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Ikaho hot spring is located in the hot spring town in Shibukawa, Gunma Prefecture; its about 3 hours away from Tokyo by bus. Ikaho hot spring is known as the one of the famous hot springs in Gunma Prefecture, it has about 400 year history; its been a hot spring for everyone.
In the central town, there are 365 steps stone stairs, which is a signature point of this unique town. Mount Haruna has a long history of mountain worshipping culture; Haruna Shrine is located in the middle of the mountain. The shrine also has a long history; it was built between huge rocks which gives this location more spiritual vibe. People come to this popular shrine to pray respect and feel the special power.
- 5th Mount Haruna rope way
- 4th Mizusawa Temple
- 3rd Kajika Bridge
- 2nd Ikaho Onsen
- 1st Haruna-jinja Shrine
1. Spot ranking in Ikaho Onsen area
5th. Mount Haruna rope way
Mount Haruna ropeway can be used to get to the top of Harunafuji (1391m), the symbolic figure of Mount Haruna. It started its operation in 1958; from 1996, it started to offer two connected gondolas operation which carries 15 people at the time ( 1st in Japan). The length is about 527m, the Height difference is 267m; the duration of the ride would be about 2 min 50 seconds. On the clear sky day, visitors can see Kantō Plain and Joshu Mount; during winter, you may be able to see Mt. Fuji.
Seasonal events include Haruna Lake Illumination Festa in every December, would be recommended. During the festival, visitors can enjoy wonderful illumination from 17:00 to 22:00. Also, visitors can enjoy fireworks display from the mountain top as well as night view of Takasaki and Maebashi city.
The opening time of the ropeway service is 4th ～11th months 9:00～17:00（last going up 16:30) and 12th ～3rd months 9:00～16:00 (last going up15:30). The price would be: adult both ways 840 yen（one way 440yen ) and child both ways 410yen（one way 230 yen). There is a discount for group more than 25 people.
From JR Shibukawa station take bus, take Shibukawa – Ikaho Line (Destination : Ikaho Spring ) and get off at Miharashi shita or Ikaho Bus terminal. Walk about 4 min to Gunma bus service stop Miharashi shita. If you take bus, Ikaho Bus Terminal – Haruna Lake hot spring Yuusuge (Destanation : Haruna Lake hot spring Yuusuge) and get off at Ropeway Mae. Duration is about 1 hour.
4th. Mizusawa Temple
Mizusawa Temple can be called Mizusawa Kannon; its Tiandai sector old Buddhist temple in Shibukawa, Gunma Prefecture. Goguryeo’s Ekan was rumored to opened this temple between 592 – 628, but it was not confirmed. Current deity is Wooden Senju Kannon Bodhisattva Statue that was built during the end of the Heian era. The deity was originally and privately owned by the third child of Ienari Takanobe who was the local official of the area.
The deity is believed to have a great spiritual power. Inside of the temple, there is the main building, Prefecture designated important cultural property Double hexagonal tower (Good luck Rokujizo), Zhongloutang and Shakado. Inside the Shakado, there are Shakasanzon statue, City designated important cultural assets Enku Buddha (Amitabha statue) and Eleven-faced Bodhisattva statue.
There are also Dragon King statue spring spiritual water fountain inside the temple, this water is believed to have lucky charm power for finance and hardworking. On the 3rd of February, they host a yearly event of Setsubun Etsuina ceremony that is for spiritual cleansing and wish for healthy year to come. In May, there is a flower festival that visitors can enjoy sweet sake. Visitors must try Mizusawa Udon noodle. This noodle is one of the best Udon noodles in Japan: Inaniwa Udon of Akita Prefecture and Sanuki Udon of Kagawa Prefecture.
This Udon has 400 year history, it was hand-made for Mizusawa Temple’s visitors using local flours and natural spring water. There are many Udon noddle specialists near the temple: Tamaruya (since 1582) and 400 year history Shimizuya. This noodle has smooth texture and is thicker than other noodles. Everyone shall try it out! The temple opening hours are 8:00〜17:00. The entrance is free.
From JR Shibukawa station take bus, Shibukawa – Mizusawa – Ikaho information center (Destination : Ikaho information center ) and get off at Mizusawa Kannon. Duration is about 25 min. Cost is 480 yen (one way).
*the service is not frequent thus check before your visit.
3rd. Kajika Bridge
Kajika Bridge is located in Ikaho hot spring area near the spring. There is Ikaho Shrine on the top of Ikaho hot spring’s famous stone steps; the bridge is located near the shrine. The bridge name came from the Kajika flogs that is living near the river. This flog has a similar voice as deer and visitors can hear this during early summer. From this bridge, people can enjoy various sceneries depending on season: green leaves, orange leaves and snowy trees.
The best time to see the changing of leaves colour would be from the end of October to the middle of November. Also, they use extra lighting up apparatus to give special effect at night time. Near the bridge, there is a hot spring drinking center were visitors can drink from the spring which was introduced by German doctor Erwin Bälz. He used this hot spring to teach his hot spring medical treatment.
This weak acidity Hypotonic hot spring is good for treating gout, obesity and Chronic allergic diseases. Everyone can try out the spring water.
From JR Shibukawa station take The Kanetsu Transportation Bus, Shibukawa – Ikaho Line (Destination : Ikaho Haruna exit ) and get off at Ishidangai Guchi. Then walk about 15 min. Duration is about 30 min. Cost is 570 yen (one way).
2nd. Ikaho Onsen
Ikaho Onsen is the famous hot spring in Gunma area; its stone steps creates their unique nostalgic atmosphere. Its history started about 400 years ago in Edo time period. The stone steps which as if it goes to the heaven, would be their symbol. This stone steps are about 300 meter long and 365 steps all together. Along side of the steps, there are souvenir shops, antique shops and amusement facilities.
Visitors would enjoy this typical and traditional hot spring town’s atmosphere. 200 years ago, 12 main hot spring inns had their own Chinese zodiac like signs; now their signs can be seen on the steps.
Around the steps, a town square and a hot spring waterfall were made to make this area extra special in the town. There are two free footbaths in the middle of the steps, if you get tired by climbing the steps, you can enjoy this footbath at your convenience. Japanese hot springs have their own unique red bean sweets which are often brown in color. This place is the originated place for them. Their “Yunohana Manjyu” was chosen to be one of the presents for the Japanese royal family; this made the sweet to be known.
On the top of the steps, there is the Ikaho Shrine; their worshipped God is known for the hot spring and medical related things. This Shrine gives out a very legit vibe and visitors also can enjoy the great view of the whole town. A historic Japanese mansion which was owned by Robert Walker Irwin’s is another place to see. Like Kenjirō Tokutomi and Yumeji Takehisa, many artists loved this place.
Their memorial exhibition is also a thing to see. There are many inns and hotels which open their bathing facilities to day visitors in Ikaho hot spring. Hotel Tenbo is one to try out; it has a huge health suite that comes with 9 different baths. Day visitors can use their facility from 11:00 to 14:00. The entrance fee would be 1300 yen for an adult and 650 for a child. They rent out a small towel for 210 yen and a big towel for 520 yen.
They are not open for public on Tuesdays and Wednesdays; they also have unscheduled closers so visitors are advised to check their website before their visit. Ikaho Rotenburo is a public outside bath facility; it is located near the hot spring discharge point which is just after passing the Ikaho Shrine.
This hot spring is for giving birth; thus it’s believed to heal female reproductive problems. This outside bath is great for enjoying the outside scenery from the bathtub. The opening time would be 4th ～9th month 9～19, 10th ～3rd month 10～18. They are closed on 1st and 3rd Thursdays every month but it’s open if it’s holiday. The entrance fee is 450 yen for a adult. (under 1 year old is not permitted to enter)
From JR Shibukawa station take The Kanetsu Transportation Bus Shibukawa – Ikaho Line (Destination : Ikaho Haruna exit ) and get off at Ishidangai Guchi. Duration is about 30 min. Cost is 570 yen (one way).
1st. Haruna-jinja Shrine
Haruna Shrine is located in the middle of Mount Haruna. It has 1400 years history; people would pay their respect for wealth, business, healthy crops, luck and avoiding fire. In olden times, people came to this mountain to praying for rainfall and spiritual training. In this Shrine, there are Ishi-no-ma-zukuri main building, Kaguraden (small stage for dance), old main building, Double dragon gate, festival god house and Zuishin gate.
They are all registered as Important cultural assets of the country. The famous samurai Takeda Shingen came to pray for his success invading enemy’s castile by shooting an arrow to the Yatate Cedars; this tree is now registered as Country of natural monument. Moreover, there are more items that are registered as Important cultural assets of the country. There are many interesting rock sceneries : Misugata Rock, tsuzuraore Rock, Kurakake Rock and Nuboko Rock. Front of their gate, there are many historical inns that are also registered as Important cultural assets of the country.
The vibe they create would be authentic and nostalgic for visitors. People who would like to know more about history of this area, they shall visit Museum of History and Folklore which is located near the gate. Their opening time is 7am～6pm（winter season : until 5pm）. The entrance is free.
From JR Shibukawa station take The Kanetsu Transportation bus Shibukawa – Ikaho Line (Destination : Ikaho Spring ) and get off at Miharashi shita. Then walk about 4 min to Gunma bus service stop Miharashi shita. If you take bus, Ikaho Bus Terminal – Haruna Lake hot spring Yuusuge (Destanation : Haruna Lake hot spring Yuusuge) and get off at Haruna Lake and transfer to Gunma bus. Takasaski station – Hongo – Haruna Lake (Destanation : Takasaki station west exit) and get off at Haruna Shrine. Duration is about 2 hours. Cost is 1680 yen (one way).
2. Getting to Shibukawa Station from Takasaki Station
To get Shibukawa Station from Takasaki station, people need to use JR East Japan (Railway). Take JR Jōetsu Line towards Shibukawa/Minakami or take JR Agatsuma Line towards Nagano Kusatsuguchi entrance/Ohmae (destination: Manza・Kazawaguchi). Jōetsu Line has less than one train every hour on weekdays (9am, 11am, 2 pm) but during weekends and holidays, they have 1-2 train every hour, (except: 11am and 3 pm). Agatsuma Line has only 2 train services during daytime, then 1 train service every hour in the evenings. Duration is about 30 min. Cost is 410 yen.
Getting to Takasaki Station from Tokyo
3. Other Area List
Ikaho Onsen, Shibukawa and Haruna
Shima Onsen – Nakanojo
Oze, Numata and Kawaba
Maebashi, Mt. akagi and Kiryu
Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise is an amusement park island complex. Within Sea Paradise there are 16 different kinds of attractions including a scream machine, “Pleasure Land”, and 4 aquariums with different themes. We strongly recommend that visitors to Hakkeijima Sea Paradise go inside the aquarium where as many as 70,000 sardines can be seen in huge swarms, which is the greatest swarm of sardines in the whole country.
We also recommend seeing the white dolphin which is in the beginning of the sea creature show. East Japan’s first and only whale shark exhibition began here in October of 2018. Many of these planned exhibitions have limited time schedules as seen above, and this characteristic is one of the reasons for the aquarium’s popularity.
- 1. Spot Ranking
- 5th Pleasure Land
- 4th Umi Farm
- 3rd Fureai Lagoon
- 2nd Dolphin Fantasy
- 1st Aqua Museum
- 2. Getting in
- 3. Other Area List
1. Spot ranking in Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise area
5th. Pleasure Land
Pleasure Land is an area made up of various attractions and is located inside Hakkeijima Sea Paradise adjacent to the aquarium. The roller coaster “Surf Coaster Leviathan” is a popular attraction that stands at 13 meters in height and has a loop protruding into the sea.
It occupies a giant area and includes a maze with over 100 different tricks and traps inside. There are over 20 different attractions here that can be enjoyed even in the rain and at night. Hours of operation for December 2018 (not including New Year’s vacation) are 10:00 am to 7:00 pm on weekdays and 10:00 am to 8:00 pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. Since hours of operation vary by month, please check the homepage for details. To be able to enjoy these attractions, you must buy 15 Pleasure Land free ride passes and an aquarium combo package one-day pass.
However, if you don’t purchase the ride pass, you can also enjoy the attractions by paying for each ride individually. Most attractions can be enjoyed for less than 1,000 yen per ride.
4th. Umi Farm
Umi Farm aims to help visitors learn about the natural environment while playing and enjoying creatures of the land and sea through “raising”, “protecting”, and “eating” them. Umi Farm is made up of a “Food Education Zone” and “Ocean Lab”. You can go fishing in the “Food Education Zone”. You can also eat the fish, which is allowed for the purpose of understanding the importance of natural life.
Through the “Ocean Lab” you can observe fish that live in nature under the sea from various perspectives. Also, by participating in the program, you can learn about the ocean ecosystem and improving the environment. Hours of operation for December 2018 (not including New Year’s vacation) are 11:00 am to 6:00 pm on weekdays and 10:00 am to 7:00 pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.
Since hours of operation vary by month, please check the homepage for details. As for the fee, there is no entry package for admission to Umi Farm, purchase of a one-day pass or Aqua Resorts Pass is necessary. In addition, there is a separate charge for fishing and cooking in the “Food Education Zone.”
3th. Fureai Lagoon
Fureai Lagoon is made up of many areas including “Hireashi Beach” where you can get a close-up view of walruses and seals swimming freely in the water. There is an area called “Friendly Circle” where sea lions and penguins appear in comical and popular performances. We recommend “Whale Ocean”. “Whale Ocean”is a show where you can see lively bottlenose dolphins and white dolphins from close-up.
If you are lucky you can touch the dolphins. Hours of operation for December 2018 (not including New Year’s vacation) are 11:00 am to 6:30 pm on weekdays and 10:00 am to 7:00 pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. Since hours of operation vary by month, please check the homepage for details.
As for the fee, there is no entry package for admission to Fureai Lagoon, purchase of a one-day pass or night pass is necessary.
2th. Dolphin Fanstasy
Although“Dolphin Fantasy” is more famous, “Arch Tank” reproduces conditions that are closer to the natural sea. Looking from the bottom of the sea, the rays of the sun come through and shine on the shapes of the dolphins and various fish swimming around creating an illusion.
You can see the dolphin friends playing from close-up. “Dolphin Fantasy” is the best spot to get a picture together with the dolphins. Though there are many souvenir shops around the aquarium, there is a souvenir shop that specializes in dolphin gifts near the entrance to“Dolphin Fantasy”.
By all means please get a memento to remember your time here. Hours of operation for December 2018 (not including New Year’s vacation) are 11:00 am to 7:00 pm on weekdays and 10:00 am to 8:00 pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. Since hours of operation vary by month, please check the homepage for details. As for the fee, there is no entry package for admission to “Dolphin Fantasy”, purchase of a one-day pass or night pass is necessary.
1th. Aqua Museum
The “Aqua Museum” is the main area of Hakkeijima Sea Paradise. The “Aqua Museum” is praised as the largest aquarium in all of Japan, where 700 species and 120,000 living creatures can be seen. The most popular areas are the “Aqua Museum” and “LAB05”.
The “Aqua Museum” has an entertainment show where dolphins, walruses, and sea lions can be seen. “LAB05” is a giant water tank where 70,000 sardines can be seen swimming in swarms. In addition, because large-sized sharks can also be seen in the same water tank, nature is thus almost perfectly reproduced here.
Hours of operation for December 2018 (not including New Year’s vacation) are 10:00 am to 7:00 pm on weekdays and 10:00 am to 8:00 pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. Since hours of operation vary by month, please check the homepage for details. As for the fee, there is no entry package for admission to “Aqua Museum”, purchase of a one-day pass or night pass is necessary.
2. Getting to Hakkeijima Station from Yokohama Station
If you use the Limousine Bus Pass, it takes 1 hour and 15 minutes to get there from Yokohama Station. The fee is 800 yen for an adult. However, there is only one on weekdays and two on weekends and holidays. If you use the train, it takes 30 minutes to get there. The fee is 540 yen. Take JR Keihin Tohoku Negishi Line then change to the Yokohama Seaside Line via Shinsugita Station. Get off at Hakkeijima Station.
Getting to Yokohama station from Tokyo
3. Other area list
Minato Mirai 21
Osanbashi Pier, Bashamichi and Nihon-ōdōri
Yamashita Park and Motomachi – Chukagai (Chinatown)
Yamate – Ishikawachō
Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise
Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum
As one of the Fuji Five Lakes(Fujigoko), ‘Saiko(Lake Saiko)’ is situated in the center of the other 4 lakes, circling around Mt. Fuji together with them. What makes the area special is the unique and beautiful scenery with several volcanic caves, formed during the eruption of Mt. Fuji long ago and wild forests and others.
Relaxing and calm holiday is excellent option but for those who interested in ‘unspoiled nature’, this area offers various nature activities to join. Caving is one of the best recommendations without doubt.
‘Saiko Ryugusai’is an annual festival dedicated to a water goddess. You may enjoy a different view of Mt. Fuji illuminated by fireworks and ‘Toro nagashi’ ceremony, that is a Japan’s own Buddhist ceremony in which paper lanterns are floated down a river and the sea to console the spirits of the dead. You may enjoy this popular summer event without overcrowd at the ‘Saiko Ryugusai’. Quiet and peaceful elegance of Japan is also a charm of the event.
- 1. Spot Ranking
- 5th. Saiko Yachonomori Park
- 4th. Iyashinosato ancient japanese village
- 3rd. Fugaku Wind Cave
- 2nd. Narusawa Ice Cave
- 1st. Lake Saiko
- 2. Getting in
- 3. Other Area List
1. Spot ranking in Lake Saiko area
5th. Saiko Yachonomori Park
Saiko Yachonomori Park(Wild bird’s forest) is surrounded by Aokigahara Jukai and a home to about 210 species of wild birds. It allows visitors to enjoy wild bird watching as well as walking through bird watching room in the‘Jukai Gallery’ room and joining wooden handcraft workshops. If you have your binoculars with you, this is a not-to-miss chance to watch Japan’s indigenous wildbirds.
The park holds the Ice Tree Festival every year from January to February. ‘Jyuhyo Trees(Ice Trees)’ reach over 10 meters high and create fantastical and magical atmosphere being illuminated every night. As this magnificent ice art works can be enjoyed during the winter season only, it is recommended to visit if you are around in this time of year. Opening Hours is 9:00 to 17:00 and closed in Thursday. Admission is Free.
You can take Saiko Sightseeing Bus (Omuni Bus, Green-Line). Boarding section is From Kawaguchiko Sta.to Saiko Yacho-noMori Park/Wild bird’s forest(No.69).
4th. Iyashinosato ancient japanese village
You may be astonished at Iyashinosato ancient Japanese village. Japan’s traditional farming village view and many thatched roof farm houses there are so special. Visitors will find a wide range of cultural and historical attractions such as handcraft workshops and folklore museums here as well as agreeable restaurants with tasty local foods and souvenir shops.
Nenba area was once a populated farming village and was seriously destroyed by a typhoon in 1966. The village was reconstructed after the disaster and came back to life as it is today. The old Watanabe House, located at innermost of the village, is especially recommended. This registered tangible cultural property exhibits remaining Japanese old daily life. Take a chance to enjoy cultural experience to walk in the village wearing Kimono.
Opening Hours is 9:00 to 17:00 (March to November) / 9:30 to 16:30 (December to February). There are no closing days. Admission is 350yen (Adult)/ 150yen (Child).
You can take Saiko Sightseeing Bus (Omuni Bus, Green-Line). Boarding section is from Kawaguchiko Sta.to SaikoIyashi-no-sato-Nenba(No.68).
3rd. Fugaku Wind Cave
Fugaku Wind Cave was used as a natural refrigerator in the past when there was no refrigerating system. The cave measures 201 meters in total lengths and 8.7 meters in heights and features natural lava shelves and ice pillars, which visitors will enjoy during a 15-minute caving tour. The tour is suitable for women and children as the route is relatively easy to walk in.
At the innermost of the cave where visitors will encounter the beautifully shining luminous moss (Scientific name: Schistostega) which grows widely in the area.
“Mori-no-Eki Fuketsu” is a souvenir shop as well as a restaurant, where the visitors can enjoy local delicacy and shopping. Its specialty, `Corn flavored soft-serve ice cream’ is greatly admired even by the locals. The cool climate in the area contributes to make corns taste very sweet.
Opening Hours is 9:00 to 17:00 (the last admission depends on the season), Admission is 350yen (Adult)/ 200yen (Child).
You can take Saiko Sightseeing Bus (Omuni Bus, Green-Line), Boarding section is from Kawaguchiko Sta.to Fugaku Fuketsu/ Wind Cave(No.71).
2nd. Narusawa Ice Cave
With a depth of 21 meters underground, the temperature in the Narusawa Ice Cave is cool even in the summer. Because of its loop like shape, the cave allows visitors to look attractive features in 15 minutes just going round. At the innermost of the cave there is a hole, called ‘Jigoku-ana’ in Japanese.
Its width and depth and other details are unknown because it is not yet investigated. Over 1150 years ago when volcano Nagaoyama erupted, the lava flow outpoured and created this tunnel type cave. Since being nationally designated as a Natural Monument, it has been acknowledged its worldwide significance.
The most attractive feature here is natural ice pillars. Being illuminated, artistic and mysterious expressions of pillars are breathtakingly beautiful. As they grow to a maximum size from April to July, it is recommended to visit during this time of the year, though they are enjoyed until early autumn.
Opening Hours is 9:00 to 17:00 (the last admission depends on the season), Admission is 350yen (Adult)/ 200yen (Child).
Narusawa/Shojiko/Motosuko Sighteseeing Bus(Omuni Bus, Blue-Line), Boarding section is from Kawaguchiko Sta.to Narusawa Ice Cave(No.116).
1th. Lake Saiko
The Fuji Five Lakes lie at the north of Mt. Fuji and Lake Saiko is located at the center of the other 4 lakes. It is a very quiet place compared with Lake Yamanaka or Lake Kawaguchi and the best option for those enjoy peaceful moment in nature. The area is famous for having clean water that is pure enough for a habitat of trout and other fishes. It is also a good place to enjoy marine sports.
The area holds several views photograph well. The north-side of the lake is the best among them which allows photographers to shoot Mt. Fuji and the lake together. You may enjoy walking around the lakeside and find the best place for you.
You can tale Saiko Sightseeing Bus (Omuni Bus, Green-Line), Boarding section is from Kawaguchiko Sta.to East Gate of Lake Saiko (No.77).
2. Getting to Saiko from Kawaguchiko Station
3 Sightseeing Bus services（Omuni Bus）are available departing from Kawaguchiko (Lake Kawaguchi); Blue-Line, Green-Line and Red-Line. Please note that each goes to the different destination and make sure the line you take.
Service Name: Saiko Sightseeing Bus (Omuni Bus, Green-Line). Boarding section is from Kawaguchiko Sta. (No.1)to East Gate of Lake Saiko (No.77). Time required Approx.30 minutes. Fare is 440 Yen in One way. Sightseeing Bus 2 Days Ticket（unlimited-ride for 2days with 1,500yen）is recommended for those who get on and off frequently.
Getting to Kawaguchiko station from Tokyo
3. Other Area list
Lake Ymanakako and Oshino
Lake Kawaguchiko and Fujiyoshida
Fuji City – Fujinomiya
Gotemba – Susono