Region
Kanto
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Maebashi
Population
2,024,820

Gunma

All about that bath

Within toe-dipping distance of Tokyo, Gunma's onsen haven is the perfect bathing escape.

Less than two hours from the dazzling neon of Tokyo, the scenic mountains of Gunma Prefecture are practically overflowing with hot springs.

Manza Onsen

Photo by: eikofroggy Manza Onsen is one of many in the mountains of Gunma. This is Manza Onsen Hotel’s Gokuraku no Yu.

There’s Takaragawa onsen with its beer vending machines and riverside open-air baths which allow mixed-gender bathingKusatsu onsen spurts out around 4,000 liters of sulphuric spring water every minute. Sainokawara onsen has an enormous outdoor bath with space for 99 other people and Hoshi Chojukan is a remote inn deep in the mountains with secluded outdoor baths that you can have all to yourself.

Kusatsu onsen in Gunma, Japan

Water troughs in Kusatsu distribute hot spring water to the surrounding public baths.

Water, water everywhere

The best introduction to Gunma’s onsen is at Kusatsu which boasts the highest amount of hot spring water in the country. In the town center, the yubatake (hot water field) uses wooden troughs to cool down and distribute the hot water to the surrounding public baths and inns.

You can also witness the yumomi where local women stir the hot spring waters with large wooden paddles while dancing and singing traditional songs.

Tattoo-friendly onsen in Japan

It’s important to be aware that some hot spring baths do not allow people with tattoos to enter. If this is strictly the case, there should be a sign on display in English that clarifies the establishment’s particular policy.

Thankfully, the stigma against tattoos is slowly lifting and the government is actively discouraging onsen owners from discriminating against people with body art in the run up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Mount Tanigawadake in Gunma, Japan

Hike around the epic Mount Tanigawadake region.

Hiking, skiing, and more

Gunma’s diverse landscape means you don’t have to spend all your time bathing. In Minakami, you can take a break from luxuriating and do some extreme sports instead. The area is packed with opportunities for outdoor activities from rafting to bungee jumping in the summer to skiing and snowboarding in the winter. Mount Tanigawadake has some great hiking from July to November and transforms into a fun ski resort in the winter.

It’s a popular place for seasonal workers from overseas so many companies offer services in English, too.

The bullet train runs from Tokyo to Takasaki, the gateway to Gunma prefecture. On your way, pick up a traditional daruma doll, of which Takasaki is a leading producer. The dolls are used for making a wish by coloring in the left eye, and then coloring in the right eye once the wish has come true.

Explore all Gunma has to offer by checking out the locations below!

Trivia

Tattoo-friendly onsen in Japan

More and more hot springs in Japan are becoming accepting of tattoos. Here's a list of 30 tattoo-friendly onsen in Japan so you don't have to worry about covering that ink of your ex-lover's name.

More

Places to visit

Okkirikomi from Gunma, Japan.

5 Famous Foods You’ll Find in Gunma

The kings of sashimi and udon.

Kusatsu hot spring in Japan

Kusatsu Onsen

Bathe like royalty and experience the local longtime tradition of yumomi.


The volcanic lake at Mount Kusatsu-Shirane.

Manza Onsen

Hiking in summer; skiing in winter; but the milky, acidic onsen is good year round.

Ikaho

An elusively charming onsen town.


nakanojo art festival

Nakanojo Biennale

Mountains mixed with artwork — where and how you’d least expect it.

Mt.Shibutsu, Oze

Mount Shibutsu

Scenic from start to finish.


Canyoning and Waterfall Sliding in Gunma

The mountains of Minakami are an adventure-lovers mecca. What better way to explore them than from the water!

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