Shibukawa, Gunma


Shibukawa city hall



Location of Shibukawa in Gunma Prefecture


Coordinates: 36°23′22″N 139°03′48″E / 36.38944°N 139.06333°E / 36.38944; 139.06333Coordinates: 36°23′22″N 139°03′48″E / 36.38944°N 139.06333°E / 36.38944; 139.06333
Country Japan
Region Kantō
Prefecture Gunma Prefecture
  Total 240.27 km2 (92.77 sq mi)
Population (February 2016)
  Total 78,178
  Density 325/km2 (840/sq mi)
Time zone Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)
- Tree Maple
- Flower Hydrangea
Phone number 0279-22-2111
Address 80 Ishihara, Shibukawa-shi, Gunma-ken 377-8501
Website Official website
Ishidannoyu Onsen
Ikaho Onsen
Tanashitafudō Waterfall

Shibukawa (渋川市 Shibukawa-shi) is a city located in the center of landlocked Gunma Prefecture in the northern Kantō region of Japan. As of February 2016, the city had an estimated population of 78,178 and a population density of 325 persons per km². Its total area was 240.27 square kilometres (92.77 sq mi). Shibukawa is the location of Ikaho Onsen, a popular hot spring resort.


Shibukawa is located in the northern extremity of the Kantō plains of central Gunma Prefecture, encompassing the juncture of the Tone River and Agatsuma River. It is about 120 kilometres (75 miles) from Tokyo. Shibukawa is located at a central point (36°29′ N, 139°00′ E) of the Japanese archipelago and is thus known as the Bellybutton of Japan (日本のおへそ nihon no oheso). To the west is Mount Haruna, and to the east is Mount Akagi. To the north are Mount Onoko and Mount Komochi. The Tone River flows from the north (between Mount Akagi and Mount Komochi) southward through the city, while the Agatsuma River flows from the west (between Mount Onoko and Mount Haruna), merging with the Tone River near the center of the city.

Shibukawa's highest altitude is 1,565 m (5,135 ft) above sea level; its lowest point is 2,701 m (8,862 ft) above sea level. The majority of the city lies between 200 to 800 metres (656 to 2,625 feet) above sea level

Farmland covers 49.88 km2 (19.26 sq mi) (20.8% of the city), housing covers 20.31 km2 (7.84 sq mi) (8.4%), and mountains and forests cover 77.39 km2 (29.88 sq mi) (32.2%). The remaining 92.84 km2 (35.85 sq mi) (38.6%) has other land uses.

Surrounding municipalities


During the Edo period, the area of present-day Shibukawa prospered from its location on the Mikuni Kaidō highway connecting Takasaki with Niigata. Post stations located within the borders of modern Shibukawa were: Shibukawa-shuku, Kanai-shuku, Kitamoku-shuku and Yokobori-shuku.

Modern Shibukawa town was created within Nishigunma District, Gunma Prefecture on April 1, 1889 with the creation of the municipalities system after the Meiji Restoration. In 1896, Nishiguma District and Kataoka District merged to form Gunma District, Gunma; however, the area containing Shibukawa was separated out in October 1949 into Kitagunma District. On April 1, 1954 - Shibukawa absorbed the villages of Furumaki, Kanashima and Toyoaki to become the city of Shibukawa. On February 20, 2006 - Shibukawa absorbed the town of Ikaho, the villages of Komochi and Onogami (all from Kitagunma District), and the villages of Akagi and Kitatachibana (both from Seta District).


Shibukawa is a regional commercial center and transportation hub. Seasonal tourism, particularly to its hot spring resorts and ski resorts plays a major role in the local economy. In terms of agriculture, the area is noted for its production of konjac.






Local attractions


Shibukawa calls itself "The Bellybutton of Japan" (日本のおへそ) and hosts the Bellybutton Festival (へそ祭り) every year in late July. The festival is based on a traditional Japanese form of entertainment where revelers paint a face on their torsos and stomachs and pretend it is a head. A kimono is then wrapped around the waist and the person's real head is hidden by a large cloth hat. The belly button is traditionally painted into a mouth. These days, modern motifs and Japanese anime designs have crept into the festival, which city officials said is all about having fun.[1][2]

Sister city relations

Shibukawa is twinned with:

Noted people from Shibukawa


  1. Celebrating the navel in Japan's "belly button"
  2. Shibukawa belly button festival
  3. "Logan City Council". Logan City Council. Retrieved 2015-05-02.
  4. "Hula and economy bind Hawaii, Shibukawa sister cities". Big Island Video News. Retrieved 2015-05-02.
  5. "Città gemellate / Shibukawa". Comune di Foligno. Retrieved 2013-09-20.

Media related to Shibukawa, Gunma at Wikimedia Commons

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