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Near Tokyo! Fun Things To Do Tomioka, A Picturesque City In Gunma

Near Tokyo! Fun Things To Do Tomioka, A Picturesque City In Gunma

Translated by Sandy Lau

Written by MATCHA-PR

Gunma 2020.01.26 Bookmark

Gunma is famous for Kusatsu Onsen but it has many other fabulous places to visit. Tomioka is a great destination for nature and outdoor lovers due to its dramatic mountains, stunning flower fields, and paragliding facilities. This area can be reached in just two hours by train from Tokyo.

Discover Beautiful Scenery Known Only to Locals

While there are many popular destinations like Karuizawa or Lake Kawaguchi in the greater Tokyo area, there are still many uncharted areas. These tend to be home to stunning natural scenery known only to locals.

One of these places is Tomioka, a city located in southwestern Gunma, which might be best known for Kusatsu Onsen. We introduce four amazing places to visit and activities that can be enjoyed in this charming city whose appearance changes dramatically with each season.

1. The Ever-Changing Scenery of Mount Myogi

Initial D

Picture courtesy of Pixta
Mount Myogi became popular as the place where Takumi Fujiwara—the protagonist of the manga "Initial D," a story about street racing—advanced to become a top racer. However, the fact that it served as model for the location of a classic comic series is not the only appeal of this mountain.

You'll be amazed by the unique and strangely-shaped rocks found all over the mountain. Mount Myogi ranks among Japan's Top Three Scenic Sights thanks to its stunning, sprawling natural landscape.

This mountain was also where Walter Weston, a British mountaineer, was the first to succeed in reaching the summit with climbing ropes. Thus, it has gained fame as the birthplace of modern mountaineering in Japan. It is referred to as one of the "Three Jomo Mountains" along with Mount Akagi and Mount Haruna.

Mount Myogi Autumn Foliage Season

Picture courtesy of Pixta
During the fall foliage season, this mountain shows picturesque views that cannot be found anywhere. The color of the unusual rocks blends in with the crimson and golden-yellow of the leaves, creating an exquisite scenery thanks to Mt. Myogi’s unique topography. This harmony of natural hues looks just like a work of art.

Japanese Cosmos Flowers

Picture courtesy of Tomioka City

Tokyo Suburbs

Picture courtesy of Tomioka City
Not a fan of hiking? Then we recommend visiting Mount Myogi Panorama Park! Its wide fields of rapeseed blossoms and cosmos flowers in full bloom (*) look stunning with Mount Myogi in the background. The sight of blooming flowers against the rocky formations is truly superb!

A roadside station and day-trip hot springs are located near the park. Nearby, you'll also find Myogi Shrine, which has been designated an Important Cultural Property of Japan. The vermillion shrine gates and the magnificent black-lacquered architecture deserve to be looked at carefully.

*The flower varieties might differ from year to year.

Mount Myogi Panorama Park

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2. Take a Stroll under Wisterias at Kurosawa Wisteria Garden

Japanese Wisterias

Picture courtesy of Tomioka City
Weather becomes warm and pleasant in Japan around May. This is when the wisterias go in bloom. During this time, the sky is clear blue for days in a row. Fill yourself with happiness strolling under the weeping wisteria branches.

If you choose a destination that's very famous, you'll find yourself caught in a sea of people. This might make you feel more tired than before embarking on your trip.

Tokyo Wisterias

Picture courtesy of Tomioka City
If you wish to avoid the crowds, we suggest heading to Kurosawa Wisteria Garden. The locals love this spot for two reasons: its lush wisteria flowers resembling the Niagara Falls and the reasonable ticket prices. In other words, it's a place appreciated by those in the know.

Purple and white wisterias are planted along a 100-meter high slope. You'll be captivated by the beauty of the wisterias no matter where you look. Walkways have been laid out in the park for visitors to better experience the magical wisteria blooms.

Look up and you'll see the dazzling sky. We warmly recommend this spot to everyone who loves taking photos of the sky.

Kurosawa Wisteria Garden

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3. Bask in the Sun at Nyu Sunflower Fields

Attractions in the Greater Tokyo Area

Picture courtesy of Tomioka City
Lake Nyuko is a popular day-trip destination for Tomioka locals, located about 15 minutes away by car from the Tomioka Silk Mill—a World Heritage Site—or 20 minutes away from Joshu-Tomioka Station. The shifting colors of Mount Myogi throughout the seasons is an unforgettable spectacle that can be viewed from here.

Attractions in the Greater Tokyo Area

Picture courtesy of Tomioka City
Over 110,000 sunflowers bloom across the hills west of Lake Nyuko from late July to early August. Sunflowers are grown to bloom twice in early and late summer. As a result, whether it is during the hottest season—when the flowers are complemented by the blue skies and white clouds—or during late summer, the season when shadows seem to be lengthening on the ground, you can take wonderful pictures here.

An observation platform is set up in the sunflower fields. From the platform, visitors can capture the yellow sunflower fields covering the mountains like a carpet in a single frame.

The Sunflower Festival is also held over two days at the beginning of August. During the festivities, residents sell local specialties and handmade sweets. Don't let yourself defeated by the sweltering heat. Instead, recharge your batteries taking in the sights of these fresh sunflowers and the energetic locals.

For details on the subflower blooming forecast, please refer to the Tomioka City Tourism Association’s official Facebook page (Japanese).

Nyu Sunflower Fields

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4. Great for Beginners! Paragliding in Tomioka

Extreme Sports Paragliding

Picture courtesy of Myogi Sky Park
Not too long ago, we were only able to see this beautiful scenery in photographs. Now, you can experience it with your own eyes by paragliding!

About a 40-minute drive from Tomioka Silk Mill, visitors can enjoy paragliding at Myogi Sky Park. You'll be flying in the air with a highly experienced gliding instructor for 6,500 yen per flight (tax included).

Even amateurs can give this extreme sport a try! Take in the vast views of Tomioka below you while soaring on the wind.

Extreme Sports Paragliding

Picture courtesy of Myogi Sky Park
It might be scary at first, but muster up the courage to fly and soar high into the sky—you'll be surrounded by nothing but beautiful sights. Don't forget to take pictures of the lovely scenery.

As you're gliding, your body will be swaying a lot. You might even feel nauseated if you continue to only look at your phone screen while taking pictures. If you ever feel sick, make sure to take a long look at the natural scenery spreading out before your eyes.

Extreme Sports Paragliding

Picture courtesy of Myogi Sky Park

If you're planning to go paragliding, prepare sneakers, cotton gloves, and clothes that are easy to move in. These items can also be rented for free, so please ask a staff member. English-speaking staff may also be on hand on certain days, so try inquiring about this when applying.

According to the staff, there are no vending machines or supermarkets nearby. It's best to bring food and drinks with you to the park.

Please check this page (Japanese) for reservations.

Myogi Sky Park

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Visit Tomioka, a Breathtakingly Beautiful Place

You can go on a day trip to Tomioka from Tokyo by taking the shinkansen to Takasaki, and then using the local trains. It's a two-hour ride. Take in the beauty of this amazing natural scenery that changes with the seasons.

Let's venture out to Tomioka before others set their sights on this well-kept secret!

Tomioka City Tourist Information Website
Car Rental Information

Written by Lin
Sponsored by Tomioka, Gunma Prefecture

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.

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