At Yuru-chara(R) Grand Prix 2014, Gunma-chan given the 1st place prize sings and dances introducing Gunma in the PR movie Gunma-chan dance ♪ Everyone’s Gunma.
Saying that Gunma became famous overnight because of Gunma-chan wouldn’t be an exaggeration. You will want to visit Gunma after seeing this local mascott’s cute dance, introducing Gunma’s best places to visit!
What kind of place is Gunma?
Gunma, occupies Kanto’s north-western portion, and resides on the northern part of the main island. The prefecture’s office is in Maebashi. Gunma is known not only for it’s plentiful nature with mountains and rivers, but also for many famous hot springs. In addition, Gunma is known as the place of ”overbearing wives”, which originates from Gunma’s women giving support to it’s silk industry, boosting economy. Because of this, there are many places like Tomioka silk mill, registered as a World Heritage Site in 2014, and Kiryu textile hall, which was recognized as Japan heritage in 2015.
Access to the center of Gunma
Directions from Tokyo: Approximately 1 hour from Kan-Etsu Expressway, Nerima IC, Takasaki IC, Maebashi IC.
Approximately 1 hour 30 minutes from Tokyo Gaikan Expressway, Tohoku Expressway, Kita-Kanto Expressway, Kawaguchi JCT, Iwafune JCT, Takasaki JCT, Takasaki IC, Maebashi IC.
Approximately 50 minutes from Joetsu Shinkansen Tokyo-Takasaki.
3 must-see places in Gunma
Starting with Kusatsu hot spring, Gunma has many hot springs such as Ikaho hot spring, Minakami hot spring, Shima hot spring, Manza hot spring and contless others. There are more than 200 hot spring resorts and in over 90 of them you can stay overnight. No doubt, you will find the perfect hot spring resort among the numerous hot springs!
Tomioka silk mill and the silk industry heritages
In 2014 it became the first modern industrial world heritage in Japan. Tomioka silk mill mass produced high quality silk thread and brought developenet to the silk industry and thus is a must visit in Gunma.
The Megane bridge is in the western part of the prefecture. It is the largest brick bridge in Japan with 4 archs, made between 1951-1963, which was used during the time of Apt-type railway. Now its a famous sightseeing spot for tourists to cross by foot.
3 must eat foods in Gunma
The area notorious for Mizusawa udon is Shibukawa. Its chracteristic is the simple selection of ingredients: flour, water and salt. It’s smooth texture will get you hooked!
Unlike the typical Katsudon, which is deep fried pork combined with eggs on the rice, Gunma’s Katsudon pork is dipped in a special sauce and placed on top of rice. Once tasted, you will be obsessed with this dish!
Yakimanju is a popular snack from Gunma that has an active production of wheat. The plain bun is dipped in a sweet’n spicy miso sauce then grilled on bamboo stick. It has become a regional dish of Gunma.
3 must buy souvenirs in Gunma
Gateau Festa Harada’s rusk
This sweet is often seen in department stores food corner events and actually originates from Gunma. It is the number 1 pastry selected as a souvenir from Gunma and the number 1 pastry appreciated for recieving! There’s no going wrong with this!
It’s the local speciality of Kiryu region. These flat velvet-like noodles are wider than the typical flat noodles and can be eaten both cold and warm.
Tsutsuji style Shimonita spring onion rice cracker
A snack using Gunma’s famous spring onion. It matches well with tea or alcohol, so it’s mainly a souvenir for adults.
The dialects spoken in Gunma are mostly Gunma dialect and Joshu dialect, depending on the area. There is no nasal sound, but a tone of Edo dialects vowels.
Bokkosu…To break (something)
The dialect is not heard much and is a good reason to visit Gunma.There is still a lot more attractions of Gunma that we have’t mentioned in the article.
Why not choose Gunma next time you want to visit a hot spring?
Welcome to Gunma. Good Gunma!
translated by Sami Tapani Karkinen