Surrounded by mountains and hot springs, Agatsuma is a rural city in the heart of Gunma. It’s near Kusatsu Onsen and the crater lake of Mount Shirane, as well as the famous waterfalls of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park.
Things to do
Take in the sweeping views of Yugama Crater Lake’s emerald waters at the summit of Mount Shirane, which can be accessed by cable car or along one of the hiking trails. Admire the rhododendrons and Japanese gentian flowers en route, with the slope transforming into one of Japan’s longest ski runs during the winter months.
Agatsuma makes an ideal base for visiting Kusatsu Onsen, which centres around the “hot water field” of yubatake. Soak in the sulphurous waters at one of the public baths, then watch the age-old tradition of cooling Kusatsu’s hot spring waters at one of the daily Yumomi performances.
A short drive south of Agatsuma takes you to the mountain resort of Karuizawa where John Lennon and Yoko Ono once retreated. Go shopping along the pedestrianised street of “Little Ginza”, admire the works of Nihonga artist Hiroshi Senju at his museum or step into the artwork yourself at the Trick Art Museum Kyu-Karuizawa.
En route from Agatsuma to Karuizawa is the beautiful Shiraito Falls, which translates to the “waterfall of white threads”. Follow the short walking trail that leads through lush vegetation to a small pool at the base of the falls, then visit the nearby Otodome Falls within Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park.
Agatsuma is around three hours’ drive from Tokyo and just over two hours from Shinshu-Matsumoto Airport. Buses travel throughout Agatsuma and connect to the surrounding towns and villages.