Day Trip to Maebashi, Mt.Akagi and Kiryu from Tokyo. Maebashi in the southern part of Gunma prefecture and it spreads out between the southwest foot of Mt. Akagi and the middle of Tone river. Maebashi was a great sericulture area during the Edo period and had been developed with silk industry.
Now, Maebashi city is a prefectural capital which is central to politics and economy even silk industry declined after World War Two. People can experience beautiful nature and rich history in Maebashi such as Shyorinzan Daruma temple which is famous for “Daruma doll market” held on the 1st day of every month. Also there are Mt.Akagi, Akagi shrine and Watarase valley railway.
- 1. Spot Ranking
- 5th Maebashi’s Kencho-sha
- 4th Shorinzan Darumaji Temple
- 3rd Akagi Shrine
- 2nd Mt. Akagi-yama
- 1st Watarase Keikoku Railway
- 2. Getting in
- 3. Other Area List
1. Spot ranking in Day Trip to Maebashi, Mt. Akagi and Kiryu area
5th. Maebashi’s Kencho-sha
Gunma prefectural government office is the highest building in the prefecture and conducts administrative affairs. The building was constructed in 1999 with 33 floors and its height is 153.8 meters (520 feet). The 32nd floor is open to the public as an observatory and its view is fantastic. People can also enjoy dinner and the view at the restaurant on the 31st floor. On the same floor, there are tourist information and local product galleries.
People take a see-through elevator to go up to the observatory. In the night time, people can enjoy the night view of Gunma Oohashi bridge, Gunma Hall, and the whole area of Maebashi city. During a day time, people can enjoy the view of mountain ranges and beautiful sunset at the evening.
The previous prefectural office government is next to current office. The building is a typical western style architecture built in 1928. It remains the mood of the early Showa era and creates a fantastic atmosphere with a light during night. Operation hours of Prefectual Government office is from 8:30 am to 10:00 pm on weekdays, from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm on weekends and holiday. (Last entry is at 9:45 pm) It’s free admission.
Directions to Gunma Prefectural Government Office, Take (1) Gunma Chuo bus bounds for Takasaki station, (2) Gunma bus bounds for Ion mall Takasaki (No.47), (3) Nihon Chuo bus Nishi oomuro line bounds for Maebashi Koen via Jyonan Undo Koen and Nisseki, or Banto line bounds for Uenoda Yotsukado, Hirose Touzen line bounds for Shikishima Koen bus terminal via Komagawa station, Shikishima Koen and Nisseki.(4) Jyoshin Dentetsu bus bounds for Takasaki station, (5) Nagai Unyu Higashi Oomuro line bounds for Maebashi koen, (6) Kanetsu Kotsu bounds for Maebashi Park, Tsuchiya BUnmei Bungaku Kan, Gunma Onsen.
There are many ways to get there. Get off at “Kencho mae” bus stop. Then it takes about 2 minutes by walk.
It takes about 5 minutes from Maebashi station to Kencho mae bus stop. The bus fee is 150 yen. If you walk from Maebashi station to Gunma Prefectural Government Office, it takes about half an hour.
4th. Shorinzan Darumaji Temple
Shorinzan Darumaji Temple is the origin of “Takasaki Daruma” doll. This is one of the famous lucky charms in Japan. The temple is constructed in 1697 and daruma dolls which completed its task for the past year are brought and piled up in the temple. On 6 and 7 January every year, “Shorinzan Nanakusa-Taisai Daruma-ichi” is held and many visitors come for the new daruma dolls. Opening hour is 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM.
Direction to Shorinzan Darumaji Temple, take a Takasaki by a city circular bus (at the No.1 west bus stop of Takasaki station). And get off at the Shorinzan Iriguchi（少林山入口）bus stop. It takes 10 minutes by walk from bus stop.
And other route is that take a Shiyakusho bus (go to Kamitoyooka,Annaka Station, Annaka shiyakusho) and get off at the Hachiman Daimon（八幡大門）bus stop. The bus fee is 370 yen. (One-way) It takes about 20 minutes. Departure time is 11:05, 13:00.
3rd. Akagi Shrine
Akagi Shrine stands on the Kotoriga island of Lake Oonuma which is located at the summit of Mt.Akagi. People’s mind has been captured by dynamic mountain view and beautiful seasonal scenery of Lake Oonuma since old days.
At this shrine, the deity of Akagi Daimyojin, Ookuninushino Mikoto, Iwatutunowokami, Owatutunomekami, Futsunushinokami are enshrined. It is said to give a luck of good health, open luck, home safety and business success to visitors.
Aside from that, it brings women a good luck for having a baby, safe birth and raring children. In the book called “Shintoshu” which was edited at Ani-In in Kyoto in 1300s, there is an old story. There was a goddess called Akagi princess who was offered to Akagi Daimyojin, the deity of Mt.Akagi and Lake. It is believed that if women make a wish to Akagi princess, their wish will come true. In this deep mountain area, a local belief and culture has been existing timelessly.
This shrine is located at 1300 meters or 3937 feet from above the sea level. It is possible to visit all year around and people can enjoy different scenery of each season such as cool in Summer and snow in Winter.
The design of “Goshuin cho” or notebook for stamps of Akagi shrine is very popular among women. “Goshuincho” is a notebook for collecting each shrine’s or temple’s own stamp when people visit there. People can visit any time to this shrine and free. The Shrine office is open from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm on weekdays, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on weekends. (It depends on the weather condition, it may change.)
Direction to Akagi shrine, take a Kanetsu Koutsu bus via Fujimi Onsen at the No.6 bus stop of Maebashi station and get off at the final stop, Akagi visitor center. It takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes. The bus fee is 1500 yen. (One-way) It takes about 15 minutes by walk from the bus stop. It is possible to take other company’s bus such as Nihon chuo bus, Nagai Unyu and Gunma Chuo bus.
2nd. Mt. Akagi-yama
Mt. Akagi is a representative mountain in Gunma prefecture. It is located in the center of Gunma consists of several mountains such as Mt. Kurobi and Jizo dake which heights range from 1200 meters to 1800 meters (3937 feet to 5905 feet). Mt. Kurobi is the highest mountain (1828 meters or 5997 feet) and its foot spreads out beautifully. On the trail, people can enjoy trekking while looking down Oonuma and walking up on a steep slope. A giant rock is on the path. There is an observatory near the open space of the summit.
People enjoy the panoramic view of Mt. Tanigawa and Okunikko mountain ranges. Liverleaf and Shitori violet can be seen during Summer season. Akayashio flowers are in full bloom in May and June on a halfway up Mt. Koma and attract climbers. It is also known as the best spot for viewing autumn leaves.
There are Onuma, Kakumanbuchi (caldera lakes) and Ouma (volcano lake) on a halfway up Mt.Akagi. It takes about 1 hour and a half from the entrance of Mt.Kurobi to the summit, takes about 1 hour from the summit of Mt.Kurobi to the summit of Mt.Koma. It takes about 1 hour and a half from the entrance of Mt.Koma to the entramce of Mt.Kurobi, total time is about 4 hours.
Direction to Mt.Akagi, take bus bounds for Fujimi Onsen (Kanto kootu, Nihon Chuo bus, Nagai Unyu, Gunma Chuo bus) from Maebashi station on weekdays, the transfer another bus bounds for Akagi visitor center at Fujimi Onsen. The bus fee is 1500 yen (one-way). People can use a common bus card. On weekend, there is an express direct bus from Maebashi station to Mt.Akagi bus stop. It takes about 1 hour. It departs at 8:45 am,11:40 am, and 15:15 pm from Maebashi station.
1st. Watarase Keikoku Railway
Watarase Valley Railway is connected between Kiryu station of Gunma prefecture and Mafuji station of Tochigi prefecture and is along with the Watarase river. (It is about 44 km or 27.3 mi.) It takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes. It’s very popular trolley train which has nostalgic atmosphere.
People can enjoy greenery nature and autumn leaves from the windows. Along the railway stations, there are many hot springs and tourist spots in rich nature. The fist railway was established as a part of Ashio railway in 1911.
It was nationalized in 1918 during the height of Ashio copper mine. After World War two, the number of users declined because of the closing Ashio copper mine and the growing of availability of automobile. However, the result of focusing on tourism business, Watarase Valley Railway has been ranked at the top of local railway lines that would like to ride once -in-a-lifetime nowadays.
The highlights of this railway are that people can visit a lot of magnificent viewing spots by trolley train. The lunch box and original goods of the railway are popular for tourists as well. It is busy with tourists especially during the best seasons such as spring and autumn to see cherry blossom, rape blossom and autumn leaves.
One of the famous tourist spots is “Hanetsuki bridge” near Oomama station. It takes about 10 minutes from the station by walk. The view of Takatsudo gorge from this bridge is spectacular. There is “Oka Naozaburo” Soy source brewery where people can observe the brewery and have meals at the restaurant. The popular menu of this restaurant is wheat noodle based on rich soy flavored soup and soy source taste ice cream. It takes about 5 minutes’ walk from near Oomama station. At Mizunuma station, there is a hot spring inside of the station. As Goudo station, an old train is used as a restaurant.
The train fee is different depends on the distance. For instance, the fee is 1110 yen(one-way) from Kiryu station to Mafuji station. One-day pass is 1850 yen / adult. If you ride on trolley train, additional fee is 510 yen (people need an advanced reservation.). Please check the time schedule of trolley train in advance. (during some seasons, it doesn’t operate.)
Take JR Ryomo line bounds for Koyama or Isesaki and get off at Maebashi station. It takes about 15 minutes. The ticket fee is 200 yen(one-way).
2. Getting to Maebashi station from Takasaki station
Direction to Takasaki station from Maebashi station, take JR Ryomo line bounds for Koyama or Isesaki and get off at Takasaki station. It takes about 15 minutes. The ticket fee is 200 yen(one-way).
Getting to Takasaki Station from Tokyo
3. Other Area List
Ikaho Onsen, Shibukawa and Haruna
Shima Onsen – Nakanojo
Oze, Numata and Kawaba
Maebashi, Mt. akagi and Kiryu