Gunma, one of Japan’s central prefectures, can be reached quickly from multiple cities in Japan; including Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo, in just a few hours by car. If traveling from Tokyo, the Kan-etsu freeway links from the capital to the prefecture directly in just under two hours.
One of the highlights of a trip to Gunma is a visit to the multiple Onsen towns. Some of Gunma’s best known hot spring towns include Kusatsu Onsen, Minakami Onsen, Isobe Onsen and Ikaho Onsen. Each town has its own distinct onsen feature, but Manza, Kusatsu and Minakami are the most popular visits for tourists.
En route to one of the northern Onsen towns, a trip along the highway will give visitors plenty of options as they travel through central Japan; with the city of Takasaki the first option. After that, a visit into Shibukawa and Ikaho is highly recommended.
As you head into Ikaho area, Ikaho Green Farm will be the first port of call. Fun for both adults and visitors, and famous for it’s Moumou Ice Cream; the farm has a vast array of animals and restaurants to enjoy. A trip along the highway will give visitors plenty of options as they travel through central Japan; with the city of Takasaki the first option. After that, a visit into Shibukawa and Ikaho is highly recommended. A trip to Ikaho would not be complete without a stop off at Mizusawaji temple (ring the bell if you can!) and then stop off at Mizusawaji’s Udon Street for a bite to eat afterwards. The Udon Street is just a minute or two away from the temple.
After that, enjoy the opportunity to experience some hot springs in your choice of town for your stay. With some of Japan’s most beautiful ryokan’s and excellent hot springs, no trip to this part of the country is complete without enjoying the real overnight ryokan experience.
If you decide to visit Takasaki, a visit to the Haruna Shrine is highly recommended. Known in Japan for being a “power temple”, Haruna-jinja has some of the most stunning nature and is most popular in the Autumn months. Word of advice, parking is short around this temple. Prepare and go there early if possible, otherwise face a lengthy hour wait in the mountains.
Another sight to look out for is to take a trip to one of Gunma’s many ropeways, to really enjoy the views over the mountains.