Located in the west of Gunma, Agatsuma is more than just mountains! However, the mountains here do provide beautiful scenery year-round. Enjoy hiking during mild weather, and skiing and snowboarding in the winter.
Agatsuma is most famous for Kusatsu Onsen and the surrounding town, one of the most famous and beloved onsen in all of Japan. Kusatsu is also the home of Mount Shirane, a volcano containing a crater lake whose water has the highest pH level in the world!
The hip, artsy town of Nakanojo has many interesting local shops like “Tsumuji”. You can also enjoy the Nakanojo Biennale (a large arts festival) every other fall.
In the town of Kuni, you can enjoy scenic nature at Nozori Lake, a man-made lake with hiking trails, camping, fishing, and more! Tiny Takayama village is the home of the Gunma Astronomical Observatory and Lockheart Castle (an actual Scottish castle that was disassembled, shipped to Japan, and reassembled).
Higashi-Agatsuma-machi is the home of beautiful Mount Iwabitsu and the modern-style Iwabitsu castle (which houses an onsen and gym). Higashi-Agatsuma-machi is also the home of the only karaoke box in Agatsuma, “Jupiter.”
Did you know “Agatsuma” translates to “my wife” in Japanese? Husbands take this meaning to heart in Tsumagoi where, every fall, they gather to literally shout their love for their wife over the town’s famous cabbage fields during the Aisaika Festival.
The sleepy town of Naganohara is home to the Agatsuma Gorge, a hidden gem famous for its fall foliage. In January, Naganohara hosts the Kawarayu Onsen Hot Spring Festival in which participants wearing loincloths throw hot onsen water on each other in freezing temperatures. Naganohara is also at the center of a controversial, decades-long dam-building project, which threatens to flood much of its natural beauty, so visit while you can!
There’s so much to see and do here in Agatsuma. Come for a visit… just remember your jacket!