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Population (approx.): 1.991 million (2012)
Area: 2,457 sq miles
Area Rank: 21
Gunma Prefecture is located in the Kanto region and is one of the eight landlocked prefectures of Japan. Due to its inland location, Gunma has a significance temperature difference during the winter and summer, receiving little precipitation. Gunma is known for its numerous onsen or hot spring resorts including the famous Kusatsu Onsen and Manza Onsen. The water at Kusatsu Onsen is known for its health benefits that are believed to cure illness. It is considered one of Japan’s best onsens. Manza Onsen is a hot spring resort town located on the slopes of Mt. Shirane. Its location, 1800 meters above sea level, and its acidic waters, considered one of the most sulfuric in Japan, makes Manza Onsen a popular destination. Manza Onsen’s waters are also believed to provide health benefits including improving metabolism and helping with blood circulation.
A hot spring town in Gunma famous for its hot springs
A national park known for its Ozegahara Marshland and the Ozenuma Pond
Known as a hot spring of high-quality milky-white water in Gunma
High Quality Silk Production Monitored by Government
Spiritual shrine surrounded by magnificent nature in Gunma
Gunma’s signature dish is the “yaki manju”, roasted soft buns with a sweet and salty miso sauce. The buns of yaki manju are skewered, creating the perfect street snack which has been enjoyed for over 150 years.
“Okkirikomi” is also a local Gunma dish. Okkirikomi is an udon dish featuring wide, thin noodles made from only flour and water, cooked with various vegetables such as taro and daikon in a savory soup.
Gunma is a major producer of konnyaku, accounting for almost 90% of Japan's production. Konnyaku is made from a root plant and has a jelly-like texture. Konnyaku is a popular diet food, comprised of 97% water and 3% dietary fiber. Konnyaku also comes in the form of Shirataki noodles and is served in oden.
The iconic daruma dolls, believed to bring good luck, originated in Gunma Prefecture. Takasaki City in Gunma has continued to be one of the largest producers of daruma. You might ask, how to daruma bring good luck? Well when the daruma dolls are purchased, neither of the pupils are painted. When you purchase a daruma, you first make a wish, then paint the left pupil in. When the wish comes true, you paint the right pupil in. At the end of the year, the daruma doll is then returned to the temple or shrine to be burnt. At the beginning of the new year, another daruma doll is purchased and a new wish is made.
Numata Festival is a large festival in Numata, Gunma in which "mando" (floats) and portable shrines are carried and paraded through the streets. The highlight of the event is when the "daitengu mikoshi", the largest long nose goblin mask shrine in Japan, is carried though town, exclusively by women. Women carry the daitengu mikoshi to pray for the safety of their families. Families and townspeople gather and watch as the strong women carry the daitengu mikoshi through town and enjoy the festive mood. Numata Festival is a 3 day festival held in the beginning of August.