Oigami (Gunma-ken) [E]

#1:  Oigami (Gunma-ken) [E] Author: sanji

Location : Oigami Onsen
Prefecture : Gunma-ken
Attractions : small, calm village with nice onsen, as well as a unique waterfall

When : all year round, but especially nice during the koyo season
Access :
- by car, 160 km from Tokyo - take the Kan-etsu highway, get out at Numata and it takes 20 km to reach Oigami; Less than 2 hours if there is no traffic;
- by public transportations, train to Jomo-kogen (shinkansen Tanigawa) and then 70 minutes by bus.

Oigami is located in Gunma-ken, close to the border with Tochigi-ken. Although famous for its onsen, it is seldom visited, and therefore a really nice place to enjoy a clam, relaxing day-trip to an onsen from Tokyo.

The legend says that a war between two gods took place in the area. The god of the Akagi mountain and the one of the Nantai mountain were fighting to solve some territoral issue, when the god of the Akagi mountain - which is represented as a snake - got badly wonded and had to retrieve. Exstausted, he put his bow on the ground, and immediately hot water started to spring from the ground at that same place; the god decided to heal his wounds in this newly formed onsen, and immediately regained strength, which allowed him to fight back and eventually destroy this opponent's army... After the battle, the onsen was called Oigami ("chased god", which later became "old god").

If you are searching an onsen, Gorokaku would probably be an excellent choice. This ryokan has three outside mixed bathes, all made of stones, and offer a nice view on the montains.
Entrance fee : 1000 yens
Bathing time from 12:00 to 20:00
Phone : 0278-56-2555

Interesting events in Oigami:

  • The annual "Snake Festival" (May 7th-8th), based on the story of the victory of the god who discover/created the onsen in Oigami;
  • The morning market (from May to November)

Fukiware waterfall

A couple of kilometers from Oigami is the most interesting spot of the area: the Fukiware fall on the Katashina river. Although the dimensions of the fall themselves are modest - 8 meters high, about 20 meters long - the fall looks like if it had splited a huge rock in two. The waterfall has a U-shape, and visitors can come very close to the waterfall; furthermore, there is no fence, leaving the scenary mostly untouched.
In winter, the frozen waterfall offers an incredible sight. Further north, the famous Oze marshland can be found.

Interesting links

Outdoor Japan - Area Guide: some information on the interesting spots in the Mina-Kami - Oze area.

Oyunomogatari: history and details on Oigami onsen.

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