Lake Shima is located at 15 minutes by car or bus from Nakanojo Station and 8km from Shima Onsen. Shima Onsen is one of the most famous onsens in Gunma, and the oldest one.
Situated near a tiny village, surrounded by the Takayama mountain and forest, it is an artificial lake made by the construction of the Nakanojo Dam. This dam was constructed between 1957 to 1960.
Right next to the road, coming from Nakanojo, there is free parking. You can access the dam from the parking lot. At the bottom of the dam, there is a glimpse of the Shima River. I went to the other side of the lake until the forest trail started. Next to it, I met a fisherman.
Suddenly, I heard some noises coming from the forest. The fisherman told me that it might be some monkeys fighting or a monkey family playing. To make them go away, he started to make noise. I still wanted to explore a little bit more and tour the lake when he said to be careful of the bears. Being that close to town, I was not aware there might be bears around there. However, as the lake is right next to a forest, there are many wild animals: bears, monkeys, boar and ‘tanuki’.
In order to explore more, I went by car to the Shima Ohashi bridge opposite the dam. It takes only 5 minutes by car. From there, there is a great view of the dam and the clear water color looks blue, even turquoise, or sometimes dark blue. The color of the lake depends on the weather or the time of the visit. I went around 5 pm, during the golden hours before the sunset.