Of the 44 Jomo Karuta cards, the 18th goes: Gunma Prefecture is shaped like a crane in flight. Itakura is the crane's beak. There is a point in the town where the two great rivers of Watarase and Tone join. Because of this landscape, Itakura has been susceptible to floods since ancient times. Between the late 1400s and the late 1800s, governments spent a lot of money and labor on water control and water supply systems projects. As a result, a fertile breadbasket and a rich eco system were created that Itakura enjoys today. You can still witness some of the remains of old flood control projects today. These outstanding achievements of our predecessors have nurtured cohabitation culture between humans and water, and in August 2011 the area was designated as a national Important Cultural Landscape. So, Itakura is all about water.
Agebune boat ride
An agebune is a small boat local people kept in their homes to use as a means of transportation when the town was flooded. A one-hour boat ride over a 2-kilometer course on the Yata River runs through the town between May and October.
Borders of three prefectures
There is a geographical point in Itakura, where borders of three neighboring prefectures meet in the middle of rice paddies. There are about 40 such locations in the country, but this is just about the only one easily accessible on foot.
Raiden Jinja Shrine
There are many Raiden Jinja shrines across the country. Literally translated, Raiden is God of Thunder. They are enshrined to protect people from the harm caused by lightning, thunderstorms, etc.
Watarase Yusuichi Wetland (Ramsar Convention Registered)
The Watarase Yusuichi wetland is among the 50 sites (as of November 2017) that have been registered under the Ramsar Convention in Japan. Yoshi (common reed grass) cluster together in the wetland, and they are set on fire in early spring to 1) exterminate harmful insects 2) prevent fires caused by spontaneous combustion, which could happen if they are left unattended, and 3) protect wetland environments. It is a seasonal event taking place in early spring and is often reported in the news.
Itakura's famous Namazu fresh-water fish cuisine
Namazu is a kind of catfish. Because of the water-rich environment, Itakura merchants had good business with selling river fish. Restaurants offered local fresh-water fish cuisine to out-of-town visitors along the roads leading to the Raiden Jinja Shrine. Tempura deep fried catfish is the most famous dish and is very popular even to this day.
Itakura-machi Chamber of Commerce
1691-1 Itakura, Itakura-machi, Oura-gun
Itakura Town Hall
2067 Itakura, Itakura-machi, Oura-gun