Minakami, Gunma Prefecture
Minakami is place you've probably never heard of. Located in Gunma prefecture a couple hours north-west of Tokyo, Minakami is the epicentre of the summertime adventure and hot spring fun. The town oozes Japanese traditional culture and has a great array of outdoor activities to keep you busy from sunrise to sunset, and on into the night.
Hot springs along the river.
10 Recommendations For Food, Drink, And Souvenirs in Minakami!
Tenmaru is a soba and tempura restaurant about a 1 min walk from Jomo-Kogen station serving delicate soba noodles and crispy tempura for lunch and dinner. Open from 11:00~20:30 (L.O.19:45). They're closed Thurs and the first Wednesday of the month.
Budget: 1000-2000 yen
Horakukan provides a mixture of experiences for visitors to Minakami. You can purchase delicious homemasde products made with natural ingredients from the area. They also offer cooking classes where you can make your own soba noodles, tofu, konnyaku (konjac jelly).
One of their specialities is this ham, cheese and egg Horakukan omelet.
Budget for up to 2000 yen. Located near the entrance of Takuminosato road.
As the picture suggests, Mizukikoukan serve a pretty delectable curry, amongst other dishes. Dishes vary in price but you're pretty much guaranteed to get something under 1000 yen! Head here if you're looking for decent food on the cheap.
Such a funny name for a restaurant, but forget your childhood nursery rhymes, this place is much more than a broken egg. Humpty Dumpty serve up undoubtedly the best curry in town. Open from around 2013 they have regular live music to listen to while you enjoy the delicious food. Pictured is a mix of Indian curry and Thai curry. Coming with salad it's only 1000 yen for lunch! Count me in for the next trip here!
Shinrin is a great place to fill up on a traditional Japanese-style meal in Minakami. You can get dishes in a meal (pictured) with soup salad and a main dish. Most meals come with local pickles too - make sure to give them a try! Located in the southern end of Minakami near the highway. Budget for around 1000-2000 yen.
Exquisite hand-made soba specialist Kadoya is the perfect place for lunch. Just looking at this should make you wanna come here. All their soba (and udon) are made in-house every morning before they open - so it's super fresh. If you've never had fresh soba noodles before, or you're a soba freak, this is your place! Budget for around 1000-2000 yen. Located in the northern part of Minakami, it's a bit out of the way but well worth a visit!
Omanju (pictured) is a Japanese treat made with a special red bean paste wrapped in a dark sugar dough. It's the specialty at Marusu-seika, and the locals 100% stand by it! Get here for a unique souvenir or a tasty snack.
Nobotokesoba Yamaichiya's motto is "Fresh flour, fresh noodle, serve quickly". They grind fresh soba and udon flour from their mill every single day! That's a lot of work to get this done before opening their doors each morning. They also serve a mean Tonkatsu (pork schnitzel). Budget for up to 2000 yen. Located right next to Yujuku Onsen. Why not go for a dip in a relaxing hot spring after your meal!
Koarai Seika sells lots of local delectable sweets and snacks only available in Minakami! Dorayaki is one of their most popular sweets, quite famous in Minakami. Dorayaki is a Japanese style pancake sandwich with different fillings. I'd recommend the custard dorayaki with fresh cream and custard filling (200 yen).
I LOVE OUTDOORS JAPAN
Rafting is abundant in Minakami! Plenty of operators to choose from too, but I would recommend I LOVE OUTDOORS who runs outdoor activities for all ages like rafting and canyoning! There's grade 3-4 rapids and canyoning with 20m waterfall slides! They also provide canoeing and kayaking for people that want a more relaxing adventure.
The owner "Grassy" has been living and running adventure activities in Minakami for over 20 years! He's a super energetic and fun Aussie that will make sure you have a great time!
Try their Aussie Hamburger, Fish and Chips, or Pizza in the I LOVE NATURE CAFE (Free Wifi available). The cafe is just 100 meters away from Minakami Station.
169-1 Kanosawa, Minakami-machi, Tone-gun, Gunma, 379-1613, Japan
0278-72-1337 (English OK)
Want more adrenaline rushing adventure?
BUNGY JAPAN has been around since 2007 and served over 40,000 customers including some famous television personalities and celebrities in Japan. Perfect for anyone that is looking for a terrific rush falling towards the river.
Just let loose and jump! Totally doable for beginners!
143 Kohinata, Minakami-machi, Tone-gun, Gunma, 379-1612, Japan
09:00~11:30 and 12:30~17:00
Closed: Wed and Thur
Perfect for those that want a totally relaxing (apart from all the paddling), Lakewalk offers kayaking tours that is sure to leave you with a smile on your face! They have all the gear so you can just hire on the spot!
142-1 Oana, Minakami-machi, Tone-gun, Gunma, 379-1727, Japan
Paraglide with a professional pilot and experience Minakami from the air! You'll get some wonderful views of the town, surrounding mountains, and the massive Numata Basin during your time in the sky.
2151 Moro, Minakami-machi, Tone-gun, Gunma, 379-1306 Japan
TAPA Camping area
Stay in a bungalow or tepee and camp the night after spending the day exploring Minakami! Perfect if you love BBQs too as they have barbecue pits.
Why not sleep under the stars when you come to Minakami!
1592-62 Ishikura, Minakami-machi, Tone-gun, Gunma, 379-1311, Japan
TEL: 278-72-5086 / 090-5205-8261 (English)
Tanigawadake Ropeway is around 2,400 metres long and crosses Doaiguchi station and Tenjintaira station. Built without any barriers you have any unobstructed view of the surrounding scenery!
Operated year-round, you'll be able to enjoy all the seasons that the area has to offer. Snow on the mountains, views of the alpine plants, velvet red autumn leaves and fresh ski tracks in the winter.
Yubukiyama-Kokuyurin, Yubiso, Minakami-machi, Tone-gun, Gunma, 379-1728, Japan
The promenade in town runs alongside Lake Akaya offering a superb view of the area. Enjoy a leisurely stroll on the walking course and breathe in some fresh mountain air.
Sarugakyoonsen, Minakami-machi, Tone-gun, Gunma, 379-1403, Japan
The Suwakyo Gorges were created by the crystal clear and and cold water of the Tone river. Enjoy a walk along the path alongside the river to get a sense of the energy flowing throgh this place. There's also one of the best views of Mount Tanigawa on the Sasabue bridge at the beginning of the Suwakyo Gorge.
Kohinata, Minakami-machi, Tone-gun, Gunma, 379-1612, Japan
Onsen - Hot Springs
There's another great reason to make a trip to Minakami - the onsens! Onsens (hot springs) are an abundance here in Minakami with around 30 different ones to choose from!
There's ones with a traditional design, ones with amazing views, and others that offer something else a little more unique!
Here are my top 3 recommendations:
Sarugakyo Hotel has several types of baths made of rocks and Japanese cypress. You can choose from “hot water”, “warm water” or “jacuzzi bath” based on the guest’s preference. You can also enjoy the outdoor baths.
Takaragawa Onsen hot spring is a place where you can fully enjoy your holiday even for day trip. There is a courtyard which many people can spend their time and relax, a souvenir store, and a restaurant which serves local cuisine such as "Kamameshi". You can enjoy the pride of Takaragawa Onsen - outdoor and indoor hot springs, which you will absolutely love. Please spend your holiday with your friends and family in Takaragawa Onsen.
The Hoshi onsen hot spring is hidden in the Joshinetsu Kogen National Park. The main building, which is built in Meiji style, has a large public bath called “Hoshi Osamu Yu”. In addition, the annex has been registered as tangible cultural property of Japan. Enjoy yourself in Harmony of splendid nature and the traditional Japanese style wooden inn. Writers, such as Akiko Yosano and Yasunari Kawabata, once visited and left their works here.
Head to Minakami Tourism website to see the whole selection of onsens in the area.