The current prefectural government building, dubbed as the landmark of Gunma, opened on September 6, 1999. At a height of 153.8 meters, there is a lot of free space in and around the building for Gunma citizens to use. In this issue, we will discuss some of these spaces.
Seventy-five seconds after boarding the glass-paneled elevator, you arrive at the observation deck where you will have a bird's eye view of Gunma. Guides are available during open hours and answer any questions you may have. Eating is not allowed on the deck, but you can take the stairs down one floor to the observation salon where you'll find a few tables with chairs, as well as a counter facing the window. A Japanese and a Western-style restaurant are in operation on the same floor. Also on the 31st floor, tourist information from all parts of Gunma is displayed at the Tourism and Local Products Exhibition Corner.
At the Fureai Terrace on the 26th floor, there's a 1/12,000 scale diorama of Gunma that you can walk on. As you may know, mountains make up two thirds of Gunma's terrain, and the diorama shows them very clearly.
The Citizen's Center on the 2nd floor has various documents and books about Gunma, some of which are for sale. There are also educational videos available to watch in English and other foreign languages. All cities, towns, and villages of Gunma have a box for their own tourist information there. Goods featuring Gunma-chan, the mascot character of Gunma, are also on sale.
The Citizen's Hall on the first floor offers a variety of events throughout the year, including the local produce marketplace, Japanese traditional dance performances.
All of these spaces are built to be used by the citizens of Gunma. The facility is user-friendly for physically handicapped citizens, vision-impaired citizens, and parents with young children. Some of the bathrooms are equipped with changing tables, all floors have Braille signboards installed, and wheelchairs are readily available.
The building is open to public from 8:30 to 22:00 on weekdays, and between 9:00 and 22:00 on weekends. The parking area is open throughout the year from 8:00 to 22:30. The first two hours are free and JPY100 for every additional 30 minutes. On New Year's Day, the parking area opens at 5:45 a.m. but will be closed a few hours in the afternoon when the Ekiden runners reach the finish line at the prefectural building. Why not plan a trip to the prefectural government building some day?