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Gunma, Nature's Heart
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Special Products
Among Gunma's major attractions are its folk arts and crafts, such as kokeshi dolls which are highly acclaimed as interior decorations. Daruma dolls are hollow and round Japanese wish dolls. A symbol of good luck and protection in Japan, a Daruma doll is traditionally given to someone starting a new venture or at the beginning of a New Year. In addition, there are traditional Kiryu weaving, woodworking, pottery, craft glass arts and others nurtured by the history and the natural environment of the prefecture. Why not take home some of these artistic works as remembrances of your trip? Gunma is also proud of its local cuisine and regional sake or rice wine, its Udon (wheat noodles) and its Soba (buckwheat noodles), its Yakimanjyu (roasted bean-jam buns) and its Onsen-manjyu (hot spring buns).
Folk Crafts
Kokeshi dolls
Kokeshi dolls
These are made by peeling the bark off dried wood, shaping it on a lathe and polishing and decorating it with paint, to create "modern kokeshi." The beauty and exposure of the wood grain creates dolls that are highly regarded originals for interior decoration.
Daruma dolls
Daruma dolls
Daruma dolls are hollow and round Japanese wish dolls. A symbol of good luck and protection in Japan, a Daruma doll is traditionally given to someone starting a new venture or at the beginning of a New Year. At the start of an endeavor, one eye is painted and a wish is made for good luck. The other eye is painted when the goal is reached. Gunma is well known as the largest production centers of Daruma dolls.
Kiryu weaving
Kiryu weaving
Gunma leads Japan in the production of silk woven from raw thread and, as such, its products are well known world-wide.
Woodworking
Woodworking
Gunma has traditionally produced a large output of woodwork products, including Numata City mulberry ware, lathe work and paulownia wooden 'geta' or sandals, as well as Kuni Village's wooden round lunch boxes, kneading troughs and paulownia wood tubs, in all sizes suitable for a variety of uses.
Glass crafts
Glass crafts
At the Haruna Glass Complex in Shinto Village at the base of Mt. Haruna, in Tsukiyono Bidoro Park in Tsukiyono Town, glass manufacturing and creativity can be observed and the making of hand-crafted glass experienced.
Pottery
Pottery
The prefecture has facilities in various areas where pottery making can be experienced, including Jiseiji pottery in Annaka City, the Soil and Fire's Home Park in Fujioka City, Takuminosato in Niiharu Village, and Tsukiyono Yakiboto Hall in Tsukiyono Town.
Specialty Products
Yakimanjyu (Roasted bean-paste buns)
Yakimanjyu (Roasted bean-paste buns)
A specialty of Gunma Prefecture, these manju are made without red-bean paste, but are instead coated in a sugar and soybean paste before being grilled and eaten while still piping hot.
Udon (Wheat noodles)
Udon (Wheat noodles)
Made from Gunma-grown wheat, these are said to be the best in Japan. Especially famous for use of wheat noodles in local cuisine are Mizusawa, Tatebayashi, Kiryu and various other locations.
Local sake (Rice Wine)
Local sake (Rice Wine)
Tradition has it that good sake is derived from a combination of high-quality rice and superior-quality water. Gunma, with its abundant, fresh water supply is virtually a treasure trove of delicious local sake.
Onsen-Manjyu (Hot spring buns)
Onsen-Manjyu (Hot spring buns)
These are bite-size thin-skinned buns filled with zesty bean jam that are a "must" to be tasted in such hot spring areas as Kusatsu, Ikaho and Minakami.
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