Gunma prefecture has a lot of mountains including Mt.Asama, a volcano, therefore the visitors are attracted by its beautiful landscapes. The popular natural spots are: “Oni Oshidashi Park” which is made from a volcanic eruption of Mt.Asama, “Fukiware Waterfall” which is called Eastern Niagara, “Shimako Lake” which is known for its another name called Shima Blue, or “Ose National Park” which has a lot of flowers blooming.
There are also historic sites such as “Watarase Railway” that used to be a mining railway, “Tomioka Silk Mill” that has been designated as a world heritage in 2014, or “Haruna Shrine” that is designated as an important property. In addition, Gunma has famous Onsen towns like “Kusatsu Onsen” or “Ikaho Onsen”. Gunma has a various types of attractive places, and now is getting attention as a sightseeing spot that can be visited by a day trip from metropolitan area.
- 10th Oni Oshidashi (Demon Extrusion)
- 9th Ikaho Onsen
- 8th Fukiware-no-taki Falls
- 7th Lake Shimako
- 6th Watarase Keikoku Railway
- 5th Oze National Park
- 4th Tanigawadake Ropeway
- 3rd Tomioka Silk Mill
- 2nd Haruna-jinja Shrine
- 1st Yubatake (Hot Water Field)
1. Spot Ranking in Gunma area
10th. Oni Oshidashi (Demon Extrusion)
Oni Oshidashi Park is made by an volcanic eruption of Mt.Asama in 1783, and is located in Tsumagoi city of Gunma prefecture. The name of “Oni Oshidashi” is said to be based on the episode that Oni (a Japanese style demon) who lived in Mt.Asama once got angry and let the volcano erupted and the ground forms a shape of as it is today. The lava coming from the volcano hardened, weathered taking a long time, and finally formed a unique shape that cannot be seen any other places. Especially in winter, you can see the contrast view of Mt.Asama fully covered with snow at the back, and the black stones having snow on its head.
In addition, there are various kinds of Plateau plants coloring the landscape from spring to early summer. Oni Oshidashi Park is now recognized as “Mt.Asama North Foot Geo Park”. The opening hour is from 8:00-17:00, 7 days a week. The admission fee is 600 yen for general. Pets are allowed.
To get to Oni Oshidashi Park: At Takasaki Station, take Hokuriku Shinkansen, get off at Karuizawa Station, then take Seibu Kogen Bus. The bus takes about 40 minutes.
9th. Ikaho Onsen
Ikaho Onsen, located at north side of Mt. Asama, is well known as a therapeutic path. There is a stone steps going through the center of shopping area of Ikaho Onsen, which has 400 years of history, and is recognized as a symbol of this onsen town. The steps seems to go up to the sky. It has been repaired for several times to keep its condition. Today, it has 365 steps wishing the onsen town flourish for 365 days.
After you go up and reached to the top, you’ll see a foot bath where you can take a rest and relax. In addition, there are 4 spring source junction called “Komaguchi”, and you can see how the hot spring flows. One of the speciality of Ikaho Onsen is Onsen-manju (a bun stuffed with Azuki-bean paste). It was used to be a gift for the Imperial Family. Now you can see a lot of Onsen-manju all over Japan, but this Onsen-manju from Ikaho Onsen is said to be the original.
To get to Ikaho Onsen: from JR Takasaki Station, take Gunma Bus with Ikaho Onsen (via Mizusawa) direction. It takes about 80 minutes.
8th. Fukiware-no-taki Falls
Fukiware Falls is located in Numata city, Gunma prefecture. This fall is 7 meters in height and 30 meters wide, and called “East Niagara”. It was designated as natural treasure and scenic spot in 1936. The name of “Fukiware” comes from that the limpid stream from Katashinagawa River, the source of this fall, eroded the big rocks and made big cracks, and the water flowing into that crack splash at the waterfall basin.
This looks like the water is blowing up, that this why the fall is called “Fukiware”. Since there is a footstep around the fall, you can get closer and take a look at the fall splashing. There are shops along the street, but also you can see “Masutobi Falls”, ”Hannya Rock”, and “Ukishima Kannon Hall” there. Especially at “Ukishima Kannon Hall”, they have an annual festival called “Ukishima Kannon Spring Festival” on April 18th, and also “Fukiware Kannon Festival” is held every other year.
To get to Fukiware Falls: from JR Takasaki Station, take Joetsu Line and get off at Numata Station of JR Joetsu Line. After that, take a bus for 40 minutes.
7th. Lake Shimako
Lake Shimako is a man-made lake with circumference of 5km, and is located in Gunma prefecture. This lake was made for reservoir at an electrical generation station. Since the color of the water at the lake changes slightly depending on the time or volume of the light, it is called “Goshiki Numa (five-colored marsh)” or “Shiman Blue”. Our recommendation at this lake is canoe tour. A instructor guides 5 canoes and go on a tour.
The canoe tour is available from late Mar until late Nov, and it costs 6000 yen for adults. There is Shimako Onsen around this lake so you can enjoy taking a bath. You also can see a national treasure “Yakushi-do Hall” here. In addition, they have an annual event called “Yudate shinji” on every around Jan 20th (the day of coldest season) in front of Gomusou no yu. This event is in order to pray for sound health.
To get to Lake Shimako: from JR Takasaki Station, take Joetsu Line to get to Shibukawa Station, then change the train to Tsuma Line, and get off at Nakanojo Station. After that, take a bus with Shimako Onsen direction, get off at Lake Shimako stop.
6th. Watarase Keikoku Railway
Watarase Keikoku Railway is a 44km-long railway along side Watarase river, connecting Kiryu Station in Gunma prefecture and Math Station in Tochigi prefecture. It takes about 80 minutes in overall, and it has a abbreviation called “Watetsu”. The railway was originally built to connect Ashio Copper Mine and nearby region, but after the Copper Mine was closed in 1989, it was renewed as a sightseeing railway.
To go sightseeing, you need to get on a trolley train. There are restaurant “Seiryu”, Takatsudo kyo, trace of underground mining of Ashio Copper Mine, or Akagane Shins Park along the railway line. The trolley train runs whole year, but a reservation must be required. The fare is 510 yen for adults. A reservation can be made via the website: https://www.watetsu.com/torokko.html
To get to Watarase Keikoku Raikway: from JR Takasaki Station, take Ryomo Line and get off at Kiryu Station. The train takes 48 minutes.
5th.Oze National Park
Oze National Park was separated from Nikko National Park in 2007, and designated as a independent national park. When separated, famous mountains like Mt. Aizu Komagatake, or Mt. Tashiro were incorporated. The highlight at this national park is that there are many animals or plants preserved as the park is said to be “the origin of nature preservation”.
Those preserved animals includes Japanese bear, antelope, and plants includes fagus, babies mariesii, or pinus pumila. Especially this place is famous for a spot for skunk cabbage.
To get to Oze National Park (to get to Tokura, the entrance): from JR Takasaki Station, take Joetsu Line for 48 minutes and get off at Numata Station. After that, take a scheduled bus to Tokura. The bus takes 90 minutes.
4th. Tanigawadake Ropeway
Mt. Tanigawadake is visited by many mountaineers through the year. There is a Tanigawadake Ropeway so even for those who don’t get to used to climb mountains can enjoy hiking. You can take the ropeway at Mt. Tanigawadake Doaiguchi to Tenjindaira. It takes about 10 minutes.
Tenjindaira is at altitude 1500 meters, and from here you can see Mt. Tanigawadake right in front of you. If you visit here in autumn, you can see an amazing view of colored leaves. In addition, if you go further up to an observation platform by a lift, you can see the 360° panorama view.
Mt.Tanigawadake Ropeway is operating 7 days a week. The fare for roundtrip costs 2060 yen for adults, one way costs 1230 yen.
To get to Mt. Tanigawadake Ropeway: from JR Takasaki Station, take Joetsu Line and get off at Mizukami Station. After that, take a bus with Mt.Tanigawa Ropeway direction for 25 minutes.
3rd. Tomioka Silk Mill
Tomioka Silk Mill is a raw silk factory built in order to stimulate the economy when Japan was in the transition from Edo period to Meiji Restoration. The factory played an important role as a model silk factory with modern equipment since it was built in 1872 until closed in 1987. Since the building has been kept in a good condition until now, it was registered as a world heritage in 2014.
Basically the tour of Tomioka Silk Mill is to look at the outlook of its building, but if you use a guided tour, you can take a look at the inside of the building. In addition, they have a local speciality of Silk products named “Tomioka Silk Brand” so they do production and sales. Tomioka Silk Mill is open from 9:00-17:00 except Dec 29th – 31th.
To get to Tomioka Silk Mill: from JR Takasaki Station, take Joshin Electric Railway for 95 minute, get off at Joshu Tomioka Station, and walk for 9 minutes.
2nd. Haruna-jinja Shrine
Haruna Shrine, a national important cultural property, is visited by a lot of people as a power spot which has main buildings such as main shrine, Heiden (hall of offerings), or Haiden (hall of worship), and also other buildings such as Soryumon Gate, or Kagura Hall.
There are many events held through the year, but “Toshigoi Festival” on feb 17th, “Chimaki Festival” on Jun 5th, or “Niiname Festival” on Nov 23th are especially known well. The speciality at Haruna Shrine is “kaiun Misogi Manju” sold at “Misogiya” in precinct. The manju with pickled plum inside is also known as Gunma’ specialty, and is 200 yen. They also have manju without pickled plum, and is 100 yen.
To get to Haruna Shrine: from JR Takasaki Station west exit, take Gunma Bus with “Lake Haruna via Hongo” direction, get off at Haruna Shrine Mae stop, and walk for 16 minutes.
1st. Yubatake (Hot Water Field)
Yubatake is an equipment in order to get insoluble element called “Yu no Hana” found in the source. The amount of hot water at Yubatake in Kusatsu Onsen is the best in Japan, and since the size is also big it is recognized as a symbol of Kusatsu Onsen.
“Yu no Hana” is sold as a souvenir of Kusatsu Onsen. Since 4000L of hot spring is gushing out every day at Yubatake, there is always steam going up into the air. In addition, because of its amount of hot water, you can always use free-flowing hot spring here at Kusatsu Onsen, so you can enjoy and relax as much as you want. Furthermore, there are footpath mede with bricks or parks around Yubatake where you can enjoy foot bath at “Yukemuri tei”, or “Yumomi and dance” at Netsunoyu.
To get to Kusatsu Onsen: from JR Takasaki Station, take Azuma Line, get off at Naganohara Kusatsuguchi Station. After that take JR Bus and get off at Kusatsu Onsen Terminal stop. The total hour takes about 3 hours for one way.
2. Getting to Takasaki Station from Tokyo
The fastest way to get to Takasaki Station from Tokyo: take JR Joetsu Shinkansen from Tokyo Station, and get off at Takasaki Station. It takes 58 minutes, and the fare costs 1940 yen + non-reservation seats 2470 yen, 4410 yen in total.
3. Other Area List
Ikaho Onsen, Shibukawa and Haruna
Shima Onsen – Nakanojo
Oze, Numata and Kawaba