Kawaba Denen Plaza is an award winning roadside station in Kawaba Village, Gunma. It has won the coveted "best roadside station in Kanto" award five years on a row. It is located in an area known for its apple orchards and picking farms. Avid skiers are familiar with the area too for its winter snow sports. And in the summer you can actually pick blueberries right here at the roadside rest area.
The roadside station is more like a resort than a service and parking area. Apart from blueberry picking, the rest area has several other attractions that are rarely found at a public roadside service area. For example, you can take craft and pottery classes or take a tour of the beer brewery. Kids can play for hours in the free playground with grass slides, climbing, slides, and a flying fox.
There are several eateries many of which have both eat in and take out options. You can shop at the farmer's market or at one of the souvenir shops. Kawaba Denen even has accommodation choices in the hotel with a hot spring or across the road in the camping grounds which have a glamping option too.
Parking and toilets are open 24 hours, but the main shopping area is open from 9 am to 5 pm. Individual shops may have separate opening hours.
By car: Kawaba Denen Plaza is approximately a 10 minute drive from the Numata Interchange of the Kanetsu expressway. There are seven car parks that can accommodate approximately 700 cars.
By public transport: You can either take a bus from Joetsu Line Numata Station or a taxi from Joetsu (Shinkansen) Jomo Kogen station.
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Lynda has been in Japan for 20 years and blogging about Saitama on her personal blog insaitama.com for 14 of them. Despite its central location, just North of Tokyo, Saitama is still quite unknown to the international tourist, but frequented by domestic travelers. It is a great place to experience some off-the-international-tourist-trail locations and meet with locals and national tourists. I hope to introduce a taste of what there is to do and see in my articles on Japan Travel and help you with your Saitama travel planning. Be sure to stop by my website where you will find 600 things to do in Saitama and 400 active events!