Since the start of 2020, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has continued to create disturbances throughout Japan. Among many other issues, we have experienced losses of life, a downturn in the economy, and the inability to move freely around the country. In recent weeks we are starting to see some improvement and more people are leaving their homes every day. Where is the first place you will visit? Maybe you have already compiled a list of the places you can’t wait to travel.
Have you ever been to Gunma? Gunma is a beautiful area full of hot springs (onsen) and stunning nature. With train access an hour from Tokyo, Gunma is a popular trip people go to enjoy soaking in onsen, outdoor activities such as hiking and eating delicious delicacies. Gunma offers hot spring towns with nostalgic Japanese ryokan (Japanese inns), glamping facilities, scenic outdoor baths, and private mixed baths perfect for couples or families. The more adventurous can canoe the brilliant blue waters, raft through the swift river and canyon down gushing waterfalls. If you fancy a trip to Gunma and are looking for places to stay, look no further than the recommendations below!
Toshimaya Japanese Inn and Hot Spring
Would you like to relax in a private bath to the bubbling sound of the mountain river waters? From your open-air bath, you can enjoy this scene at Japanese style inn Toshimaya.
Gunma Prefecture’s Shima Onsen is situated in the Joshinetsu Kogen National Park, surrounded by nature. Flowing through the park is the Shima River, famous for its beautiful blue waters, the “Shima Blue.” Toshimaya is a hot spring inn located on the banks of this crystal clear river. Toshimaya has a long history in the area and has been running hot spring inns here since the Edo period. There are fifteen rooms, each with a different style. The rooms have spacious washitsu (Japanese style room) where you can sleep, eat and drink tea, and most rooms feature cedar or stone private baths, overlooking the river. You can spend your time relaxing at ease.
Toshimaya offers “Satoyama Kaiseki,” a Japanese multi-course meal, which uses local ingredients, delicacies from Gunma Prefecture’s mountains and river. They offer freshly prepared dishes, served at their most delicious. You can taste Toshimaya’s dedication to their food as they home grow their own ingredients and make miso and pickles. Breakfast is a feast that includes fish, miso soup with thirteen local ingredients, hand-made tofu, and other dishes.
As a hot spring inn, the best part about staying here is the baths. There are indoor and outdoor baths for both men and women, facing the clear stream of the Shima River. Private rock baths are also available. There are nine baths you can choose from, including private family baths. For the communal baths, the bathing time rotates for men and women, so it’s possible to enjoy all the baths. As the open-air baths are right next to the river, you can enjoy the sight and sound, just as if you were actually bathing in it. Book spacious, private baths to enjoy with your family. Choose from the stone bath with a sheet of natural, exposed rock or the stream-side bath.
Toshimaya has three natural hot spring sources. All of the baths are fed with 100% spring water, straight from the source with no additions so you can enjoy a fresh, clean bath at any time. Mountain water from the river is used to cool the water, so it’s cool enough to bathe in. You can read all about the cooling system on the homepage. In Japanese, the word Shima means ”40,000,” and so as suggested by the name Shima Onsen, the waters are said to heal 40,000 kinds of ailments!
If relaxing in serene hot springs all day doesn’t appeal to you (it certainly appeals to me!), why not check out the local sights. Walk to the pottery or woodwork shop and get crafty. A short drive can take you to Lake Shima, where you can enjoy the different colors of the water that change according to the light, Lake Okushima, which features a dam and a 4km walking path, and Shima Onsen’s’s Giant Kettles created naturally by whirlpools eroding the river bedrock.
Are you ready for your nature-filled spa trip at Toshimaya? Toshimaya has easy access to Tokyo and Niigata. Take the train from either city to Nakanojo Station and from there a bus to Shima Onsen. Or alternatively a longer, but more convenient bus from Tokyo Station direct to Shima Onsen.
Myogi Green Hotel & Terrace for a Glamping Experience
Experience glamping surrounded by nature. Enjoy the outdoors and take a dip in the natural hot spring, sourced with water from 2,000m underground. Myogi Green Hotel & Terrace is a hotel and glamping facility and hot spring in Tomioka, Gunma. Easily accessible from Tokyo. Take in the beautiful surroundings of Mt. Myogi from the outdoor bath, or play a round of golf. Relax in this haven of natural beauty.
Myogi Green Hotel & Terrace is located around 1.5-2 hours from Tokyo, 45 minutes drive from Karuizawa. From the grounds, you can see Mt. Myogi, which is one of Japan’s three most unusual scenic spots (the other two being Yabakei in Kyushu and Kankakei in Shikoku). Camping here, you can see magnificent scenery not found at other campsites. The views can be enjoyed all year round but are exceptionally breathtaking during the cherry blossom season and the autumn leaves.
At Myogi Green Hotel & Terrace, you can choose between a hotel stay or glamping. The hotel has luxurious western and Japanese style rooms. But what makes this please special is the glamping. This glamping experience can only be found in the serene nature of Tomioka, away from the bright lights of the city. Feel the slow passage of time while relaxing around your tent, looking at the view around you. Get up early and see early morning light behind the mountains, listen to the birds and insects, the sounds of nature.
There are four different kinds of glamping accommodation: the “Air Stream,” Standard Tent, Luxury Tent, and Pet Tent. The “Air Stream” is a trailer-type that sleeps two and is popular with couples decked out glamping style with an outdoor seating area. Next is the Standard Tent that includes a dresser and a low table. The Luxury Tent comes with a view of Mt. Myogi and has lush furnishings. The Pet Tent can accommodate your pet and comes with a pet bed. All the tents sleep four and have an outdoor wooden gazebo dining area. All glamping accommodations have airconditioning, refrigerators, a Bluetooth speaker, Wi-Fi, and outdoor seating with a BBQ.
You can enjoy an outdoor BBQ, without having to bring the food or equipment! The fresh ingredients will be delivered to you so you can cook on your Weber BBQ as you please, in the comfort of your own seating area. There are drinks available too in the bar area! Glamping guests can also have meals at the hotel.
The hot springs are something special. Guests have access to a shower room, an indoor bath, and an outdoor bath with a roof and views of Mt. Myogi. Relax your body while being healed by nature. The view is particularly magnificent at sunset. The water source is an unusual “bicarbonate spring” with a high sodium ion content, a unique onsen experience.
If you’re tired of the hustle and bustle of the city, why not take a trip to Gunma and get back to nature, glamping in this picturesque and tranquil location?
Tsumagoi no Yado Aisai
What is your secret to keeping a good relationship? It is always hard to keep a stable mentality and good relationship. What makes it tricky? Stress is a massive trigger with human relationships, which leads to the collapse of a relationship quickly. Whenever people feel pressure, we tend to forget to care or respect others. There is even scientific proof of positive effects on the brain that good relationships ensure people continue to memorize old memories.
And now, we would like to introduce a new resolution: going to a Japanese power spot in Gunma. The relaxation fills your energy, which plays a role in boosting your motivation to take time and relax. The dynamic scenery is popular amongst all visitors. In human history, we lived with nature, and it also lowers anxiety felt after the spread of coronavirus spread or the start of work after the pandemic.
“Tsumagoi Aisai” renewed and opened in 2016, the Tsumagoi village is surrounded by Mt. Asama, Mt. Azumaya and Mt. Shirane, which are three of the hundred top mountains in Japan. You can climb up to the top on a one day trip.
This accommodation called “Tsumagoi no Yado Aisai” (嬬恋の宿 愛妻) is in the Azumaya mountain of Baraki plateau next to a ski resort. It is affluent with nature, such as lakes and waterfalls. You can relieve your tiredness in Tsumagoi Onsen.
The view from the restaurant or the lobby is beautiful; if you stay in this accommodation, you can see Mt. Asamayama. Tsumagoi, which stands for the “loving wife,” in Gunma prefecture, could be the best location to go with your partner, friends, and family.
The Kaiseki Ryori (会席料理) a formal dinner arranged to enjoy sake is served here. As a cute addition to your stay, you will be able to see foxes, raccoons, Japanese martens, and antelope from the accommodation if you are lucky enough.There are only nine rooms in the total space of 33,058㎡, which represents the message of this place: using the area big enough to welcome all visitors. The room has a modern but antique atmosphere and can accommodate 2-6 people together.
You can choose a yukata as you like. The advantage of specializing your stay in this kind of private space surely makes you enjoy Japan more. Why don’t you treat yourself after all the hard work you’ve done.
Message from the staff: we’re Looking forward to seeing you all soon.
How do you find ways to relax while viruses and pandemics are brooding over your trip?
Many people may be worried about the cleanliness of hot springs this season, especially when you are traveling with someone important to you. However, you do not want to restrict your trip just because of the coronavirus. Once you decide to travel, you want to enjoy it fully. That’s why Ryokufuutei is a solution for those who prefer a quiet and comfortable atmosphere. It is the perfect place for adults who want to enjoy one of the most authentic hot spring experiences in all of Japan.
These hot springs are frequently disinfected. In Ryokufuutei, antiviral measures are exercised with the acidity from Kusatsu to ensure your safety. You can bathe with peace of mind knowing that you are staying in a safe sanitized place.
Since Kusatsu onsen’s water flow is the largest in Japan, hot water sourced from the hot spring flows 24hrs a day. Hot water is only used once with no reuse, and you get to enjoy it with seasonal views from the window.
During summertime, you feel the breeze; in autumn, you can enjoy the autumn leaves and, in the winter, experience nature’s white blanket.
Indoor hot springs are made with wood so that you will feel the warmth of timber and spring water.
Although the provision of food is not in high abundance, they serve cuisine made from ingredients produced and consumed within Gunma prefecture. The alcohol served is brewed locally.
If you plan to stay privately, quietness is guaranteed because the accommodation is located approximately 12 minutes on foot from the hot water localities. There are hot-spring stay plans, and many include the option to have a BBQ.
You can also forest bathe, and sing with birds in the hot springs, which is a great way to release your stress.
This place is different from ordinary hot spring resorts where all the hot springs are crowded. It is located in an area close to the outer periphery of Kusatsu Onsen and west of the riverbank park, in its own quiet environment among the greenery.
If you are exhausted living in an urban area, this is an excellent option for you!
Access their official website http://ryokufutei.com/
Under the coronavirus, most people have to stay at home in quarantine. This has led to a lack of exercise. Physical activity helps you to feel better physically and mentally, more than unnatural detoxification.
Imagine looking up and seeing hundreds and thousands of glistening rays of light. If you stay at “TOP Minakami,” you can see the vast galaxy displayed across the sky. You create your own way to stay, whether through renting a cottage or a tent for camping. The cottage and tent can both be rented as a private group.
Minakami Camping Riverstone is located two and a half hours by car and one hour by Shinkansen (bullet train). You can reserve a free pickup and dropoff service as well.
The outdoor package is popular among visitors because you do not need to prepare anything. Have you ever had a thought popped in your mind and just decided to go somewhere?
If you are a person who just randomly goes out and camps, this could be the place for you. The only thing you need to bring is yourself; all the tools and ingredients are provided. This is the ideal place to get away from everything, all the troubles, and dramas of modern city life.
There are various types of activities available to those who want to escape to the outdoors. If you prefer staying on land, you can go mountain biking, rock climbing or even go searching for wild vegetables and mushrooms. Picture experiencing Japan’s picturesque nature in its purest form. There are tons of other activities for those amphibious types who feel at home in the water! Rafting, canoeing, and kayaking, just to list a few.
After getting your feet wet or exploring the unknown, you can come back to your cozy accommodation and let the stress drain away. What’s a better way to do this than relaxing in a hot spring! If that doesn’t do it for you, there are many other different accommodation types. All include their very own arrangement of foods, cooked by expert cooks for you to enjoy.
If outdoor exploration and spectacular views sound like you, “TOP Minakami” may be the perfect place.