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Gunma Prefecture, Shaped Like a Crane

August 8, 2012 | Travel | No Comments

During university I spent a year studying abroad in Japan’s historic theme park, Kyoto. Everywhere you looked there were famous sightseeing spots and chances to experience things uniquely Japanese. This became my norm, and my generalized view of what all of Japan must be like. (more…)

Fujido Cave

July 19, 2012 | Travel | 1 Comment

If you’re looking for the perfect day trip in Gunma, look no further than Fujido Cave. Located in the southern-most tip of Gunma, this cave is the largest in the Kanto region and is known to attract nature-starved Tokyoites and outdoor adventurers alike.

The length of the cave is roughly 2 kilometers and takes approximately 40 minutes to walk through. You’ll see impressive stalactites, stalagmites, and other handsome rock formations with profound names such as “Lotus Tower,” “Pilgrim’s Staff,” and “Woman’s Changeroom.” Look out for the occasional bat as it flaps by overhead! No special footwear is required, but it’s a bit slippery in some places, so be sure to watch your step!

After emerging from the caves, why not check out the nearby Skybridge? Skybridge is a suspension bridge, spanning a valley 90 meters above the ground. In summer (and on weekends in the fall), the bridge’s built-in bubble machines release thousands of bubbles for your viewing/popping/frolicking pleasure. The daily event lasts 15 minutes; start times are 11:00, 13:00, and 15:00.

Hours: 9:00 – 17:30 (In winter the caves are closed early… call to inquire the exact time.)

Admission: ¥600. Buy tickets inside the little souvenir shop facing the Skybridge. The path leading up to the entrance of the cave is behind the shop.

Access: The only way to get to the caves is by car, as the bus service to this area is laughably poor. If you must use public transport, take the JR Takasaki line to Shin-machi station and take the 2 hour bus ride to Uenomura Yakuba (Ueno-mura town hall). From there, it’s an hour and fifteen minute walk.

For more information, visit Uenomura’s tourist info website (Japanese only).

Happy Caving!

Monkeying Around in Nagano

February 29, 2012 | Travel | No Comments

If you are like me and have a fascination with monkeys, and don’t mind climbing snowy mountains, the Jigokudani Yaenkoen Snow Monkey Onsen in Nagano is the perfect adventure for you. It’s actually one of the most exciting things I’ve done in Japan so far. (more…)

Zamami Island

“What are you doing for Golden Week?” A question frequently heard amongst ALTs as early as January. For some, it’s being planned in their minds almost as soon as they learn what Golden Week is – the appropriately named public holidays spanning over two weeks – meaning you only need two days of nenkyu to enjoy a full 10 days off!


For many of us ALTs in Japan, deciding what to do and where to go during the Christmas holidays can be quite the struggle. There is usually a split in numbers between those who are going back home, and the others who go off exploring. As foreigners we are often amused by Japan’s interpretations of Western holidays like Easter, Halloween, and Christmas, the perfect examples of such are elaborately displayed at Tokyo Disneyland! (more…)

Gunma’s Galaxy Waypoint 天文台

November 18, 2010 | Travel | No Comments

The main place to view the stars in my hometown of Miami is at the local Science Museum. It is located at the edge of a sprawling downtown, so you have to fight through immense traffic just to enter the place. Then, there are the hoards of anxious people trying not to miss the last laser light show of the day. You have to ask an employee where to find the telescope, and they direct you down a dark dirty alley and up a long flight of stairs only to peer through a tiny sad excuse of a telescope.  (more…)

Melody Roads

November 2, 2010 | Travel | 2 Comments

As if your car stereo pumping out mad J-Pop tunes is not quite enough to keep you entertained and awake while driving to your favorite Gunma tourist destination, Japanese engineers have designed numerous melody roads that consist of strategically spaced grooves in the road that rumble often unfamiliar tunes through your car, similar to the rumble strips you might be familiar with back home. (more…)