Tobu

The Tobu region is located in southeastern Gunma and borders Saitama, Tochigi, and Ibaraki. Often seen as the ‘head’ of the crane, this region encompasses Kiryu, Midori, Ota, Ora, Oizumi, Chiyoda, Tatebayashi, Meiwa, and Itakura.


Kiryu and Midori

Lovingly referred to as the Kiryu-Midori sandwich, these two (sibling rival) cities make up the northernmost area of Tobu. This area has the densest concentration of JET ALTs in the Tobu area, so whether it be solo or with friends, you’ll always have something to do in Kiryu and Midori!

Editor/Tobu Rep’s note: Kiryu has been left off the map above for some reason. See those two white spaces surrounding Midori? That’s Kiryu. In 2005, Kiryu annexed the villages of Niisato and Kurohone, but the villages of Omama, Azuma, and Kasakake became Midori in 2006, causing the weird sandwich you see today.

Tourism and Major Attractions

Sight-seeing:

Midori:
  • Tomihiro Art Museum
  • Hanawa Elementary School Memorial Hall
  • Kodaira no Sato Waterpark and Limestone Cave
  • Midori City Omama Museum (Conodontokan)
  • Iwajuku Museum and Ruins
  • Kesamaruyama
  • Kusagi Dam
  • Sun Lake Kusaki
  • Kesakake Bridge
  • Fudo Waterfall
  • Takatsudo Gorge
  • Shikadayama Footpass
  • Watarase Keikoku Railway
  • Warabe Kobo Woodworking Experience
  • Asahara Experience Village
Kiryu:
  • Hotokuji Temple
  • Kiryugaoka Amusement Park and Zoo
  • Caribbean Beach
  • Shidenden District
  • Kiryu Meijikan
  • Okawa Museum of Art
  • Atohoru Hokoza
  • Tenmangu Shrine
  • Kiryu Nature Observation Forest
  • Gunma Insect World
  • Seki’s Cliff Buddha
  • Kurohone History and Folklore Museum
  • Textile Museum Yukari
  • Watarase Keikoku Railway

Events:

  • Kiryu Daruma Event (third Sunday in January)
  • Mikagari Shinji (Setsubun Day)
  • Katakuri Sakura Festival (late March – early April)
  • Hanamomo Festival (early April)
  • Ryomo Line Irodori Trip ♪ Hohon Kimono Tabi (mid April)
  • It’s Green! All-Member Assembly (early May)
  • Kiryu Yagibushi Festival (early August)
  • Omama Gion Festival (early August)
  • Niisato Festival (mid August)
  • Kurohone Festival (mid August)
  • Kusagi Lake Festival (mid August)
  • Kasagake Festival (mid August)
  • Kusagi Lake Marathon National Tournament (late September)
  • Sunflower Flower Field Festival (late September – mid October)
  • Kiryu Film Festival (mid October)
  • Watarase Valley Craft Festival (mid October)
  • Kiryu Fashion Week (late October – early November)
  • Kanto Chrysanthemum Flower Festival (late October – late November)
  • Ebisu-ko Festival (19-20 November)
  • Watarase Valley Railway Station Illuminations (early December – late February)
  • Kiryu Sandaiichi Markets (first Saturday of every month)
  • Kiryu Karakuri Puppet Show (first and third Saturday of every month)
  • Kiryu Ekinaka Farmers Market (every Sunday)
  • Nippo Jizo (24th of every month)
  • Omama Rakuichi Machinaka Exchange (various dates)

Ota

The industrial hub of Gunma, Ota is the home of Subaru and a surprising amount of folk tales

Tourism and Major Attractions

Sight-seeing:

  • Ota Art Museum & Library
  • The Japan Snake Center
  • Aeon Mall
  • Mikazuki Village
  • Yabuzuka Onsen
  • Enkiri-dera Mantoku-ji Shiryo-kan (with famous toilets)
  • Yabuzuka Honmachi Museum of History and Folk Customs
  • Nitta-no-sho Museum of History
  • Kanayama Historical Site and Ruins
  • Daikoin Temple
  • Sogen Temple

Events:

  • New Year Ekiden Race (1 January)
  • Yasse River Cherry Blossom Festival (late March)
  • Kozuke Ota Green March (late March)
  • Ota Shibazakura Festival (early April – early May)
  • Kanto Mountain Wildflowers Exhibition (late April – early May)
  • Ota Summer Festival (mid July)
  • Serada Gion Festival (late July)
  • Nitta Festival (mid August)
  • Ojima Neputa Festival (mid August)
  • Yabuzuka Festival (late August)
  • Ota City Yabutsuka Scarecrow Festival (early October)
  • Ota Matsutake Mushroom Road (first Sunday in October)
  • Ota Sporek Festival (late October)
  • Kanto Chrysanthemum Festival (late October – late November)
  • RC Aviation Pageant (3 November)
  • Ota Illuminations (mid November – early January)
  • University JAZZ Festival (first Saturday and Sunday in December)

Ora

Between the Tochigi and Watarase rivers lies Ora town, known for its love of swans and soba.

Tourism and Major Attractions

Sight-seeing:

  • Symbol Tower Mirai
  • Gaba Swamp
  • Tataranuma Park
  • Nagara Shrine

Events:

  • Ishiuchi Kobu Kannon / Yanaka Kannon Festival (January 17, August 17)
  • Swan “Chinese Cabbage” Festival (last Sunday in January)
  • Fujitana Tea Ceremony (early May)
  • Spring Urara ★ Oura Fresh Morning Market (early May)
  • Ukishima Bensaiten (May/November)
  • Oura Festival (September)
  • Industrial Festival (first Sunday in November)
  • Pageant of Light HiKARi MiRAi (late November – late January)

Oizumi

Known as “Little Brazil,” Oizumi is the smallest town in Gunma. With food, shopping, and even samba, you’re sure to have a good time!

Tourism and Major Attractions

Sight-seeing:

  • Green and Sculpture Road
  • Kangiin Kumagaya
  • Shironouchi Park
  • Koizumi Castle

Events:

  • Company Day Festival (fourth Sunday in March and September)
  • Shironouchi Park Sakura Festival (late March – early April)
  • Iris Flower Festival (early June)
  • Festival de Junho (June)
  • Oizumi Festival (late July)
  • Industrial Festival (early November)
  • Nishinomiya Festival (19 November)
  • Oizumi International Gastronomic Fair (fourth Sunday of every month)

Chidoya

Chidoya is rich in water and greenery. There are some beautiful cycling paths, so if that’s your jam, why not enjoy a leisurely bike ride along the Tone river?

Tourism and Major Attractions

Sight-seeing:

  • Tone Ozeki
  • Akaiwa Tosen
  • Daiichi Sankyo Nakasato Park

Events:

  • Chiyoda Tonegawa Hospitality Marathon (mid January)
  • Chiyoda no Matsurikawa Segaki (mid August)
  • Chiyoda Town Industrial Festival (late November)

Tatebayashi

Tatebayashi is the closest city to Tokyo from Gunma – in fact, it may even be faster to get to Tokyo than to Takasaki, with the drive taking just over an hour by toll road!

Tourism and Major Attractions

Sight-seeing:

  • Gunma Museum of Art
  • Morinji Temple
  • Mukai Chiaki Children’s Science Museum
  • Azaleas Film Museum
  • Flour Milling Museum
  • Tobu Treasure Garden

Events:

  • Tatebayashi Sakura Festival (late March – early April)
  • Carp Banner Festival (late March – early May)
  • Azalea Festival (early April – early May)
  • Taebayashi Japanese Water Irises Festival (June)
  • Summer Shironuma Lotus Flower Festival (mid June – mid August)
  • Tatebayashi Festival (third Sunday in July)
  • Tatebayashi Hand-Held Fireworks Festival (late July)
  • Men-One Grand Prix Noodle Festival (late September – early October)

Meiwa

Located only 60km from Tokyo, Meiwa is the southernmost town in the Tobu region. A-pear-antly, the fruit there is delicious!

Tourism and Major Attractions

Sight-seeing:

  • Hometown Square
  • Cyclamen Street
  • Pear Highway

Events:

Um, you can eat pears?


Itakura

Itakura used to be a water town with many rivers and ponds, and that lives on with its wonderful, delicious, mouthwatering catfish tempura… Hey, maybe if we eat enough of them, it’ll stop them causing earthquakes…

Tourism and Major Attractions

Sight-seeing:

  • Gunma/Tochigi/Saitama prefecture border
  • Gunma Water Town
  • Cultural Property Museum
  • Watarase Nature Museum
  • Watarase Retarding Ground (Ramsar Convention Wetland)
  • Izumino Park
  • Fureai Park
  • Itakura Central Park
  • Tenjinike Park

Events:

  • Takatori Tenmangu Festival (last Sunday in February)
  • Watarase Retarding Ground Yoshiyaki (mid-March)
  • Autumn Yangshu Yatagawa Tour (May – June and September – October)
  • Raiden Grand Festival (early May)
  • Momiya Nagara Lion Dance (late July)
  • Itakura Festival (first Saturday in August)
  • Townspeople Cultural Festival/Public Hall Festival (late October – Mid November)
  • Commerce and Industry Festival (late October)
  • Takatori Tenmangu Niiname Festival (late October)
  • Toyo University School “Thunder” Festival (early November)

Transport

Train

Tobu <—> Tokyo

The Limited Express Ryomo runs directly to Asakusa and Kita-Senju via Tatebayashi, Ota, and Shin-Kiryu/Akagi. Depending on the origin point, the journey takes 1-2 hours. Food and drink can be consumed on this line too!

For those in Itakura or Chidoya, a bus is required to connect to the Ryomo line.

Tobu <—> The Rest of Gunma

The Tobu line connects Ota to Isesaki, the main access point for other areas of Gunma. A full list of stops on the Tobu line in English can be found here.

The Jomo Electric railway runs between Nishi-Kiryu, Midori (Akagi Station), and Shim-Maebashi. Please note that IC cards cannot be used at some stops.

There is also a secondary, non-express Ryomo line that connects Kiryu, Isesaki, Maebashi/Shim-Maebashi and Takasaki.

Buses

Tobu <—> Tokyo

At Kiryu Station south exit, express buses arrive and depart from Narita Airport, Haneda Airport, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Sendai etc.

Tobu <—> The Rest of Gunma

There are various local bus lines in the Tobu area. Some areas, such as Midori, have a semi-private bus service that can be arranged via phone.