Gunma

Restaurant Guide in Gunma

Gunma prefecture is in the northwestern part of the Kanto region and is one of the inland prefectures that do not face the ocean. Population is mostly concentrated in the capital city of Maebashi and Takasaki city where the bullet train stops. There are three words that represent the special characteristics of Gunma: “thunder” of the summer, “dry wind” of th

e winter, and “women in control.” Although thunders can bring damages by lightening, since it also brings rain that is indispensable for agricultural production, about 20 old shrines dedicated to God of Thunder still remain in the prefecture. “Dry wind” is the dry and cold wind that blows in winter, and many houses have a wind break fence called kashigune on the north side. Dry wind led to the development of traditional crafts and products made by “drying” such as the traditional daruma doll as well as konnyaku, dried daikon radish, and sweet potatoes. As for “women in control,” since sericulture, silk reeling, and the textile industry were thriving in the area since the Edo period, women engaging in these industries earned high incomes. Thus, the term came to be used to admire women who supported their families. As for the food culture, since the dry wind is suited for growing wheat, many dishes using wheat developed such as udon, yakimochi (grilled mochi), and miso manju (miso bun). In particular, Kiryu city is known for its udon, and there is even a common saying, “in the west, there is Sanuki, and in the east, there is Kiryu.” There are different types of vegetables that have become local specialty products such as cabbage grown in the elevated and cool area of Tsumagoi and konnyaku in Shimonita. As for tourist spots, Kusatsu hot springs that Hayashi Razan, a Confucian scholar of the Edo period, had considered one of the three best hot springs in Japan, is well-known. Since Gunma prefecture is located at the center of the Japanese archipelago, Shibukawa city, as the “bellybutton city” of Japan, holds an annual Shibukawa Heso Matsuri (bellybutton festival) in July.

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