Know Karuizawa

About Karuizawa

Place name Karuizawa

Origin of the name Karuizawa

Karuizawa was a village in ancient times, but in the Edo period (1603-1867), Karuizawa-juku (lodging house) was established on Nakasendo, one of the five highways, and in the Meiji period (1868-1912), the Naoetsu Line (Shinetsu Main Line) opened and Karuizawa Station was established. In the Taisho era (1912-1926), Higashinagakura-mura was incorporated as a town. The name of the village was changed to Karuizawa Town, which has remained the same to the present day.

Karuizawa” was called “Karuizawa” in the old days.
As Karuizawa became popular as a summer resort after the Meiji period (1868-1912) and foreign traffic began to increase, the name is said to have changed from the traditional “Karuisaawa” to “Karuizawa,” which is easier to pronounce.

However, it is still unclear when and from what source the name of this place originated.
According to some theories, the name is a corruption of “Koorisawa,” “Karuishizawa,” and “Karasawa,” which means “dried up stream. Some say it comes from “Karasekisawa,” or from “Karasegawa,” where the water dries up.
Furthermore, since the mountain pass had to be climbed by unloading luggage from horses and carrying it on one’s back, the name “Karuizawa” (which is thought to have been changed from “Karuusawa” to “Karuusawa” since the word “carrying” was used in the Middle Ages) was often found at the foot of the pass, which remains to this day, and many other opinions are expressed. There are many opinions.
Each seems to be true, but none is a particularly strong theory.

Karuizawa” is also the name of a place called “Sawa-jina,” which is often found in Shinshu.
While place names and family names with the character “sawa” are common in eastern Japan, they are less common in western Japan, whereas “valley place names” with the character “tani” are more common. Why is this?
There are many theories as to why this is so, but it is said to be related to the surname of a person who influenced history in ancient times.
This is why many surnames in Nagano Prefecture have the character “sawa” in them, such as Miyazawa, Yanagisawa, Takizawa, Nishizawa, and Nakazawa.

The name “Karuizawa” is said to be derived from pumice stone, volcanic ash soil, and other volcanic deposits. In Nagano Prefecture, there is a village called Irikaruizawa in Ueda City and another called Karuizawa in the Sarashin area of Nagano City.
There are also place names named Karuizawa in Yamagata Prefecture, Atami, and Yokohama, all of which share the point that they are named after erosion landforms of volcanic deposits.

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