Gunma: Kusatsu/Minakami

Gunma: Kusatsu/Minakami

In addition to being blessed with natural beauty, Gunma Prefecture is a healing destination for travelers who enjoy the calming effects of the many hot springs.
Visit Minakami, and take part in activities in the great outdoors such as rafting and paragliding, or visit Numata, the “Kingdom of Fruit,” one of the prominent fruit-producing regions in Japan with fruit picking for every season — including cherries, blueberries, grapes and apples. Gunma is also home to numerous hot springs such as Kusatsu Onsen and Manza Onsen, famous throughout Japan, making this a truly wonderful place to visit to soak your tired bones after a full day of outdoor fun.
Travel from Tokyo is convenient when you can ride the Shinkansen to Takasaki, the gateway to Gunma, in approximately 55 minutes.

Location of Gunma

Recommended Sights

Yubatake/Yumomi
The spring's source: YubatakeThe spring's source: Yubatake

Kusatsu Onsen boasts the highest output volume of natural spring water in Japan. To see what this means for yourself, head over to the hot water field of Yubatake, the symbol of Kusatsu located in the center of this hot spring town. Here hot spring water gushes forth into the open air, is cooled to bathing temperature and transported, undiluted, to nearby inns. An amazing 4000 liters of spring water emerge every minute, giving rise to the dense white smoke and sulfuric smell that floats around the town. Catch a whiff and you'll know you've truly arrived in Kusatsu. The traditional Yumomi method of cooling the spring water to bathing temperature without diluting its purity is also a sight to see. Hot spring workers stir the water with large paddles while singing local Kusatsu folk songs. Visitors can watch a performance and the more adventurous can even participate themselves.
(25 minutes by bus from Naganohara Kusatsu-guchi Station to the Kusatsu stop, then 5 minutes on foot.)

Hot Spring Bathing
A relaxing hot spring experience at the foot bathThe widely recognized high quality spring water of Kusatsu Onsen

Producing water highly valued for its superior quality, Kusatsu Onsen is one of Japan's three most famous hot springs. With waters said to cure anything but a broken heart, visitors will definitely want to take a dip. Clear and bracing air combined with a luxurious soak in a hot spring will bring relaxation to the mind and body. Those wishing for a fully-clothed taste of the hot spring experience will enjoy a visit to the Yukemuri-tei onsen at the nearby all-cypress wooden pavilion. Here you can bathe your hands and feet in pure spring water drawn from the Yubatake hot water field. Just a few minutes in this highly acidic water should have your body feeling warm and refreshed from the therapeutic effects of the hot spring.
(25 minutes by bus from Naganohara Kusatsu-guchi Station to the Kusatsu stop, then 5 minutes on foot.)

Minakami
An Eden of outdoor sports: MinakamiAn Eden of outdoor sports: Minakami

Nestled within the Tanigawa mountain range, this land of hot springs offers more than just bathing. With a scenic background of beautiful mountain valleys, Minakami has been visited frequently by prominent figures throughout history. But it's also a perfect place for the adventurer to truly experience the splendor of these surroundings. Take a thrilling river rafting trip down the Tonegawa, Kanto area's fastest river, or spend a more leisurely day canoeing on Lake Okutone or Naramata. You can even soar like an eagle and get a birds-eye view of the rolling landscape by paragliding above it all. After a day full of outdoor excitement you'll want to retire to the hot springs for a long refreshing soak.
(5 minutes on foot from Minakami Station.)

Lots of delicious fruit!
Freshly picked fruit!Freshly picked fruit!

With 10 different types of fruit ripe in the orchard, you can pick all you want! And it always just tastes better when you pick it yourself. You can have a barbecue in the park with your freshly picked fruit to round out a delicious meal.
(Ride the local bus for 12 minutes from JR Jomo Kogen Station to Imajuku Station. A 15-minute walk from Imajuku Station.)

Local cuisine

Yakimanju
YakimanjuYakimanju

Yakimanju is a local food of Gunma Prefecture, made by putting a steamed manju (stuffed bun) on a bamboo skewer, basting it with a thick miso sauce sweetened with brown sugar or malt syrup, and roasting it until it just starts to char. It is a favorite for a light meal.

Mizusawa Udon
Mizusawa UdonMizusawa Udon

Mizusawa udon is one of the three great udon varieties of Japan and has a history stretching back more than four centuries. Made from wheat flour, salt and only Mizusawa water, Mizusawa udon has no additives. Two characteristics that make it so prized are the smooth way it goes down and the body the noodles have.

Ota Yakisoba

Ota yakisoba is a local specialty in the city of Ota, an easy and delicious dish that is loved by many people in Ota and elsewhere. The many yakisoba shops around Ota offer a great deal of variety. From traditional preparation methods to novel modern flavors, each of these shops has something different to enjoy.

Takasaki Pasta

Gunma prides itself on having the largest pasta consumption in Japan, giving rise to the nickname of "the Pasta Town" for Takasaki. Many pasta shops line the streets of the city, providing a wide range of flavors.

Gunma: Kusatsu/Minakami at a Glance
Gunma: Kusatsu/Minakami - Location

Travel from Tokyo is convenient when you can ride the Shinkansen to Takasaki, the gateway to Gunma, in approximately 55 minutes.

Gunma: Kusatsu/Minakami - Access
  • Days needed: 1
  • Tokyo to Takasaki on the Nagano Shinkansen “Asama” in about 55 minutes.
  • Tokyo to Takasaki on the "Max Toki" or "Max Tanigawa" on the Joetsu Shinkansen in about 55 minutes.
Ekiben – a bento lunch sold at train stations

Darma Bento

Main sales location: Takasaki Station

Made with Gunma mountain vegetables, the Darma Bento has a natural, homemade taste. Steamed with soy sauce, the rice has a wonderful smell that brings out the appetite. The bento container has the figure of a daruma doll without the pupils painted in, a charm for improving one's luck, and can be used as a piggy bank.

Joshu D-51 Bento

Main sales location: Takasaki Station

The Joshu D-51 bento comes in a package designed like the front of the Class D51, a byword for steam locomotives in Japan. The rice is steamed with bamboo charcoal, and the bento comes with a total of 11 different items, including Haruna barbecue pork.

Suggested Tickets
Surrounding Destinations

Sample Itineraries: We hava created some great itineraries for enjoying Kusatsu and Minakami in Gunma.

As of April 2014.

JR Kanto Area Pass

An unlimited pass that can take you to Gunma: Kusatsu/Minakami

  • Good for unlimited travel for three days with reserved seats on Shinkansen, limited express and other regular trains for 8,300 yen.
  • Since this pass is also valid for travel from Narita and Haneda Airports, this is a great way to travel.

JR Kanto Area Pass