Saturday, March 22, 2008

Minakami-onsen Hot Spring and Mt. Tanigawa

During my On- the job training in Japan, I have been to this hot spring resort where I have enjoyed numerous outdoor sports. Minakami-onsen (hot spring resort) is located in the northern part of Gunma. It is said to have been found in around 16th century and is a generic term for Minakami, Yubiso, Tanigawa, Unose, Takaragawa, and Yunokoya Spas.

In getting there, take a bus from Jyomo Heights to Minakami Onsen, which takes about 10 minutes. In order to get to Mt. Tanigawa, take another bus from Jyomo Heights to Tanigawa Ropeway, which takes about 55 minutes. Tokyo Station is about 2 hours 30 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station by the JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line.

We can have the chance to view fine views of Mt. Tanigawa, Mt. Hotaka, Mt. Shibutsu. The town has several scenic spots such as Lake Fujiwara-ko, Lake Togen-ko, and Lake Okutone-ko. The town is also known for its skiing grounds such as Tenjindaira slopes. You can also enjoy outdoor sports like rafting. But I never tried. Maybe I will on my next visit.

Mt. Tanigawa is a mountain located in the northwestern part of Gumma, on the border with Niigata. The mountain belongs to Jyoshinetsu Heights National Park. It consists of two peaks, Tomano-mimi and Okino-mini, also called the two mimis (two ears). It is also known as the lowest mountain in Honshuu that keeps perpetual snow. It takes about 10 minutes to cover the 2.3 kilometers between Tanigawa-Doaiguchi and Tenjindaira, 1,321 meters above sea level, by the Tanigawadake Ropeway. The grandeur of the Tanigawa Mountains enjoyed from the window of the ropeway car never fails to fascinate.

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