An onsen paradise bringing together famous hot springs starting with Kusatsu; it is also known for the World Heritage site of the Tomioka Silk Mill

Area Characteristics

Gunma Prefecture which is located in the northern Kanto region is rich in onsen. Numbering more than 180, the prefecture is known for its numerous famous hot springs among which are the big 4 onsen of Kusatsu, Ikaho, Minakami and Shima in the north followed by other major springs such as Manza and Sarugakyo. There are natural features such as the Special Natural Monument of Oze and the southern Mt. Akagi whose plains at the bottom are the 2nd-longest in the nation after those of Mt. Fuji, so it is an area that is surrounded in onsen and natural beauty. Japan’s first silk mill in the city of Tomioka was registered in 2014 as a part of the World Heritage site known as the Tomioka Silk Mill and Related Sites. There is good access to Gunma from the capital and the prefecture is popular as an easy tourist destination for a day trip or an overnight stay.

Major Sites

Kusatsu is a popular sightseeing spot as it is one of the Top 3 Onsen in Japan boasting the largest output of natural water in the country. There are also other tourist spots such as a hot spring area where mineral deposits are harvested and a dry riverbed in the west. Along with Shima Onsen, there are also other famous springs such as Manza Onsen which is located at an altitude of 1800m and Oigami Onsen which is near Oze. The onsen can be enjoyed along with winter sports. The Kiryu Textile Memorial Hall which displays 1300-year-old Kiryu textiles deserves to be seen along with a trip to Tomioka Silk Mill. As well, other sites include Gunma Safari Park and Mt. Myogi which has been selected as one of Japan’s Top 100 Views.



Konnyaku (a jelly made from the konjac plant) is a Gunma specialty. At Konnyaku Park, you can enjoy a tour of the factory and a buffet. During the festivals, there are the ever-present yaki-manju buns at the food stalls, and the popular three big udon of Gunma: Mizuzawa Udon, Tatebayashi Udon and Kiryu Udon. As souvenirs, Gateau Rusk and Shimonita Green Onion Crackers are famous.



Accessing Gunma through Takasaki is convenient. The city can be reached from Tokyo Station within about 50 minutes via the Joetsu Shinkansen (Bullet Train). From there, you can take a bus to reach Kusatsu and Ikaho. It is usual to drive around the area by rental car.



Of course, there are accommodations at the big 4 onsen as well as in the onsen areas of Shibukawa, Oigami, Manza and Sarugakyo and the highlands including Kita-Karuizawa. Also, there are many such facilities in the areas around easily accessible Takasaki and Maebashi.