Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza is a sprawling mall complex spanning 5 different areas with about two hundred shops and restaurants. It is a paradise for shoppers or hell if you are chasing screaming kids around in thirty degree summer heat. Thankfully in amongst all the boutiques are lawns, a lake and shady trees so young tearaways can go crazy running around while consumer-mad parents go crazy with the credit cards.
The Shopping Plaza could not be easier to get to being right outside Karuizawa Station. It is also part of the same complex as some of the Prince Hotels and is a short walk or shuttle bus ride away if you are based at one of those. The shops are spread between Garden Mall in the center with West, New West, and East, New East areas on either side. There is also a strip of restaurants that seemed to be constantly crowded, as well as a bowling and entertainment center.
I’m not much of a shopper but am reliably informed that there are plenty of good shops with some very good bargains to be had. Everywhere seemed to have giant sale stickers on the window and discount offers plastered on any available surface. There are big name brands in abundance and a steady stream of people strolling around. Children and pets also featured heavily - we even saw someone taking their monkey for a day out at the shopping mall. Dogs have to be kept on a leash in most areas apart from a little dog run off to one side. The children, often far more trouble, get the run of the place and are not required to be restrained, though that policy may be up for revision now we have visited.
Restaurants are a bit on the scarce side and get busy during lunch times (we were there during the summer holidays so everywhere was packed) but there are some good little food vans around and if you work up a thirst chasing little people around there are a couple of places selling locally brewed beer for a quick refreshment in between pursuits.
It is another big shopping mall at the end of the day but a very nice one with stunning views and acres of space.