Rumor has it that the world-famous Bill Gates has started building a vacation home in Japan’s premier mountain resort town Karuizawa, Nagano!

After it was substantiated in an article in Shinken Shinbun, a local construction periodical, the Bill Gates Mansion became the talk of the town. The land for it includes an area of 19,979 square meters. It will be one-storied and go down two stories into a basement.  There will be a heliport and a private underground road accessing the grounds where a 2000 square metered garden is planned.  

In 1888, a Canadian missionary became the first foreigner to acquire a summer retreat in Karuizawa.  In the mid seventies John Lennon brought his family to Karuizawa every summer! Karuizawa is soothingly cool in the hot summer with plenty of fresh air and abundant greenery.  Bill Gates shows excellent taste in choosing Karuizawa for his hideaway!

Still, the details of this Bill Gates endeavor are clouded in mystery. Rumors surrounding the mansion abound on the internet, such as: 

  • the area has 8 hot springs
  • it won’t be a vacation house but a private art museum
  • It is to be completed by next December
  • the building costs will easily reach 10 million dollars

Whatever the case, the fact that he picked Karuizawa as a place for rest and recreation is exciting news!  That someone like Bill Gates prefers Karuizawa as a place to build (whatever it is) is a matter of pride.  In this day and age you can’t help but feel grateful for what feels like Bill Gates’ support.  Warm feelings of gratitude to Bill Gates and Karuizawa bubble up in the soul.

We went on a trip to Karuizawa to see if we could find more on the situation.

On arrival, we found what appears to be a huge construction site! 

   What could this be?  It looks like they might be building an outdoor concert stadium!  There were none of the usual signboards advertising the official tenderer or their plans anywhere in sight.  Is this really the place where Bill Gates is building?  It suddenly became doubtful.  This might not  be the right place.After comparing the navigational data from the map to where the newspaper article said it was, it looks like this is the right place after all.  It is definitely out in the sticks, along a narrow winding road where there is no parking.   The tall fence provides such poor visibility!  Too bad that the camera can’t even catch the enormity of this structure.

There is virtually nobody around to confirm anything.  But wait!  There is bound to be a security guard somewhere on these premises.  Perhaps going around to the back will pay off!

There was a security guard!  Finally someone!

In being asked:  “So is this going to be an Art Museum or something?”

Replied:  “This is a private vacation house, there is no trespassing beyond this point!”

Ah Ha!  It is to be a Private Vacation House!  Got that right!  We all know Bill Gates is rich.  Wouldn’t we love to know what wonders will appear on this land in Karuizawa!

But there was nobody around to ask for the latest gossip on what Bill Gates intends to do, not even a dog-walker.  Nothing to do but wander this lovely neighborhood of villas and vacation houses. 

Many famous corporations have resorts and vacation houses in this area.  Imagine the people staying here when Bill Gates’ mansion is completed.  They’ll be able to tell when he arrives and leaves by the sound of his chopper in the heliport!  Unless of course he decides to use the underground private passage…

Amidst all the mystery of what it will be like, we can say we welcome Bill Gates and his plans with open arms!
[ Read in Japanese ]