Gunma sits at the center of Japan, almost entirely surrounded by mountains and volcanoes that create the perfect environment for hot springs, skiing and other outdoor adventures all season round. A major draw is Kusatsu Onsen, one of Japan’s most famous hot spring resorts. The mountain slopes of Gunma boast breathtaking views that must be seen to be believed, and there are over 20 ski resorts with slopes ranging from beginner to expert. In the warmer months, outdoor adventurers flock to Gunma's mountains, lakes and rivers for rafting, canyoning, canoeing and hiking in areas such as Oze and Lake Shima.
Gunma Prefecture is accessible via bullet train from Tokyo Station or Ueno Station in Tokyo. Alternatively, there are cheaper local train lines that connect you to the area.
From Tokyo, catch the Joetsu Shinkansen to Takasaki Station in Gunma, which will take around 50 minutes. From Takasaki Station, you can take local train lines or buses to your desired location. For local destinations, take the Takasaki Line heading for Maebashi. This local train ride will take over 90 minutes depending on your final stop.
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Spring sees Gunma sprinkled in shades of red and white thanks to the hundreds of thousands of ume (Japanese plum) trees that cover the area. They are closely followed by the cherry blossoms, with festivals celebrating both.
Gunma is a festival hub and outdoor sport haven during the warm summer months. Celebrations featuring fireworks, flowers and cultural activities like the Numata Festival and Yagi Bushi attract countless visitors.
Watch the landscape light up with fiery shades of red, gold and yellow as the autumn leaves around Kusatsu, Mt. Akagi and Takatsudokyo Gorge transform during fall. Festivals celebrating roses, sunflowers and cosmos flowers add even more color, as do events like the Fox Wedding in Minowa and Isezaki Fireworks.
In winter, head for the numerous ski resorts of Gunma and be dazzled by the seasonal illuminations lighting up the fresh, powdery snow, including Oigami Onsen's Yuki Hotaru display, featuring tiny snow huts filled with lanterns to create an ethereal glow.