GUNMA Tourist Guide of Gunma Prefecture

Gunma FAQ

Gunma FAQ

*Other frequently asked question we receive will be added in future.

About Gunma

Where is Gunma Prefecture?

Gunma is located about 100 km away from the capital, Tokyo, and is in almost the exact center of the Japanese islands. It is located in the northwest part of the Kanto region and is a landlocked prefecture bordered by Fukushima and Niigata Prefectures to the north, Nagano Prefecture to the west, Saitama Prefecture to the south and Tochigi Prefecture to the east. It takes only 50 minutes from Tokyo by shinkansen.

Access to Gunma 

What is Gunma Prefecture’s climate like?
Just within Gunma Prefecture, there is a difference in climate between the mountains (north) and the plains (south).
 
Summer
[Plains (Southern Part)]
The weather is hot and humid. Nights can also be hot and humid.
[Mountains (Northern Part)]
The climate is not as hot as the plains and is comparatively comfortable. Nights are a little cold. 
 
Also, evening rains accompanied by thunder are common throughout the prefecture.
 
Winter
[Plains (Southern Part)]
Strong winds come down from the mountains (karakkaze), and are very dry. Snow rarely falls, but early mornings and late nights can be particularly cold.
[Mountains (Northern Part)]
The cold is more severe than the plains and a lot of snow falls. 
 
Spring/Autumn
The temperature is comparatively mild and, depending on the weather, the temperature can drop in the early mornings and late nights.
How do I get to Gunma Prefecture?
You take only about 50 minutes from Tokyo by Shinkansen.
For detailed directions on how to get to Gunma from main airports or train stations, please see
Access to Gunma 
Tell me about Gunma’s Onsen.
Gunma Prefecture has over 200 onsen, including Kusatsu, Ikaho, Minakami, and Shima. Each one has its own unique charms, so please find the one you like best. Also, each area has day-use onsen facilities so you can enjoy a quick trip to an onsen.
 
What Gunma Prefecture food do you recommend?
Gunma Prefecture is blessed with abundant nature, so it is a country where delicious foods like vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, konnyaku (paste made from arum root), and fishery products can be found year round. Gunma is known as one of the leading producers of wheat in Japan, and you can enjoy a variety of local dishes that use wheat such as "udon", "yakimanju", "okirikomi", and more.
 
What products is Gunma Prefecture famous for?
Gunma is famous for "Takasaki Daruma" doll, which it produces more of than anywhere else in Japan, and "Sosaku Kokeshi" doll. There are facilities which you can experience painting Takasaki Daruma and Sosaku Kokeshi within the prefecture. Also, Gunma has a well-developed silk manufacture industry from sericulture to silk reeling. Kiryu textile boasts such high quality as it is said Nishijin (a famous textile of Kyoto) in west, Kiryu in east of Japan.
 
When is the best time to see cherry blossoms?
Though it depends on the weather that year, the best time is usually from early to mid-April. In the northern part of the prefecture, it is slightly later.
When is the best time to see autumnal foliage?
Though it depends on the weather that year, the best time is usually from late September through October in the northern part of the prefecture, and from mid-October through mid-November in the southern part.
Are there places for outdoor activities such as skiing and golf?
Gunma Prefecture has over 20 ski grounds in northern part to meet your skiing and snowboarding needs. The days of operation depend on the snow accumulation for that year, but they usually open from mid-December.
 
There are over 80 golf courses in Gunma Prefecture. Enjoy a round of golf in scenic natural splendor.
 
In summer, you can enjoy thrilling outdoor activities such as rafting, canyoning, and bungy jumping. Campsites are located throughout the prefecture and you can spend an enjoyable time amid the great nature.
 
Does Gunma Prefecture have any famous festivals or events?
Gunma Prefecture has a variety of festivals year round, and these are some of the principal ones. 
- Jan 6, 7…Shorinzan Nanakusa Taisai Daruma-ichi (Takasaki City)—Japan’s largest daruma market.
- Early March…Ikaho Onsen Stone Steps Hina Festival (Shibukawa City)—Children put on the costume of Girl's Festival and assemble in lines on the stone steps which is the symbol of Ikaho Onsen.
- Aug. 3 through 5…Numata Festival (Numata City)—This festival is famous for its procession with a "Daitengu mikoshi". The portable shrine has a giant tengu mask and is only carried by women. 
- Early to late-December…Lake Haruna Illumination Fiesta (Takasaki City)—Lake Haruna is lit up by lights in winter, and it creates a magical view.
 

Money

Can I use debit cards from outside of Japan to withdraw money?
You can withdraw money from Seven Bank ATMs at 7-11 stores throughout Japan and Japan Post Bank ATMs.

Japan Post Bank has two types of machines: a CD (cash dispenser) that only lets you withdraw money and an ATM (automated teller machine) which also lets you make deposits.

The ATM works with credit cards issued by banks outside of Japan and places where these machines are located will have a sticker with "International ATM Service" and a logo on it.
Where can I exchange foreign currency?
Currency can be exchanged at banks and stores with a display that says “authorized money changer.” The exchange rate changes daily according to movements in the money markets.

*Japan has no limit on the amount or type of currency that is brought into or taken out of Japan. However, if you take the equivalent of 1 million JPY or more into or out of Japan in any kind of currency, including checks, you must make a customs declaration.

Environment

Is there anything I should be aware of in terms of clothing, etc. for each season?
Summer
[Plains (Southern Part)]
The temperature and humidity are very high, so before entering a building with air conditioning turned on, be careful of the difference in temperature between inside and outside.
 
[Mountains (Northern Part)]
The climate is more mild when compared to the plains, and wearing short sleeves is comfortable. Nights can be a little cold, so it is best to have a thin jacket.
Also, evening rains are common throughout the prefecture, so having a fold-up umbrella is advisable.
 
Winter
The cold is particularly severe in the early morning and at night, so wear a thick coat or jacket when going outside. A scarf and gloves may also be needed.
Also, snow accumulates in the mountains in northern part, so comfortable shoes are recommended.
 
Spring/Autumn
Depending on the weather, the temperature may drop in the early mornings and late nights, so carrying a jacket, thin coat, or a sweater is recommended.

Contacts

Who should I contact in case of an emergency?
■ Police: Dial 110
If you encounter crime or an accident, call 110. If someone is hurt, immediately call 119 to request an ambulance.
If something has been stolen, such as a bank book or debit/credit card, immediately call the bank or issuing agency to cancel the book or card.
 
■ Fire/Ambulance: Dial 119 (fire, medical emergencies, injuries, etc.)
If there is a fire, inform everyone around you by doing something like speaking an a loud voice and immediately call 119 to call a fire truck.
If there is a medical emergency or an injury, call 119 to request an ambulance (if it is a minor illness or injury, please go to the hospital on your own).
Who should I contact when I have trouble during my trip?
Please contact the Tourist Information Centers.
These are the Information Centers in this prefecture:

●Takasaki Tourist Information Center
Phone: +81-27-327-2192
JR Takasaki Station, 222 Yashima-cho, Takasaki-shi, Gunma 370 - 0849

●Maebashi Tourist Information Center
Phone: +81-27-221-0167
JR Maebashi Station, 2-29-16, Omote-cho, Maebashi-shi, Gunma 371 - 0024

●Minakami Tourist Association
Phone: +81-278-62-0401
1744-1 Tsukiyono, Minakami, Tone-gun, Gumma 379 - 1313
 
Who should I contact when I'm not feeling well?
Please see this page for the hospitals where you can contact in English.
 
1. Check reception/consultation hours and subjects of medical treatment of the hospital in advance.
2. At the hospital, report at the reception first. Explain your symptoms or fill out the medical history form and wait for your turn to be examined. Do not forget to present your insurance information and confirm whether it can be used at the hospital. If you do not have an insurance or your insurance cannot be used a the hospital, you will be responsible for the entire amount of the medical expenses.
3. When the staff at the hospital call your name, follow their directions and get an examination.
4. After the examination, pay the bill at the cashier's window. If you are prescribed medicine, take the doctor's prescription to a drugstore and purchase it there. 

Accommodations

Are there any youth hostels in Gunma Prefecture?
There are three youth hostels in Gunma: Tanigawadake Raspberry Youth Hostel, Kusatsu Kogen Youth Hostel, and Kitakaruizawa Blueberry Youth Guest House.

ONSEN

Is there anything to be aware of when bathing in onsens or baths?
Do not enter the bathtub with a towel on. Do not wash your hair and body in the bath. Do not eat or drink while in the bath. Also, dry yourself thoroughly before returning to the changing room.
Are there any rules for entering the onsen?
  1. Remove your clothes, and wash before entering the water.
  2. Run the water over your body several times before entering.
  3. Enter the tub feet first, slowly and quietly.
  4. Do not wear a towel in the bath.
  5. Return the water pail and chair to its original position.
  6. Dry yourself thoroughly before leaving.
Are there any directions for wearing a yukata (bath robe)?
Yukata which are provided at Japanese-style ryokans and hotels are designed to be easy to wear, compared to common yukata. Also, there are usually various sizes such as S, M, and L available and you should choose the size which matches your figure. For how to wear yukata, please refer to the directions below.

1.Wear yukata and grasp the edge of the sleeve (sode) to make yukata fit in the center of your body.
2.Grasp the edge of the right-front part of yukata (mae-migoro) and bring it to your left weist.
3.Place the left-front part of yukata onto the right-front part and bring the edge of it to your right weist.
4.Wind up an obi at the position of your weist (for women) or under your navel (for men).

Customs

Are there any rules for throwing rubbish away?
Recycling is implemented in Japan. Rubbish bins are located in places basically classified with categories below. Please throw your rubbish away according to the classification.

  1. General rubbish (including paper waste, plastic bags, and plastic)
  2. Cans and bottles
  3. Plastic bottles
Are there any rules for removing shoes?
While this is not necessary when entering large facilities or art museums, you must take off your shoes when entering someone's house or a room with tatami (Japanese straw floor coverings) mats.
*Please follow the detailed rules for each facility and enjoy your trip.

Transportation

How can I rent a car in Gunma?
 ・You can rent a car at the companies that offer you the rental car service in the prefecture. Renting offices tend to be located around the railway station and car types that are available for rent, time and days of rental and rental rates differ in each company. Some companies have the service of advance reservation through internet.
・Rented cars are to be provided with a full tank of fuel. Some companies require you to refuel when return.
・When you rent, you can get the insurance and compensation for a fee.
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