The ease and speed of accessing Gunma from Tokyo is one of its major advantages. You can wake up in the capital and be on the ski slopes or shoulder-deep in an onsen bath before lunch. Most Tokyo routes take you directly to Takasaki, which is served by many local trains and bus routes for your onward journey. Gunma, in the center of Japan, is easy to reach from other major cities, including Osaka, Kyoto, and Sapporo.
Getting to Gunma from Tokyo by train is quick and easy. The Joetsu and Hokuriku shinkansen lines run throughout the day from Tokyo to Takasaki in around 50 minutes, or to Jomo-Kogen Station (Joetsu only) in about 1 hour 10 minutes. Cheaper but slower options include local lines, which take around 1 hour 50 mins to Takasaki Station. The Limited Express Kusatsu runs from Tokyo’s Ueno Station to the nearest stations to Kusatsu Onsen, Shima Onsen, and Ikaho Onsen, where you can change to local buses.
Visitors coming from Nagano can take the Hokuriku Shinkansen to Takasaki.
The JR passes covering Gunma include unlimited travel on trains between Tokyo and Gunma during their validity period, so they can be a great way to save money.
Expressway buses run directly from Tokyo to some of Gunma's most popular resorts. Direct buses run from Tokyo, Shibuya, and Shinjuku stations to Kusatsu in around four hours. Buses for Shima Onsen depart from Tokyo Station and take about 3.5 hours. Routes from Shinjuku reach Ikaho Onsen in 2.5 hours and Tokura or Oshimizu (gateways to Oze National Park) in about 4 hours 40 minutes. From Tokura or Oshimizu, transfer to a local bus.
Some expressway buses to Kusatsu Onsen and Ikaho Onsen operated by JR are covered by either of the JR East passes.
The drive to Gunma from Tokyo is a straightforward one, with the main highway passing through the prefecture’s biggest cities—Takasaki and Maebashi. The drive is time consuming and tolls are expensive, so it is recommended that you arrive in Gunma by public transportation and rent a car upon arrival. There are many rental outlets near Takasaki Station, and a few around other popular stations.
Those coming from Nagano can take the Joshin-Etsu Expressway connecting the two prefectures.
*You will need a valid driving license for Japan, such as an International Driving Permit (IDP) or legal translation of your license, depending on which country issued your license.
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