By Akio Negishi
Sometimes I am desperate to go to Akagi Shrine and the lake near the 6,000-foot peak of Mr. Akagi by my motorcycle. The way to get there, going though beautiful mountain winding roads and seeing the shrine beside the beautiful lake refreshes and calms me even though I am not religious. Akagi Shrine is a well known sightseeing place for many people. Many visitors from other prefectures tour by bus or car to enjoy each season; cherry blossoms in the spring to changing leaves in the fall. You can take in the delights of nature in all four seasons.
The shrine is used for many purposes. People come and invoke the spirits when they get pregnant, when naming their newborn baby, during the Seven-Five-Three Festival (for 3-year-old boys and girls, 5-year-old boys and 7-year-old girls), to perform an exorcism, and so on. If you are lucky, you will be able to see such events at the shrine. The most crowded period is New Year's eve. The summer festival is another big event. Usually it is held at the beginning of August, and you can enjoy seeing Japanese traditional archery. At the lake, boat riding and fishing are available in the day time. These events are memorable experiences in Japan.
The shrine is located in the north-east part of Onuma (directly translated as “Big Lake”) near the peak of Mt. Akagi. There are three routes to get there: the main south route (Road 4), south route (Road 16), and north route (Road 251). I recommend using the main south route because it’s well paved and wide enough to drive on the whole way. If you want to try a different course coming back, the north route is also nice for enjoying the nature. This one is also paved but narrower, creating a nice effect going in between the trees. Please refer to this YouTube video if you like.
Although a car is the best way go there, you can also use public transportation. The nearest station is JR Maebashi St. on the Ryomo line. Take the Kan Etsu Koutsu Bus (関越交通バス) from there bound for Fujimi Onsen (富士見温泉) for about 30 min, and then change to another bus at the final stop bound for the Akagi Visitor Center (赤城山ビジターセンター), about 40 more min. However, I strongly recommend you to rent a car so you can enjoy the driving, save time, and stop by some nice view points.
Why don’t you go to Akagi Shrine and the lake when the weather is nice? You may have a chance to refresh yourself and experience Japanese culture on the beautiful lakeside.
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Hi I'm Akio, and I'm running an international trading company in Isesaki city, Gunma. I really like to travel around the world, and I have visited more than 20 countries in my life. I made a lot of friends and networks in many countries. This is because the power of English. I don't speak other language except Japanese, but I am able to communicate through English. I enjoy speaking and writing in English to get to know new people.I also like domestic travel as well, so I would like you to introduce wonderful places where only local people know here in Gunma. Let's discover it together.