Formerly known as 上野国 (kozuke no kuni), Gunma prefecture is a countryside prefecture in Japan that’s known for its hot springs and Japanese-style inns. There are a number of hot springs and Japanese-style inns in this prefecture that are particularly well-known. One of such Japanese-style inns is 積善館 (sekizenkan). For those Japanese cartoon fans, this is one place that you’re sure to have heard of as this Japanese-style inn was one of the models for the bathhouse that was featured in the Studio Ghibli movie "Spirited Away". This is a very unique three-story Japanese-style inn that when stepping inside makes one feel as if they’ve jumped into the world of Studio Ghibli.
When it comes to the hot springs in Gunma prefecture, there are some that just like Sekizenkan have been featured in movies. One that is particularly well-known is 宝川温泉汪泉閣 (takaragawa onsen ōsenkaku). This hot spring was featured in a movie called "Thermae Romae", a movie based on a Japanese comic about bathhouses in Japan. Takaragawa Onsen Ōsenkaku is not only a Japanese hot spring that is enjoyed by the Japanese but is now a hot spring that is very popular with foreign tourists too.
Gunma prefecture, however, is not just a prefecture known for its hot springs and Japanese-style inns. Wherever you go in Japan, there is (usually) a particular food that the prefecture or city of that prefecture is well-known for. As you’d expect, that particular food is usually some type of Japanese food. However, one food that Gunma prefecture is known for is not actually a type of Japanese food. The city of Takasaki in Gunma prefecture is referred to as the “pasta city”. There are more restaurants serving pasta in this city than in any other city in Japan, and also boasts the highest consumption of pasta in all of Japan.
With a cute horse mascot known as ぐんまちゃん (gunma-chan), Gunma prefecture is easy to get to from Tokyo and makes for the perfect prefecture for those of you who want to get away for a weekend and relax.