Easy to go even for the first time! The most beautiful places in Gunma Prefecture and the Northern Area

Easy to go even for the first time! The most beautiful places in Gunma Prefecture and the Northern Area
Gunma Prefecture is one of Japan's leading hot spring spots, with excellent access from Tokyo. There are plenty of seasonal activities such as rafting and skiing, so if you want to enjoy nature to the fullest, this is the place that must be on your bucket list.

The northern part of the prefecture is a mountainous region that remains rare nature such as the Tanigawa mountain range and Oze Marshland, Shima River and Tone River, and many famous hot spring areas. Also, there are a lot of reservoirs that provide water supply to Tokyo and Gunma prefectures, and this place became even more popular among not only dam enthusiasts, but travelers as well.

Let us introduce you to the most gorgeous spots in the Northern area with relatively easy access!
Great relaxing places for solo trips as well. Don't wait and check it out!

|1. Shima Lake

Shima Lake

Shima Lake is located at the entrance of Shima hot springs with a circumference of about 5 kilometers and is a reservoir (Nakanojo Dam) of the prefectural Nakanojo power station.

Depending on the amount of light and time of the day, the lake surface changes many times and the contrast between the lake's color and surrounding nature is incredible. Moreover, you can take SUP (Stand Up Paddle) tour and experience adventurous feelings lying down on the board.

Shima Lake is adjacent to the national highway, so it is very easy to get to and find beautiful hotels. Don't miss your chance!

  • Shima Lake2
  • Shima Lake3

|2. Shimagawa Dam

Shimagawa Dam

Located in Joshinetsu Kogen National Park, the innermost part of Shima hot spring, Shimagawa Dam is characterized by a rare masonry-style structure that considers landscape. The design is reminiscent of a Western castle and matches well with the surrounding landscape.
Okushima Lake is created by the dam and has a clear blue color. Here is the best location where you can enjoy various Shima-blue scenery throughout the year with fresh green, autumn leaves, and snow.

There are parks and observatories around the dam, such as "Agatsuma Yasuragi Park", "Inami Seseragi Park", "Tsuga Park" and "Hinatami Park".
You can take a break here after watching all these breathtaking sceneries.

  • Shimagawa Dam)2
  • Shimagawa Dam3

|3. Osen-no-taki Fall

Osen-no-taki Fall

Located in Kusatsu hot spring Osen-no-taki Fall is a 25-meter-high powerful rush of water with a red rock surface. Here you can enjoy strong white streams and delicate flows in one beautiful scenery. As the name suggests in Japanese, you can feel a feminine atmosphere.

It is said that Osen-no-taki Fall was made of welded tuff, which was a pyroclastic flow deposits that erupted from Mt. Kusatsu-Shirane 500,000 to 600,000 years ago. Since the water contains iron, it has a characteristic red rock surface.
Near to the fall, it is worth visiting a giant Katsura tree with a height of 35 meters and a trunk circumference of 6.7 meters, which was selected as one of the "100 Best Forest Giants".

The mountain road to Osen-no-taki Fall is about 1km one way, but there are steep slopes, narrow roads, and slippery places, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes.

  • Osen-no-taki Falls4
  • Osen-no-taki Falls3

|4. Lake Nozori

Lake Nozori

Only 30 min. by car from Hanashiki hot spring and Shiriyaki hot spring area. Lake Nozori is located between Gunma and Nagano prefectures and surrounded by 2000 meters mountains. The lake is colored with more than 300 types of alpine plants during early summer and marvelous flaming leaves during autumn. It is also a popular destination for hiking.
This lake is an artificial one and was created by Nozori Dam built on the Nakatsu and Shinano River, but looks like a natural lake at first glance.

Lake Nozori has great sceneries of authentic mountains and everyone can find their way of relaxation, either fishing, bird watching, or camping.

  • Lake Nozori2
  • Lake Nozori3

|5. Agatsuma Gorge

Agatsuma Gorge

Agatsuma Gorge is a valley of the Agatsuma River that stretches from Higashiagatsuma Town in Gunma Prefecture to Naganohara Town.
The azaleas are in full bloom around mid-April, covered with fresh greenery in May, and the scenery of the four seasons with colored leaves is a highlight from late October to early November.
On the 1.8 km Sukumogawa Nature Exploration Trail that continues from Kawarayu hot spring, you can see powerful scenery such as towering cliffs, strange stones, and waterfalls, and if you go further along the narrow road, you will find a viewing platform overlooking the valley.

At the entrance of Agatsuma Gorge, there is "Roadside Station Agatsuma Gorge", which is also used as a place to interact with the local community, such as farm products direct sales offices, footbaths, health playset, and dog runs.

  • Agatsuma Gorge2
  • Agatsuma Gorge3

|6. Mt.Tanigawa

Mt.Tanigawa

Mt.Tanigawa is one of the 100 famous mountains in Japan and is located between Gunma and Niigata prefectures.
There is a ropeway from Doaguchi Station at the foot of Mt.Tanigawa that takes 10 minutes to the top. After that use lift to the Tenjin-toge Pass. Here you can find climbing routes that everyone from beginners to advanced can enjoy. The journey from Tenjin-toge Pass to the summit is about two and half hours walk.

In the summertime, you can enjoy flowers such as Edelweiss, Hepatica, and Glaucidium palmatum while climbing. On the other hand, the number of climbers increases the most from September to October when comfortable temperatures and beautiful fall foliage are overlaps. Don't miss the precious scene of snow and fall leaves in late autumn.

  • Mt.Tanigawa2
  • Mt.Tanigawa3

|7. Doai Station

Doai Station

Doai Station of Joetsu Line connects Gunma and Niigata prefectures and it is a hot spot called "Japan's No.1 molestation".
The down platform (bound for Niigata) is installed in the Shin-Shimizu tunnel that is 70 meters above the ground, and if you want to see the light at the end of the tunnel, you have to climb 462 steps straight to the top!
The long stairs leading to the platform look like a dungeon with a unique atmosphere, like a whole different world.

Mt.Tanigawa was the main goal for those (mostly climbers) who used the station, but recently Doai Station took the lead as the most desired destination.

  • Doai Station2
  • Doai Station3

|8. Suwa Gorge

Suwa Gorge

There are 5 valleys along the Tone River and the most downstream is Suwa Gorge.
From Sasabue Bridge at the entrance of Suwa Gorge, you can see the gorgeous view of Mt.Tanigawa and mysterious stones with interesting shapes along the Tone River.

Furthermore, what about jumping from a Suwakaio Bridge with a height of 42 meters toward a raging stream? Bungee jumping here is very popular. Don't forget to reserve it in advance.

  • Suwa Gorge2
  • Suwa Gorge3


|9. Oku-tone Lake

Oku-tone Lake

Oku-tone Lake was created by the construction of the Yagisawa Dam and is located in the uppermost stream of the Tone River. This reservoir supplies water to Gunma Prefecture and the Tokyo metropolitan area. Since the headwaters of the Tone River are generally called "Oku-tone", it was named "Oku-tone Lake". The view from the arched Yagisawa Dam and the structural beauty of the dam itself is overwhelming.

The surface of the lake is like a mirror reflecting fresh green in summer, flaming leaves in autumn, and snow-covered Mikuni Mountains during springtime. Since it is relatively cool in summer, many tourists visit this place as a summer retreat.

  • Oku-tone Lake2
  • Oku-tone Lake3

|10. Naramata Dam

Naramata Dam

The Naramata Dam is a rock-fill dam with a height of 158 meters built on the Tone and Naramata Rivers. In the vicinity, there are many dams such as Yagisawa Dam, Sudagai Dam, and Fujiwara Dam, located in the Oku-tone Lake area.
When the snow melts, the spillway on the left bank of the dam releases the meltwater, and you will be fascinated by how it flows while drawing white ripples. Also, here you can find an observatory to see a panoramic view of the colorful Okutone area.

There is a center called "Hill Top Naramata" on the left bank of the dam that will introduce you to the construction and the role of the Dam in an easy-to-understand manner. Plus you can enjoy a unique Dam Curry and purchase some souvenirs from the service center.

  • Naramata Dam2
  • Naramata Dam3


[3] Conclusion

What do you think?
This time, we talked about the best view spots in the Northern area of Gunma prefecture, but there are still many highlights left. It is our pleasure to introduce you to all the great places for every area in Japan. Feel free to use this information next time you travel.

*Due to the spread of infection of the novel coronavirus, business hours may change. Please check the official website or sightseeing website before your visit.


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