You’ve been to Karuizawa’s Stone Church and Prince Shopping Plaza. You’ve enjoyed the nearby Harunire Terrace and its excellent restaurants, and bought some lovely souvenirs - but now the kids are getting restless and are looking for something fun that they can do, rather than be dragged around the shops. Picchio’s eco-tourism centre in the Hoshino resort has just the thing.
Based opposite Hoshino’s renowned onsen, Picchio offers a range of interactive tours that help you get in touch with nature, all of them great fun for people of all ages. The dragonfly bingo tour is the real winner with the kids, though.
After a 10am start, our guide Endo-san led our group over to the nearby pond which all sorts of lovely creepy-crawlies make their home. The humid July heat, the shallow source of water, and lush green vegetation - they all provide the perfect habitat for some seriously cool, seriously beautiful insects.
As the name of the activity implies, one of the most exciting insects found here is the dragonfly, and plenty of types of dragonfly at that. The bright blue ones that dart about the water’s surface are the most eye-catching. But our task wasn’t just to let the insects catch our eyes - we had to catch them in our nets, too!
First of all, our guide set out a mat. On it there was a grid, marked by pictures of different kinds of bugs, and shallow containers of water to put the bugs in once we’d caught them. If we managed to collect enough bugs to score a line on the bingo mat, then we’d win an exciting, mysterious prize… so, on Endo-san’s word, we took up our nets and set out to catch some bugs.
It was frustrating for us, at first - those bugs are faster than you’d think! But with some patience and a gentle hand, some of us managed to catch some dragonflies, and other fascinating insects. Seeing your children run around excitedly as they chase after bugs is lovely for a parent - and catching insects can be quite challenging and fun for adults, too! With a little help, even the really little ones can get involved.
After we’d caught some cool bugs, we put them in their respective containers and had a close look at them. Then, by looking at the grid of insect containers, we could see which insects we’d gathered and - bingo! We’d collected a diagonal line of different bugs. So, we carefully released the bugs back into their homes, and returned to the Picchio tourist centre, where we received a little prize each, a lovely reminder of our tour.
This activity is perfect for the kids, and it’s good fun for the parents too. Sign up now, and give your children the rare opportunity to really get involved with nature and Karuizawa’s local wildlife.