Shima Hot spring is in Nakanojyo town, located at the northwest of Gunma prefecture. It remains an old atmosphere with rich nature. The history of this hot spring is quite old. It is famous as “a hot spring having powerful effects for forty thousand of different illnesses” since the Kamakura period.
The spring quality is soft and smooth to your skin and known as “the hot spring having synergetic effect after taking Kusatsu hot spring ”. There are several nature spots in Shina Hot spring area such as Lake Shima where people can enjoy paddling a canoe and Shima Ooketsu or potholes that created naturally.
The Japanese style inn “Sekizenkan” in Shima hot spring area became a model of a bath house of Ghibli movie “Spirit Away “. Please enjoy strolling around the historical hot spring town while feeling retro and nostalgic atmosphere.
1. Spot ranking in Shima Onsen – Nakanojo area
5th. Kashiwaya Café
Kashiwaya café is in Shima hot spring. The interior and exterior of the building looks nostalgic which was renovated from the old building used during the early Showa era. The popular menu of this café is a cappuccino with hot spring mark. They serve some rare drink menu such as tea of Ron’ne feruto in Germany which is adopted by luxury hotels in the world and craft beer of this area called Ale beer of Shima.
As for food, Kashiwaya curry that people can taste two different type of curry and Italian ramen are popular as well as handmade sweets and other lunch menu. People can buy Japanese designed general goods as souvenir at this café.
As it has high celling, the first floor is used for shopping space and a café space, also tables are set on the second floor and outside. The 2nd floor café space is nice and cozy with the warm sunlight.By the beautiful scenery of Shima as if looks like a picture by the contrast of light form the window and dimly-lit room and the sounds of Shima river, People’s mind feel comfort and relax.
The opening hour is from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (Last order 16:30 pm) and open seven days a week. (It may temporary closing.) No smoking. The price of main menu is cappuccino with Hot spring mark 600 yen, Kashiwaya curry 1000yen, Italian ramen 1000 yen and so on.
Directions to this café, take a bus (Kantokotsu) bounds for Shima Onsen and get off Shimakyoku mae. It takes about half an hour. The ticket fee is 930 yen.
4th. Shima no Ooketsu
Shima Ooketsu or potholes was a round shaped hole created by river stream swirls over and over with sand and stone on the same spot and eroded bottom of the river. It is called pothole. Shima Ookestu potholes are in Nakanojyo town and designated as prefectural natural monument.
These potholes are about 130 meters downstream from Akishika bridge of Shima Akishima and there are eight potholes in various sizes. Its diameter is from 23 centimeters to 1.5 meters, its depth is from 35 centimeter to 1.5 meters, bigger sized potholes are from 45 centimeters to 2.9 meters in diameter, 40 centimeters to 1.5 meters in depth. It is considered that some potholes are connected under the bottom of the river.
Many people visit to here to see its water color and art of nature. The outstanding natural river sculpture which has been created over tens of thousands of years attracts every visitor.
It is open 24 hours with no admission fee.
Directions to Shima Ooetsu, take a bus (Kantokotsu) bounds for Shima Onsen at Nakanojyo station and get off at Shima Ooketsu mae bus stop. It takes about 26 minutes. The ticket fee is 860 yen(one-way). It is in front of the bus stop.
3rd. Shima Onsen
Shima Hot spring is located at the northern Agazuma Gun Nakanojyo town in the northwest of Gunma prefecture. It is in Jyoetsu Kogen National Park located 700 meters (2296 feet) above the sea level and surrounded by Shima river and mountains. Shima hot spring is a general name of the hot spring in this area which consists of four small hot springs such as Onsenkou, Yamakou, Arayu and Hinatami. It is an old hot spring.
It is said that was found by Sadamitsu Usui who was one of the main retainers of Yorimitsu Minamoto or Tamuramaro Sakanoue when he was going to do the battle in Ouu (current Thoku region). It is a representative hot spring in Gunma prefecture as well as Ikaho and Kusatsu hot springs. It is famous as “a hot spring having powerful effects for forty thousand of different illnesses” since the Kamakura period.
It was designated as the first National hot spring health resort by the Ministry of the environment in 1954. Among 42 sources of hot spring, 32 of them are artesian hot spring and it has been gushing out from underground. The spring quality is soft and smooth to your skin and known as “the hot spring having synergetic effect after taking Kusatsu hot spring”.
It is drinkable so that some drinking spots are set in the town and Japanese style inns. The traditional wooden Japanese style inn and modern hotels are in the town making a good harmony of old and new. There are free hot spring spots, “Kawarano yu” (the opening hours is 9:00 and to 3:00 pm.
Open seven days a week.) and “Omusou no yu “(the opening hours is 9:00 and to 3:00 pm. Open seven days a week.). Public common hot spring spot “Shiman Seiryu no yu” (the opening hours is 10:00 and to 9:00 pm. It is close on the 4th of Wednesday. The admission fee is 500 yen/adult, 300 yen/child) in the town and people enjoy a day trip. If people would like to enjoy local foods, Yaki manjyu is recommended.
It is a skewered steamed ban and put a salty-sweet miso source and grilled on charcoal fire. It is sold at Yakimanjyu Mura and 300 yen for one. One of the attractive points of Shima hot spring is nostalgic atmosphere of the town. Please enjoy stropping around the town as well as hot spring. The opening hours is different depends on the shops and facilities.
Directions to Shima hot spring, take a bus (Kanto koutu) bounds for Shima Onsen at Nakanojyo station and get off at the final stop, Shima Onsen. It takes about 40 minutes. The ticket fee is 930 yen(one-way).
2nd. Sekizenkan Ryokan
Sekizenkan is a traditional Japanese style inn in Shima hot spring in Gunma prefecture. It is a long-established inn built in 1694 and had been loved by many great writers. Lodge of Sekizenkan is designated as national cultural asset, main building is prefectural important cultural asset, and new buildings and corridors are town important cultural asset. It is said that Sekizenkan was used as an image model of movie “Sprit Away”. People may recognize the building and a red bridge as the bath house called Yuya in the movie.
When you visit Shima Hot spring, this is one of the must-see spots. The new building (Maeshin)consists of three floors built in 1930. The common bath house (Ganroku no yu) is on the first floor made of concrete and decorated with Taisho Romanesque style arch shaped windows.
The lodge is traditional Japanese architecture adopting Momoyama style. It consists of two floors and made of wood. The corridor is a truss-type bridge having a roof (Kiritsuma style) and panels which connects between two new buildings. (Maeshin and Koushin)
The guest room having an alcove and an attached table for studying which used the highest skill of that time and Imperial family members and Prime ministers were invited to there.
Sekizenkan has a day plan that people can use two bath houses, “Genruku no yu” and “Iwaburo (mixed bathing)”. People can enjoy soaking in hot spring containing several effects for your body as well as seeing a skillful old architecture. The opening hours is 11:00 am to 5:00 pm (Last admission is 4:00 pm).
The admission fee is 1200 yen/adult, 800 yen/child (from three years old to eleven years old). It is free admission for 2 years old and under. Rental bath towel is 500yen, face towel is 350 yen.
Directions to Sekizenkan, take a bus (Kantokotsu) bounds for Shima Onsen at Nakanojyo station and get off at the final bus stop Shima Onsen. It takes about 2 minutes by walk from the bus stop to Sekizenkan. It takes about 40 minutes by bus. The ticket fee is 930 yen(one-way).
1st. Lake Shimako
Lake Shima was artificial lake located in the middle between Nakajyo station and Shima Hot spring. Its circumference is about 5 kilometers and it is used as a water storage pond (Nakanojyo dam) for prefectural Nakanojyo powerplant. The color of the lake surface changes a couple times in a day depending on the time and reflection of the lights.
The unnatural color of the lake catches people’s eye and it is known and described as Lake Goshiki in Urabandai. As it is surrounded by mountains, people enjoy the wonderful scenery all year around such as greenery fresh leaves in spring and colorful autumn leaves in fall. People can take canoe tour on this lake to feel beautiful nature. Veteran guide will conduct the tour, every visitor such as family having small children and couple can enjoy it.
The opening months is between the end of March and the end of November. The tour fee is 6000 yen/adult (over middle high school student), 5000 yen/child (from 4 years old and over). It takes 2 hours tour. (People can paddle on the lake about 1 hour and 10 minutes.) The schedule may change, please check the website before you visit.
Directions to Lake Shima, take a bus (Kantokotsu) bounds for Shima Onsen at Nakanojyo station and get off at Shiman ko bus stop. It takes about 15 minutes. The ticket t fee is 610 yen.
2. Getting to Nakanojo station from Takasaki station
Directions to Nakanojyo station from Takasaki station, take JR Agazuma line bounds for Naganohara Kusatsukou or Manza/Shikasawa kou at Takasaki station and get off at Nakanojyo station.
It takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes. It is also possible to take JR Ryomo line bounds for Koyama at Takasaki station and transfer to JR Agazuma line bounds for Manza/Shikasawakou at Shin-Maebashi station and get off at Nakanojyo station. It takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes. The ticket fee is 760 yen for both ways.
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