Gunma is located in the northwest of the Kanto region, about two hours from Tokyo. A large portion of the prefecture is mountainous and the remaining—including most of Gunma’s largest cities—are in the plains. Three major mountains—Mt. Akagi, Mt. Haruna, and Mt. Myogi—dominate Gunma’s landscape.
Although often thought of as an inaka (countryside) prefecture, Gunma has a mix of both city and outdoor attractions. In Gunma’s city areas, you’ll find several museums, malls, shopping centers, sports centers, clubs, bars, restaurants, and more to provide entertainment in a more suburban lifestyle.
Outside the city, Gunma has many more attractions—mountain climbing, hiking, skiing, rafting, “canyoning”, biking, onsen (hot-spring baths), museums, and much more. Gunma is famous for its winding mountain roads, and motor enthusiasts can find plenty of places to enjoy themselves.
For those interested in culture, you’ll not find it lacking in Gunma—the summer is filled with festivals. There are also plenty of temples, shrines and other religious sites, and many places in Gunma offer demonstrations, examples, and instruction in traditional arts, crafts, cooking and much more.
Because of Gunma’s diverse geography, weather throughout the prefecture can vary. Winters, particularly in the mountains, can be cold, and higher elevations often experience lots of snow during the winter months. Gunma winters are famous for the karakkaze—dry, cold winter winds of impressive intensity.
During the summer, Gunma—like all of Japan—is hot and humid, and particularly in the cities reach the upper 30s. During the summer, sudden thunderstorms or rain showers are common, particularly during tsuyu, the rainy season, beginning in June. For those who haven’t experience all four seasons, you’ll experience them in Gunma, both in their beauty and in their frustration.
Gunma has several public transportation options available. However not all areas are serviced and the majority of Gunma’s residents rely on private vehicles. Public services may only run two or three times an hour in urban areas, and once every hour, or even less frequently, in rural areas. For more information on the various public transport options available, please check out the transport guide.
In neighboring areas, residents of Gunma can find popular tourist areas, such as Nikko and Nagano, and Gunma is close enough to Tokyo that the city can easily be done in a day or even all weekend.
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