Located in the northwest of Gunma, the Agatsuma District is very easy to miss on a map. You may have even driven through it on your way to Nagano Prefecture or Minakami without realizing it. But doing so would be a mistake. You’d be surprised at the awesome things to be found within this hidden cabbage.
For example, are you into art? No problem! Nakanojo Town is now holding its month-long Town Biennale, until October 14. This art exhibition features all sorts of artworks from both local and foreign artists in traditional and not-so traditional venues, like the woods. There will also be live performances and dances. More information can be found here. Nakanojo is also home to one of the most famous onsen areas in Japan, Shima. But, if privacy is what you’re after, then check out Kuni’s Shiriyaki Onsen, which is a natural riveronsen.
If one of the most famous onsen areas is not good enough for you, fret not. Agatsuma has your back. Kustatsu Town is where you want to go. Without a shadow of a doubt, Kusatsu is the most famous onsen town in Japan. Don’t believe me? Ask any teacher or Japanese friend about Kusatsu. Either they have bathed there themselves or at the very least recognize it as a the place to onsen. Heck, you probably went there yourself but didn’t realize it was in Agatsuma 🙂
Have a cabbage obsession? Then check out Tsumagoi Village. Tsumagoi produces roughly half of all the cabbage consumed in Japan. Kilometer after kilometer, cabbage as far as the eye can see is what you can expect on a typical summer drive in its mountains. Such a drive would make anyone thirsty. But if you’re tired of the three national beers and want something different and tastier, then head out to the Tsumagoi Microbrewery. Just remember, no (alcohol) drinking and driving!
Into stars and aliens? No worries. Takayama Village is on the job. Takayama is home to the Gunma Astronomical Observatory. Throughout the year, you can enjoy some spectacular views of space, including the Milky Way, Andromeda, and Jupiter. Check it out sometime. More information can be found here.
But, if life on Earth is what you like, then check out Higashi Agatsuma. During summer, Higashi Agatsuma is home to thousands of fireflies that light up the night as they search for the love of their life. Makes for quite the romantic evening. More information can be found here.
Think you can handle the cold? Then visit Naganohara Town. On the coldest day of the year at 5am, residents of Naganohara celebrate the Kawaryu Onsen Festival, during which (mostly) men wearing nothing but a fundoshi throw onsen water at each other. It makes for quite the chilly sight. More information can be found here.
For the lovers of mountains, Agatsuma will not disappoint you. During winter, you can ski/snowboard at the Kusatsu International Ski Resort or Pall-Call, located in Tsumagoi. If you prefer hiking, there are plenty of mountains to choose from, offering a wide range of difficulty levels.
So if you’re looking to have amazing adventures during your time in Japan, check out Agatsuma. It may be the hidden cabbage within the patch, but you’ll definitely find amazing things to do in it.