SENIORS TRAVEL TO JAPAN



Seniors Head To Gunma To Soak In An Onsen

en-bnr-about_gunmaThis time we seniors skip over Tokyo and head northwest 100 kilometers to a region called Gunma. It is a mountainous, landlocked prefecture on Japan’s Honshu Island. Gunma is known for its hot springs and outdoor sports and is the home of the Subaru auto manufacturing plant.

The small town of Kusatsu Onsen has more than 100 hot springs (onsen), most famously Yubatake, a large pool fed by acidic water gushing down a wooden chute. Set 1,200 meters above sea level, Kusatsu Onsen is popular for skiing and hiking. Seniors, bring along a good pair of hiking boots.

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The prefecture is located at the center of the Japanese islands. The shape of the prefecture resembles a crane flapping its widely spread wings so much, that it is referred to as “Gunma Prefecture in the shape of a soaring crane.”

 Seniors Find Best Hot Springs In Japan

The hot springs are said to be the best in all of Japan. It boasts nine consecutive years as the number one spot in the Top 100 Onsen of Japan. The Kusatsu Onsen is particularly famous. Enjoy forests? Mountain forests occupy two thirds of the prefecture’s area and from the north to the west is a range of mountains and hills.

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Gunma holds the source of Tone River, which has the greatest basin area of any river in Japan. I located a Guide all in English just for our readers. For senior gourmet folks, Gunma is famous for its winter wheat products. Udon noodles from Mizusawa are considered among Japan’s best.

Search out the famous Wahei Soba-Dokoro that is tucked away on a narrow street in Kusatsu Onsen Town. It looks like a typical Soba shop, except for one thing – senior visitors can watch a chef kneading, rolling and cutting dough to make soba noodles in a windowed cubicle next to the entrance. They say the tempura is worth the stop in itself.

 Seniors Visit Japan’s Castles

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TripAdvisor suggests the Haruna Shrine along with the Fukiwarenotaki Falls. Take in a couple of Japanese castles.

Iwabitsu Castle was a hilltop style Japanese Castle on Mt Iwabitsu in Higashigatsuma Gunma Prefecture. Iwabitsu Castle was contructed by the Azuma Taro Sukefusa back in 15th century.

Then head over to Minowa Castle that is a flatland style Japanese Castle in Takasaki Gunma Prefecture. Minowa Castle was constructed in 1526 by Nagano Narimasa and covers an extensive 47 hectares. Yes, they use hectares, not acres; they drive on the other side of the road and you may find snow during the winter season.

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Abundant gardens and parks, museums and art galleries attract many visitors as well as the Arafune Cold Storage that is a historic facility associated with the silk industry, sericulture, and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2014.

It’s all here just awaiting your arrival, so plan a visit to Gunma.  -jeb

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