As most people arrive at Jōmō Kōgen Station, about half an hour from Minakami, it's hard to get a handle on the place at first. Looking a little worse for wear (like most mountain villages once the snow has melted), Minakami-machi is Minakami Onsen-kyo's main town, itself spread out and hard to pin down.

Gunma Prefecture's top-billing retreats Takaragawa Onsen (formerly of Minakami-machi) and Hōshi Onsen (of Niharu-mura) are remote, isolated and located in opposing directions. Although both are part of the Minakami Onsen group, neither are within striking distance of Minakami town at all.

It would be difficult to visit all three in a day, but spending a night at Takaragawa Onsen's Ōsenkaku or Hōshi Onsen's Chōjūkan will solve your time problems – and, no doubt, countless others.