pine painting of Chinese painting. Around May, new green leaves sprout, turn yellow around October, and soon fall off. The sight of the larch leaves glittering in the sunlight and falling down is really beautiful. It is the only conifer in Japan that loses its leaves. Therefore, it is also called deciduous pine. 75% is man-made, and natural is limited to near volcanoes such as the foot of Mt. Asama, Mt. Fuji, and Mt. Yatsugatake. It is said that grass grows around the volcano, where it is difficult for plants to grow, and eventually larch grows thick. The language of flowers is "bold", "bold", and "bold".
Upside down horse (spring)
The horse on the lower right side of the photo is a reverse horse. It is so called because when the snow on Mt. Asama melts, it looks like a horse. In Tsumagoi Village, it is said that spring has come when you see an upside-down horse, and farmers start working in the fields at this time. It can be seen from late April to early May. It looks more like a bird than a horse, but if you are traveling at this timing, please do.
Cabbage field (summer)
Tsumagoi Village is a major producer of cabbage. It has been the number one producer in Japan for 50 consecutive years. Cabbage grows easily at a temperature of 15-20°C, and since the average temperature in Tsumagoi Village from June to September is around that level, summer cabbage production is thriving. It is said that half of the cabbages shipped at this time are shipped from Tsumagoi Village. Cabbage harvesting starts around 2:00 am when the temperature is low. They cannot be harvested by machine, so they are cut off one by one with a kitchen knife. During the peak season, 1.6 million cabbages are shipped per day, and about 150 million cabbages are shipped from July to October. Kimchi-no-sato Maruyama farm direct sales store
Cabbage kimchi that you can buy at wholesale center Sanei is delicious.
Milky Way (Summer)
Kita Karuizawa where you can see the beautiful stars. The Milky Way looks beautiful in summer. In Japan, the story of Orihime and Hikoboshi is famous. Orihime and Hikoboshi were originally two people who were passionate about their work, and they got married and became husband and wife, but Hikoboshi, who was having too much fun in his married life, stopped working at all. Legend has it that Orihime's father got angry and separated her to the other side of the Milky Way, and they only met once a year. On the other hand, in Europe and the United States, it is called the “Milky Way”. The origin is Greek mythology. She had a goddess Hera with immortal breasts, but one day she sucked too hard when her baby was about to suckle. Hera jumped up in surprise, and it is said that her breast milk, which danced with her momentum, became the "Milky Way".
mistletoe (autumn, winter)
Mistletoe can be seen here and there in this area. In Kanji, it is written as Hattorigi. Unlike normal plants, it cannot put down roots in the soil, and it grows by digging its roots into the trunks and branches of other trees. They are not unilaterally depriving of nutrients and water, but they are also carrying out photosynthesis themselves. They are easier to spot in autumn and winter when there are no leaves on the trees. In Europe, it has been considered a sacred tree since ancient times. For this reason, we sometimes see round ornaments that resemble mistletoe at Christmas. Flower language is "overcoming difficulties" and "patience". Many can be seen in front of the 7-Eleven Gunma Kita-Karuizawa store alongside Lawson.
Snow bug (early winter)
A snow-like insect that flies with a fluffy white snow on its stomach. It is said that the first snow falls two to three weeks after seeing snow bugs. Actually this is a friend of aphids. From June to October, they stay in Sakhalin fir trees, and after October they move to Yachidamo trees. At this time, because it flew with something like snow, it came to be said to be an early winter feature. Outside of Kita-Karuizawa, it is also common in Hokkaido. Kita Karuizawa is said to have a similar climate to Hokkaido, but they also have snow bugs in common.
Animal (footprints in winter)
Kita-Karuizawa is home to many wild animals. If you are lucky, you can meet deer, foxes, squirrels, rabbits, pheasants, etc. when you enter the mountain road by car. Especially during the snow season, animals leave footprints. Foxes and rabbits are easily recognizable. Foxes leave footprints in a straight line because they land on the same spot with both feet. The rabbit (1) jumps with two hind legs, (2) lands vertically with the right front leg and left front leg, and (3) repeats the jump with two hind legs. If you see a snowy field (snow-covered field, etc.) that has not been trampled by human feet, please stop your car and look for footprints. Fox tracks are especially common.
In this area, there is a guide service by local people called Mt. Asama Hokurei Geo Guide. There are various courses such as the Asama Ranch Round Promenade Guide, Starry Sky Guide, Asama Garden Promenade Guide, and many interesting stories such as stories related to constellations and commentary on plants. Apply up to one week in advance. Asama Hokurei Geopark HP (under renovation until around February), or if you request it when making a reservation, we will arrange it for you. A guide will accompany every 10 people and will guide you for 1 to 3 hours for 6,000 yen.