There is a river that runs through the center of Uenomura Village—or rather, you could say most major roads and gathering places in Uenomura run along the river. This major feature of the village is called the Kanna River, and it is known for its startling clear waters flowing out from the nearby mountains. Because it’s so clean and refreshing, local children and adults alike love to play, swim, wade, and float in the river and its tributaries. This 1-day itinerary lets you sample several spots where you can see for yourself why these waters are so popular!
Tips for enjoying the river
- Bring a bathing suit or clothes you can get wet in, and a towel. Don’t forget a change of clothes too!
- The bottom of the river is covered in slippery rocks, so water shoes are recommended.
- The current can be very strong in some parts of the river, and it can get deep very suddenly. Please be careful when entering the river and watch your children at all times.
- The river is very clean, so there’s no need to wash off afterwards. However, if you’d like to wash the river off, Villa Seseragi’s day spa is a great option—or just a book a room for the night!
- Ryujin Falls and Campground
- Roadside Station Ueno
- Fukujuan soba noodle shop
- Villa Seseragi hotel and riverbank
First Stop: Ryujin Falls
We went to test out the river for ourselves this summer. Our first stop was Ryujin Falls, or Ryuji No Taki in Japanese. We drove to Noguri Campground and walked over to the falls from there.
(Note Noguri Campground is temporarily closed as of June 2021)
Legend has it a great serpent once lived in the waterfall, and it’s easy to imagine why: The winding path of the water as if falls down several cliff faces indeed looks like a mythical snake. Super clear water reflecting sunlight and surrounded by greenery, the waterfall was quite a pleasant sight.
The stream running off of it is a great place to splash around and get your feet wet. And the water at the base of the falls is shallow, so you can walk right up and touch them—or maybe even try sitting under them!
We didn’t stay at the campground that day, but it looked like a nice space. There were spots for tents and you could drive your car up right next to them, so very convenient. Facilities included a small toilet and some outdoor sinks with running water.
Ryujin Falls can be accessed by walking through Noguri Campground. The falls are open to everyone, not just campers.
Noguri Campground details
NOTE: The campground is temporarily closed as of June 2021
|Address||831 Nippa, Ueno, Tano District, Gunma 370-1611|
|Price||￥1,000 per campsite|
|Operating season||April 1st – around November 30th|
The end of season sometimes changes, so please inquire in advance about use in November
Roadside Station Ueno
We then headed to Roadside Station Ueno, one of the village’s visitors’ centers. There are lots of different souvenirs for sale, as well as local produce including super fresh shiitake mushrooms.
There are two dining options inside the center: a general cafeteria with Japanese food full of local specialties, and a terrace BBQ area where you can order a set of ingredients to grill on tabletop grills. Both options feature plenty of inobuta meat, a cross between domestic pig and wild boar that’s been specially bred right here in Uenomura!
There’s a large deck in the back of the visitors’ center where you can relax and take in the view of the river.
From the deck, there are stairs leading down to the riverbank. This section of the river behind the roadside station is another great spot to try wading or playing in the water. There’s a wide gravel beach with space to set down a blanket or chairs, and some good rocks for perching on as well.
By the way, Roadside Station Ueno is where you’ll need to go if you want to buy a fishing ticket. Anyone who wants to go fishing in the river—here at the roadside station or anywhere else—is required to buy a ticket. It costs 2,000 yen, and you can buy it from this machine here.
Roadside Station Ueno
|Address||131 Katsuyama Ko, Ueno, Tano District, Gunma 370-1613|
|Hours||Shop: 9:00 AM to 6:30 PM every day |
Restaurant: 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM (closed on Thursdays)
※Hours may change during winter months, so be sure to call ahead.
Fukujuan soba noodle shop
Just across the street from the visitors’ center is a nice little soba noodle shop. This is where we went for lunch. They’ve got cold and hot soba noodles, tempura, and other goodies, and all their dishes use fresh local ingredients.
We all got cold soba noodles, which really hit the spot in the summer heat. The cold noodles are served on a sheet of bamboo, and you eat them by dipping them into the soup one bite at a time. This authentic style of eating is a great way to savor the handmade noodles! Our sets came with tempura fried in deliciously flaky batter.
|Address||1095 Katsuyama, Ueno, Tano District, Gunma 370-1613|
|Hours||11:00 AM ～3:00 PM (2:45 last order)|
※Hours may change during winter months.
Villa Seseragi hotel and riverbank
Lastly, we headed out to Villa Seseragi to enjoy the river in back of it. There are lots of spots where you can enter the river here, and it’s nice and cool in the summer.
Some parts were deep and had strong, fast currents the day we went. Remember to watch young children carefully.
You can park right on the river beach and there’s a public restroom so you can get changed there if you need to. There’s a nice grassy field to lounge around in as well.
After refreshing ourselves in the river, we headed into Villa Seseragi, where we would be staying for the night. This small western-style hotel is great for customers who may not be used to sleeping on futon mats on the floor. But if you want a more traditional Japanese experience, don’t worry! They have Japanese-style tatami rooms as well!
The lobby features a communal seating area with a massive window on one side looking out onto the river and the surrounding mountains. What a great place to relax after your bath.
Speaking of baths, the hotel’s onsen facility, called Koya Onsen, features water rich in fluoride that is said to have a number of health benefits. The hotel prides itself in the quality of its hot spring water, displaying its certifications on the wall as you enter.
Though the hotel has a western feel to it, they offer traditional kaiseki cuisine that is simply to die for. The menu features local ingredients, including Uenomura’s special Jukkoku Miso.
Everything was delicious, but the chef’s fish fritters stole the show.
And a trip to Uenomura wouldn’t be complete without a taste of inobuta pork, bred by mixing domestic pigs with wild boars. It goes great in nabe, adding a more complex flavor than your average pork.
Villa Seseragi info
|Address||684-1 Katsuyama, Ueno, Tano District, Gunma 370-1613|
|Notes||The hot spring is currently only available to overnight guests.|