Maebashi City is an exciting art and nature city 70 minutes north of Tokyo. At first glance, Maebashi seems like just another Japanese city, but once you understand what lies below, you’ll discover that this city holds quite a lot of unique attractions.
For example, Central Maebashi is quickly becoming known as the city of art. Not only are museums (Arts Maebashi), galleries (Maebashi Galleria), and art hotels (Shiroiya Hotel) popping up, but art pieces and beautiful architecture is being created in places like old shopping arcades and even backstreet toilets.
30 min north is Mout Akagi, which is heaven for nature lovers. Visitors can trek the trails, hire bicycles, or even go Wakasagi fishing by drilling holes through the frozen lake in the winter!
There are also a few notable events during the year. In early April, the mountainside of Mount Akagi becomes a beautiful pink at the Akaginamen Senbonzakura event (click for event information), and in July there is a large Tanabata festival with beautiful paper decorations. In the winter (Jan -March) Onuma Lake in Mout Akagi freezes, and people gather from afar to go Wakasagi fishing on the frozen lake.
When visiting, the easiest way to get to Maebashi City from Tokyo is by train. Take the JR Joetsu Shinkansen/Hokuriku Shinkansen to JR Takasaki (55min) and change to JR Ryomo Line to JR Maebashi Station (15min). If you prefer, you can also take a taxi from JR Takasaki Station instead of taking the JR Ryomo line.
From Tokyo to JR Maebashi Station.
Maebashi is the capital of Gunma Prefecture so there is a very wide variety of Japanese restaurants to choose from. From fine dining that offers Jyushu Wagyu beef and “Ginhikari”, the highest grade rainbow trout, to local delights such as soba, yakitori, Japanese curry rice, katsu don and buta don.
Maebashi is a large city and has many Western-style restaurants. You can find anything from high-end French cuisine and Steak restaurants serving the best local Wagyu to cafes, pasta shops and very affordable family restaurants.
Sauce Katsudon（ソースカツ丼）is an iconic dish that features a perfectly crispy pork cutlet in a delicious sauce and served atop a bed of fluffy rice. Don’t miss your chance to savor the essence of Maebashi through this unforgettable flavor.
There are budget business-style Western hotels to choose from, as well as a few luxury art hotels including the Shiroiya Hotel which features many famous contemporary artists from around the world. Towards Mt. Akagi visitors can also find glamping sites.
Most hotels in central Maebashi are Western , but Japanese-style ryokans with onsen baths can be found on the foot hills of Mt Akagi.
Shiroiya Hotel is a one-of-a-kind boutique hotel where contemporary art and rich history merge seamlessly. This innovative luxury hotel designed by Sou Fujimoto features striking installations, like Leandro Erlich’s ‘Lighting Pipes,’ and guest rooms displaying works by international artists.
Each of these places are within a day trip away. Click on the image to find out more.