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Shibukawa (渋川市, Shibukawa-shi) is a city in Gunma Prefecture, 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 is 240.27 square kilometres (92.77 sq mi). Shibukawa is the location of Ikaho Onsen, a popular hot spring resort.


Shibukawa city hall
Shibukawa city hall
Flag of Shibukawa
Official seal of Shibukawa
Location of Shibukawa in Gunma Prefecture
Location of Shibukawa in Gunma Prefecture
Shibukawa is located in Japan
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
PrefectureGunma Prefecture
 • Total240.27 km2 (92.77 sq mi)
 (February 2016)
 • Total78,178
 • Density325/km2 (840/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+9 (Japan Standard Time)
- TreeMaple
- FlowerHydrangea
Phone number0279-22-2111
Address80 Ishihara, Shibukawa-shi, Gunma-ken 377-8501
Ishidannoyu Onsen
Ikaho Onsen
Tanashitafudō Waterfall


Shibukawa is 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. 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 is 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).

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 municipalitiesEdit


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 within the borders of modern Shibukawa were Shibukawa-shuku, Kanai-shuku, Kitamoku-shuku and Yokobori-shuku.

Modern Shibukawa town was created in 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 and ski resorts, play a major role in the local economy.

The area is noted for its production of konjac.


High schoolsEdit

  • Shibukawa High School
  • Shibukawa Girls' High School
  • Shibukawa Kougyou High School
  • Shibukawa Seisui High School

Middle schoolsEdit

  • Akagi North Middle School
  • Akagi South Middle School
  • Furumaki Middle School
  • Hokkitsu Middle School
  • Ikaho Middle School
  • Kanashima Middle School
  • Komochi Middle School
  • Shibukawa Middle School
  • Shibukawa North Middle School
  • Onogami Middle School

Elementary schoolsEdit

  • Ikaho Elementary School
  • Furumaki Elementary School
  • Kamishiroi Elementary School
  • Kanashima Elementary School
  • Miharada Elementary School
  • Nagaou Elementary School
  • Nagumo Elementary School
  • Nakagou Elementary School
  • Onogami Elementary School
  • Shibukawa North Elementary School
  • Shibukawa South Elementary School
  • Shibukawa West Elementary School
  • Tachibana North Elementary School
  • Tachibana South Elementary School
  • Tousen Elementary School
  • Toyoaki Elementary School
  • Tsukuda Elementary School


Local attractionsEdit


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 relationsEdit

Shibukawa is twinned with:

Noted people from ShibukawaEdit


  1. ^ Celebrating the navel in Japan's "belly button"
  2. ^ Shibukawa belly button festival Archived 2014-04-17 at the Wayback Machine
  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. Archived from the original on 2013-09-21. Retrieved 2013-09-20. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)

External linksEdit

  Media related to Shibukawa, Gunma at Wikimedia Commons