Guide to Gunma

Gunma Prefecture

Gunma Prefecture is a part of the Kanto Region and known for being one of the prettiest rural locations in Japan. Much of the prefecture is covered in inviting hot springs as well as majestic mountains, leading the region to be considered a kind of wellness retreat for those who want to get out of large cities and recharge.


The capital of Gunma is Maebashi, although the real draw here is exploring the countryside and enjoying the wide-open spaces such as parks and gardens.

If you like to go hiking, then Gunma won’t disappoint you, and its abundance of onsens (traditional Japanese bathing facilities) makes the perfect place for a long soak after a hard day.


Getting to Gunma:


The best way to get to Gunma is to take a train, and there are variety of options available.
If you are traveling from Tokyo, then you can take the Joetsu Shinkansen (high-speed railway) which stops in Gunma before continuing to Niigata.
If you are traveling from Nagano, then you can take the Nagano Shinkansen to Takasaki. The Shonan-Shinjuku Line also runs to Takasaki in Gunma and is a cheaper way of getting to the region if you don’t want to take the Shinkansen service.

If you would like to explore the eastern section of the prefecture, then this is a little more complicated, and you will need to travel to the capital of Maebashi first before changing on to the Ryoumo Line which connects to Kiryu.
From Tokyo, you can also take the Tobu Rail Service to East Gunma from Asakusa Station, using the Ryoumo Line.
This service costs ¥2,400 and will take you to Ota or Shin-Kiryu. There is also a service that costs the same price and travels to Isesaki using the Isesaki Line.

-By car

Public transport options around Gunma can be limited, so it is no surprise that this prefecture has the highest rate of car ownership in Japan.
As a result, you will find plenty of car rental services here, and if you want to explore much of the prefecture including outlying areas, then renting a car and driving yourself would be the best option.

Tourist Attractions:

Oze National Park

Oze National Park is one of the best national parks in Japan and is a great place to come if you are interested in hiking. The part is covered in marshlands, and one of the highlights is the Ozenuma Pond.
You can, in theory, visit the park on a day trip from Tokyo although if you want to stay a little longer, then there are a variety of huts here that you can rent overnight.

Kusatsu Onsen

Kusatsu Onsen is one of the best-loved hot springs resorts across Japan, thanks to its abundance of spring water that is said to have some medicinal properties.
As well as its warm and soothing waters, Kusatsu is located in the mountains and sits at around 1,200 meters above sea level making it a great place to go skiing in the colder months.


Tomioka is a city in the southwest of the Prefecture which is famous for its silk factory built in 1872. The Silk Mill here revolutionized the textile industry in Japan and had since been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You can visit the mill and find out how silk has been produced here for centuries and treat you to some silk clothing as a souvenir of a trip to Tomioka.

Ikaho Onsen

Ikaho is another of the more famous hot spring resorts in Gunma and is notable for its brown waters which have a heavy iron content. Bathing in the onsen is said to be beneficial for a range of health conditions, or you can also spend time exploring the wider town of Ikaho on a trip here.
This town is known for its stone steps that cut through the streets and stretch for 300 meters, and you can also stay in traditional Japanese guesthouses here called ryokan.

Shopping and Duty Free:

Den en Plaza Kawaba

Den en Plaza Kawaba is known as a ‘roadside station’ and is the place to visit for buying an array of local souvenirs. Here you will find standard products from the prefecture such as ceramics and foodstuffs, and there is also an onsite brewery and a bakery.
The roadside station is also known for its delicious hand-made soba noodles made by using local buckwheat.

Tsukiyono Vidro Park

This park is Gunma is actually a glass factory and has a reputation across Japan for its high-quality craftsmanship. This factory has tours where you can watch and learn how the glass is made, and you can join the lesson of glassblowing for making your hand-made glass.

Usaburo Kokeshi

Gunma prefecture is one of the largest producers of Sosaku Kokeshi Dolls, and if you want to learn how these are made, then you can visit the Usaburo Kokeshi craft center. Here you can learn about the history of the dolls as well as paint your own as a souvenir.

Recommended times to visit:

Most people travel to Gunma to enjoy the hiking opportunities, and the best period to visit is from September to November when the weather is usually a little cooler, and you can see the beautiful autumn leaves in all their glory.
In the winter months, it snows very heavily so, although this area is known for its ski resorts, some areas would be closed due to heavy snowfall.
If you want to hike in Oze National Park, then the spring and summer months see the blooming of skunk cabbage and lilies, and as many such people try to visit around this time.  


Survey[Survey] Traveling to Japan