Tomioka is an area located in the southwestern part of Gunma Prefecture, with a history which flourished in the sericulture and silk industry. Including the Tomioka Silk Mill, which is a designated World Heritage Site and National Treasure, there are several remaining heritage sites related to the silk industry that convey what it was like at that time. There are also various places of interest such as flower spots, art galleries, museums, and safari parks.
There are flat lands on the east side of Tomioka, Mount Myogi with an altitude of 1,104-meter is located in the west, Mount Inafukumi with an altitude of 1,370-meter located in the south, and a hilly region in the north. Furthermore, an urban area is located in the basin of two rivers flowing in the flat lands in the central area.
The average annual temperature in Tomioka is a relatively warm at around 14℃, and it is characterized by a sunny weather being blessed with over 200 sunny days a year. Although it is easy to go sightseeing throughout the year, it is highly recommended to go from spring to summer when the flowery areas are in full bloom. There are attractions in each season; cherry blossoms and peonies in spring, sunflowers in summer, and cosmos and autumn coloured leaves in autumn.
What to See and Do Near Tomioka
Tomioka has an abundant variety of sightseeing spots. Here, we will introduce some recommended spots.
Historic Spots such as Tomioka Silk Mill and Ancient Home of the Moteki Family
Tomioka is packed with historical sightseeing spots such as the Tomioka Silk Mill, the world's largest silk mill of its time which was established in 1872, and the former Moteki family residence, the oldest Japanese residence, which was built in 1527.
Among these, the Tomioka Silk Mill is a must-see. There are lots of facilities like the Cocoon Warehouse and Brunat House that have mostly retained their original appearance. Incidentally, these buildings are characterized by a wooden-brick architectural style that integrates both Japanese and Western architectural techniques. You are surely to be overwhelmed by the size of these buildings, such as the 140 metre long spinning mill and the automatic spinning machines that are lined up
Gorgeous and Magnificent Shrines in Tomioka such as Myogi Shrine
In Tomioka, there are two shrines that are designated as important cultural properties of the country that have very beautiful architectural style and decorations. First, Myogi Shrine is full of things to see, including the vivid red gate with a height of 12 metres. Particularly, the main shrine is beautiful with a gorgeous and magnificent appearance, with jet black columns and walls engraved with gold leaf and colourful sculptures.
In contrast, Nukisaki Shrine is characterized by the red coloured main hall and worship hall which has colourful decorations in green, blue and yellow. You will surely be amazed by the gorgeous building.
Interact with nature and animals in Gunma Safari Park and “Mount Myogi Panorama Park”
Tomioka is abundant with in sightseeing spots that utilize the rich natural environment such as mountains and lakes. For example, Gunma Safari Park is a natural zoo that spreads across a vast section of hilly area. In the park, they have around 100 species of animals such as white tigers and Sumatran elephants. Tourists can ride in their car and while looking around the park. There are also spots like the animal interaction corner and an amusement park.
Mount Myogi Panorama Park is a scenic spot that overlooks the famous mountain Mount Myogi with rough rocks on the western side and the mountains including Mount Akagi on the eastern side. Additionally, the view of cosmos flowers entwining with the magnificent mountains, like the cosmos field in April and the cosmos field and autumn colours in November, is beautiful.
Tomioka Food and Restaurants
In Tomioka, you can enjoy famous gourmet dishes like Okkirikomi noodle, Gunma's local dish, that consists of a wide range of flat noodles boiled with plenty of vegetables, and “Horumon-age”- skewered Chikuwa (fish paste) fried in breadcrumbs.
There are lots of restaurants in the urban area around JR Joshu-Tomioka Station.
Hotels and Japanese Inns in Tomioka
There are not many accommodation facilities in Tomioka City, but there are a variety of accommodation such as hotels, resort hotels, hostels, and guest houses.
There is reasonable accommodation ranging from about 5,000 - 10,000 yen including Hotel Amuse Tomioka, which is quite close to the Tomioka Silk Mill, Minshuku Yukifumi, and Farmer's Minshuku Hinata. (Information accurate as of September 2019)
How to Get to Tomioka
If you wish to go sightseeing in Tomioka, head for JR Joshu-Tomioka Station as the starting point.
From JR Takasaki Station, where the Bullet Train stops, take the Joshin Dentetsu Railway to JR Joshu-Tomioka Station, which takes around 40 minutes.
Since each sightseeing spot is far from the station, it is best to use a local bus to get around. However, route buses are closed on Sundays and New Years days, and there are not so many buses so be aware of the timetable.
- Spot name: Tomioka (JR Joshu-Tomioka Station)
- Street address: 1599-3 Tomioka, Tomioka City, Gunma 370-2316
- Access: Takasaki Station → [Joshin Dentetsu Railway] about 40 minutes → Joshu Tomioka Station
- Wi-Fi: Available（Tomioka Free Wi-Fi）
- Language: English, Chinese, Korean, French
- Credit cards: VISA, MasterCard, JCB, AMERICAN EXPRESS, Diners Club International