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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. 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.

Water, water everywhere

Kusatsu onsen in Gunma, Japan

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

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. There should be a sign on display that clarifies the establishment’s policy.

Thankfully, the stigma against tattoos is slowly lifting. The government is actively discouraging onsen owners from discriminating against people with body art.

Hiking, skiing, and more

Mount Tanigawadake in Gunma, Japan

Hike around the epic Mount Tanigawadake region. 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 said to grant wishes by coloring in the left eye. Once the wish comes true, the right eye is colored in also.

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


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.


Places to visit

Okkirikomi from Gunma, Japan.

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Kusatsu hot spring in Japan

Kusatsu Onsen

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

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Manza Onsen

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


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