Karuizawa Chocolate Factory was opened in 2012 under this name, but then changed to Bon Okawa. However, most people still refer to the shop with the name it was given first. It has always been run by Tokyo Rusk which is, as indicated by its name, a company based in Tokyo that is specialized in making flavored sugar rusks. The company has branches all across the country but the Karuizawa shop is its only branch in Nagano prefecture.
Although Tokyo Rusk's delicious products are available at Karuizawa Chocolate Factory, the shop has become popular for its Karuizawa Chocolate Balls. These little balls can only be bought there and exist in many flavors: bitter chocolate, blueberry or caramel among others. You will have to pay ¥600 for a box of seven balls, which is a bit pricey, but definitely good value for money.
It is said that the reason why the chocolate balls are so delicious is because they are made with water from the city of Shinshu in Nagano prefecture. Another product that Shinshu is known for is milk. Karuizawa Chocolate Factory uses it to make a soft serve ice cream, or 'soft cream' in Japanese, served with chocolate sauce and a sugar rusk that is to die for.
The shop also has a coffee corner where visitors can have a cup of tea or coffee for free. When the weather is good, you can eat either inside or at one of the two terraces. And there is more! If you're feeling hungry but don't want to open the box of Karuizawa Chocolate Balls you just bought, you can actually taste some of the rusks and the shop's original chocolate cake, also for free!
One last reason to visit Karuizawa Chocolate Factory is its large bay window behind which you can watch the artisans preparing the chocolate balls or cutting pieces of chocolate cake right before your eyes.
Unless you have a car, Karuizawa Chocolate Factory isn't too convenient to access. It will take you a good 15 minutes walk from Karuizawa station's north exit to get there but trust me, it is worth the effort.
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