Minakami is located in the northernmost area of Gunma Prefecture and is a town that spreads out in the source basin area of Tone river the largest river in Japan. It is blessed with abundant nature such as mountains, rivers and valleys, and various activities such as skiing and rafting are popular
Minakami is a lushly green area where forests make up around 90% of the total area. There are hundreds of mountains in Japan, such as Mount Tanigawa and Mount Hotaka.
In addition, there are 18 hot springs such as Minakami Onsen, Sarugakyo Onsen, and Kamimoku Onsen. The collective name for these are the Minakami 18 Hot Springs.
Weather and Sightseeing Season in Minakami
Minakami is very cold, with average winter temperatures around freezing and the snowfall is deep. Due to this, the best season for sightseeing is the spring to autumn seasons.
In contrast, if what you mainly want to focus on is activities, it is possible to do these throughout the year. You can enjoy activities like mountain climbing and rafting from the spring to autumn, and snow related activities and hot springs at the ski resorts in winter. However, there is a lot of rain during the rainy season from June to July and the typhoon season from September, so please bear that in mind.
Things to See and Do in Minakami
Minakami has not only spots that are rich in nature, but also a variety of spots such as traditional houses, ruins and history museums. Here, we will introduce some spots and activities that we recommend.
Powerful Activities that can be Experienced in Minakami such as Canyoning and Rafting
At Minakami, you can experience various activities like canyoning, rafting, and canoeing that make use of nature like valleys and lakes.
Among these activities, canyoning is extremely popular. Canyoning is an activity where you go down the valley with only your body, using the flow of the river. During the course, you can experience a thrill by sliding down a waterfall or jumping into a plunge pool.
Snow Activity Experiences and More at White Valley Ski Resort
There are nine ski resorts in Minakami, each with their own characteristics. For example, the appeal of the White Valley Ski Resort is its dynamic course that utilizes the natural terrain.
Moreover, at the Minakami Kogen Ski Resort, you can take part in various activities not only in the winter season but also in the green season. Please try out golf, zip-line, tennis and more!
Sightseeing Spots with Natural Scenery such as Lakes, Dams and Mountains
Minakami has lots of spots where beautiful natural scenery sprawls out. For example, at Mount Tanigawa, you can go up to Tenjindaira by transferring between the ropeway and the lift from the pass. From the Tenjindaira observatory, you can see the magnificent mountain scenery of the surrounding area including the summit of Mount Tanigawa. Incidentally, it is possible hike to the top of Mt. Tanigawa along the mountain ridge.
Minakami also has several lakes with dams, and among these lakes we would like you to visit Naramata Dam's man-made lake, Naramata Lake. The scenery is beautiful, with the lush greenery surrounding the mountains reflected on the lake. It is also a famous spot for autumn colours, you can see a picturesque view of mountains covered with red and yellow and the lake in fall seasons.
Restaurants and Food In Minakami
Minakami is famous for its specialty products such as their brand rice Mina Tsukiyo and the yellow apple named Gunma Meigetsu. They are grown with good quality water and a climate with widely variable temperatures.
There is also a local dish called Minakami Dam Curry due to the several dams of various types around the town. It is characterized by rice served as if it is the dam and curry roux is served as if it is the dam lake.
Additionally, there are many restaurants around the area, but more so around the Minakami Onsen and JR Minakami Station
Hotels and Japanese Inns in Minakami
In Minakami, there are many hotels and Ryokan (Japanese inns) with hot spring facilities in each hot spring area. In addition, pensions and guest houses are located throughout each area.
The hot springs Minakami Onsen and Sarugakyo Onsen have a particularly abundant number of accommodation facilities, and there are reasonably priced ones at around 5,000 yen. (Information accurate as of September 2019)
How to Get to Minakami from Tokyo
If you are heading for Minakami from the Tokyo area, aim for JR Jomo Kogen Station where Bullet Train stop. It takes around an hour from JR Ueno Station on the Joetsu Shinkansen.
In addition, it is best to use a route bus as each sightseeing spot is quite far from JR Jomo Kogen Station.
- Spot name: Minakami (JR Jomo Kogen Station)
- Street address: 96 Kanozawa, Minakami-machi, Tone-gun, Gunma 379-1611
- Access: Ueno Station → [Joetsu Shinkansen] about 1 hour → Jomo Kogen Station
- Wi-Fi: Available（Minakami Town Wi-Fi）
- Language: English, Chinese
- Credit cards: VISA, MasterCard, JCB, AMERICAN EXPRESS, Diners Club International