“こんばんは！こんばんは。テラスハウスは見ず知らずの男女６人が共同生活する様子をただただ記録したものです 用意したのは ステキなおウチとステキ車だけです 台本は一切ございません。”
The familiar opening lines of Terrace House gets me every time. For those of you not in the know, Terrace House is a hit Japanese reality series about 6 strangers building connections with each other while living together under the same roof. I first heard of Terrace House when one of my share house friends introduced it to me. Intrigued, I watched an episode and quickly got hooked into the lives of these 6 beautiful men and women.
My first season was Terrace House: Boys & Girls In The City, and from then on I religiously watched every season of Terrace House with my housemates. Every Tuesday night, we would gather around the television eagerly waiting to watch the latest episode. Therefore, it was a no-brainer for me when deciding on my last trip before I headed home to Malaysia. “Let’s go on a Terrace House pilgrimage to Karuizawa!” I begged my friends, as the Karuizawa season was one of my favorites thanks to the antics of Seina and Yui. Thankfully, they agreed and so our trip begins, one bright sunny morning in January as we drove from Tokyo to Karuizawa, singing along to the Terrace House playlist Daisuke curated for us on Spotify.
- 10:00 Gather at the lounge area of our share house
- 13:00 Have lunch at Karuizawa’s SaSa
- 16:30 Look for the Karuizawa Terrace House’s location
- 17:30 Hot springs
- 19:00 Arriving at our Airbnb
- 24:00 Time for bed
Sasa is the soba restaurant owned by Tsubasa’s father and I’ve been wanting to eat there ever since it got featured on the show. We called ahead of time to make a reservation but the restaurant said they only accept walk-ins. I was a little worried that there would be a long line but thankfully on the day we went it was a slow day at the restaurant and we could get a good spot. The food was really good, the tempura was fresh and crisp while the soba noodles were cooked to perfection.
We even got to meet Tsubasa’s father and I shyly asked for a photo! He was really friendly and even though he was busy in the kitchen he made the time to take a photo with us *grateful*
After that it was time for the main event; going on the Terrace House hunt! The house was actually a little difficult to find because it was located in a mountainous area full of small winding roads. We looked for the house according to the address posted on this website but after a few unsuccessful attempts at locating it we decided to get off the car and walk instead.
An important note: The house is located in a residential area and as such if you ever think of visiting, please be mindful of your surroundings and be as quiet as possible as to not disturb the residents living nearby.
We went shopping at DELiCiA to buy ingredients for our dinner that night, and we couldn’t resist recreating the infamous scene of Yuudai smelling an onion. Who do you think smelt it better?
Whilst there, we played a game where everyone would pick an ingredient for nabe and they had to guess which items I would like. The person who picked the ingredient I liked least would have to play a batsu-game (punishment game) later and so it got quite competitive haha.
At this time, Daisuke was paying for the groceries and I had the bright idea of hiding in the bookstore next store because I wanted him to think abandoned him.. I’m such a great friend I know :’)
We all enjoyed looking at him search for us outside the supermarket for about 5 minutes before he spotted us hahaha (sorry Daisuke)
We found a chapel near the hot springs so we recreated the scene of Seina refusing Shohei’s confession (it’s not the actual chapel though). I’m glad I have friends who are willing to do nonsense like this with me.
Junya wanted to visit the Uchimura Kanzo Memorial Stone Church which was nearby as well so we dropped by for a bit. It looked unimpressive from the outside so I wasn’t really expecting anything but I’m really glad we went because the inside was really beautiful. The entire structure was made of stone and glass and there was a fountain inside with plants growing out of its walls. When I closed my eyes and listened to the sound of the running water I imagined it must be what heaven feels like. (Don’t judge a book by its cover guys!)
Unfortunately, no photos were allowed inside the church but visiting the church was a magical experience and I highly recommend anyone in the area to visit!
After a long day of walking, it was time for a dip in the hot springs. We went to Hoshino Resort’s Tombo-no-yu, a popular hot springs destination in Karuizawa. Tombo-no-yu is actually one of my favorite hot springs in Japan for its spacious outdoor pools and beautiful scenery.
I never used to like hot springs because I was not comfortable with the idea of getting naked in front of my friends or worse, a bunch of strangers. However, after multiple visits to hot springs during my time in Japan, I have fallen in love with onsen culture and would look forward to the seasons changing so I would have an excuse to go again. By the way my favorite season for hot springs is winter!
This post is getting a little too long so I shall stop here for today. Read about part 2 of our trip here! 😉
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