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Off the Beaten Track: Gunma Prefecture
By:Josh Shulman

Still figuring out what to see during your trip to one of the world's most renowned travel destinations? If you are adventurous enough you will have the opportunity to discover and experience some rarely explored regions in Japan. Gunma Prefecture is one such place, where untouched nature flourishes, magnificent mountains soar high into clear skies, and hot water gushes out of the earth for your bathing pleasure. Travelers from around the world visit this region to find peace of mind. In the mountainous Gunma Prefecture and nearby plateaus, you can enjoy activities ranging from golf to rafting to skiing, as well as numerous other forms of outdoor recreation.

Following are some of the attractions of Gunma Prefecture, though there is no limit to exploring Gunma's natural beauty:

Oze National Park

Does hiking tickle your sense of expedition? If so, the Oze National Park is your kind of place. It is located about 150 kilometers outside of Tokyo. Highlights of the park are the Ozenuma Pond, the Ozegahara Marshland and the incredible surrounding mountains. Ozegahara Marshland is one kilometer wide and six kilometers long. You will also find numerous small and distinct pools within the marshland. During the months of May and June, Oze National Park is covered with white skunk cabbages that bloom all over the Ozegahara Marshland. At the eastern end of the marshland, you will find the Ozenuma Pond, which consists of a six kilometer path to stroll along.

Minakami

Minakami is a mountainous hot spring resort town located in the northern side of Gunma Prefecture. Minakami is among the best hot spring resorts in the prefecture, and Takaragawa Onsen specifically is one of the most famous baths in Gunma. Around the resort, you can also spend a day out in any of the ski resorts that are located around the Minakami Valley.

Ikaho Onsen

Another famous hot spring resort in Gunma Prefecture is Ikaho Onsen. Its thermal waters have a high concentration of iron. The resort town is famous for its stone stairs that lead up to the town center where you will find old fashioned game arcades, shops and ryokans.

Josh Shulman, Author of "All-You-Can Japan: Getting the Most Bang For Your Yen" [ http://www.allyoucanjapan.com ]






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