A famously active volcano 2,568 meters tall straddling the border between Nagano Prefecture and Gunma Prefecture. The mountain is believed to have been active for several hundred thousand years and continues to make noise today. Asama Plateau Rhododendron Park is located at the foot of the mountain, and here from May through June, some 150 thousand large flowering rhododendrons delight visitors with the beauty of their blossoms. The park is also beautiful year-round and offers seasonal scenery such as Japanese azaleas and fireweed as well as Japanese larch foliage in the fall.
Tsumagoi village in Agatsuma-gun, Gunma prefecture [map]
- Kurofu Course (Kurumazatoge Pass): This trail leads from Kurumazaka Pass toward the summit of Mt. Maekake via Yarigasaya, Tominokashira, Mt. Kurofu, Mt. Jakotsu, Mt. Sennin, J-Band, and the Sai no Kawara junction. It climbs about 620 meters. Several meters past the Cherry Park Line, the route splits into the Ura Course and Naka Course. The Ura course has lots of wide open observation points, so it's best for the climb. The Naka Course is shorter, so it's best for the descent. The Yarigasaya Volcano Shelter is along the way, driving home the reality that Mt. Asama is an active volcano. This location offers a strong taste of the swiftly changing pleasures of mountain hiking.
- Volcano Museum Course Asama Sanso: This route heads toward Maekake peak from the first Torii of Asama Sanso via the Volcano Museum, Yunotairaguchi, and the Sai no Kawara junction. The trail climbs about 1,100 meters. The initial stage from the trailhead climbs gently through forest land. After you pass through the first Torii, the trail branches into the Mountain Side course and Valley Side course. The two courses converge at the second Torii, where the so-called long slope starts. The Volcano Museum is usually open as a free rest station, and the first floor serves as an emergency shelter in case of eruption. Tominokashira, fittingly called Mt. Asama's best outlook, is formed on the crater rim and offers an incredibly beautiful view of the mountain landscape stretching to Mt. Kurofu, its sever rocks outlined against the brilliant blue sky.
Information Sources: NAVITIME JAPAN
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Gunma Main Areas
Gunma prefecture is synonymous with onsen. Natural hot spring water sources throughout the prefecture have given rise to a series of small onsen towns, each set among luscious mountains. At Kusatsu, Ikaho, and Minakami, traditional indoor and outdoor bathing experiences are served hand in hand with irresistible onsen-themed food, including steam-cooked eggs and custard pudding.