Annaka is situated in the western part of Gunma, bordering the famous resort town of Karuizawa in Nagano Prefecture and has 497 foreign residents (0.8% of total population) according to the latest statistics.
The city has been on an important part of the road since ancient times. The Nakasendo, one of the five major roads in the Edo Period (1603-1868) had a Shukuba (posting station) and a Sekisho (checkpoint) in Annaka. In 2018, Annaka still remains as such, as evidenced by its one Shinkansen bullet train stop and two expressway exits.
Annaka is also an onsen town. Isobe Onsen is famous for being the birthplace of the onsen symbol. Yana is another big tourist attraction. It is a trap set up on the river to catch freshwater fish like smelt. Broiled freshwater fish from the clearwaters of Usui River are very delicious. Using its rich tourism resources, the city is working very hard to increase visitors from both within and outside of Gunma.
Recommended tourist spots
Cherry blossoms and onsen
Annaka has a number of great cherry blossom-viewing spots. Gokan Joshi Koen (Old ruins of Gokan Castle Park) has walking paths in place, and you can enjoy the beautiful flowers at your own pace.
Gunma's three major bairin (plum-grove parks)
Gunma is the second largest producer of plums. Eating plums may not be so popular outside of Japan, but plums are big business here. Since olden times, plums have been considered good for health. Pickled plums are probably the most popular form of eating them. Gunma ranks second (5,310 ton) after Wakayama (19,900 ton) in total shipment volume. Akima Bairin, Haruna Bairin, and Misato Bairin are Gunma's three major plum-grove parks. Visitors flock to these parks in early spring when the full-fledged flower-viewing season kicks off in Gunma.