Maebashi Products Museum “Hirosegawa”
This museum is located in JR Maebashi Station. Local products such as silk products, yakimanju (steamed buns with their surface baked), replicas of haniwa (clay figures placed in ancient burial mounds), local sake, local confections are sold here.
Address: 2-29-16 Omote-machi, Maebashi, Gunma (Inside JR Maebashi Station) Hours: 8:00 to 20:00. Closed only on the New Year’s day.
Gunma Prefecture produces the most silk products of anyplace in Japan and not surprisingly, Maebashi City raises the most silk cocoons.
Although the silk spinning industry in Gunma has declined, there are still many shops available to buy silk and silk products. In addition to silk clothes like underwear, socks and sweaters, there are new products such as edible silk and cosmetics which have been developed. Silk products are light weight so they are highly recommended as souvenirs.
Karikari Ume (Crunchy Plum)
Gunma Prefecture is the number two producer of plums in Japan. Among various types of plum products, umeboshi (pickled plums) are considered as unique Japanese food. They are usually very soft, sour and salty, while karikari ume (crunchy plums) are crunchy and less salty. Karikari ume are wrapped individually in a bag, which preserves each one longer.
Bottled Maebashi Water has been sold since 1997. When the National Athletic Meet was held in Gunma in 1997, bottled water was given to the participants as a souvenir and won a favorable reputation. Maebashi Water is now produced on a commercial basis.
Gunma is one of the leading prefectures in producing pork and Maebashi produces a quarter of it. The meat is high quality and is shipped to other prefectures and the Tokyo metropolitan area. The city calls itself “Ton-Ton-no-machi Maebashi” (Maebashi, the City of Pork) and even holds a contest titled “T-1 Grand Prix” (Pork Dish Grand Prix) to call attention to its product and to develop its industry. Sausages and hams from Maebashi are good for souvenirs.
In Gunma, the soil drainage enhances wheat growth. There are many varieties of wheat products such as yakimanju (steamed buns with their surface baked), okkirikomi-noodles, cakes and beer. The golden wheat fields that are spread at the foot of Mt. Akagi bring back nostalgic feelings of the past.
There are many varieties of pickled vegetables; vegetables pickled in salt, in vinegar, in miso (fermented soybean paste), and in rice-bran paste. Pickled vegetables are sold at most vegetable shops and grocery stores. The variety of pickled vegetables varies depending on the season.
As a matter of course, sake is made from fresh water. Maebashi, surrounded by Mt. Akagi, is blessed with clean fresh soft water that gives the local sake its mellow, smooth, delicate taste. A new type of yeast called “Gunma KAZE Yeast” has been developed recently, and sake made from this yeast has won favorable reviews at sake fairs.