Shibukawa, Gunma

Coordinates: 36°23′22″N 139°03′48″E / 36.38944°N 139.06333°E / 36.38944; 139.06333
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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; 139.06333
 • Total240.27 km2 (92.77 sq mi)
 (August 31, 2020)
 • Total76,098
 • Density320/km2 (820/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+9 (Japan Standard Time)
- TreeMaple
- FlowerHydrangea
Phone number0279-22-2111
Address80 Ishihara, Shibukawa-shi, Gunma-ken 377-8501
WebsiteOfficial website
Ishidannoyu Onsen
Ikaho Onsen
Tanashitafudō Waterfall

Shibukawa (渋川市, Shibukawa-shi) is a city in Gunma Prefecture, Japan. As of 31 August 2020, the city had an estimated population of 76,098 in 32,439 households,[1] and a population density of 320 inhabitants per square kilometre (830/sq mi). The total area of the city is 240.27 square kilometres (92.77 sq mi). Shibukawa is the location of Ikaho Onsen, a popular hot spring resort.


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 139 m (456 ft) above sea level. The majority of the city lies between 200 and 800 metres (656 and 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[edit]


Shibukawa has a Humid continental climate (Köppen Cfa) characterized by warm summers and cold winters with heavy snowfall. The average annual temperature in Shibukawa is 13.7 °C. The average annual rainfall is 1335 mm with September as the wettest month. The temperatures are highest on average in August, at around 26.1 °C, and lowest in January, at around 2.3 °C.[2]


Per Japanese census data,[3] the population of Shibukawa peaked around the year 1990 and has declined since.

Historical population
1920 53,195—    
1930 59,999+12.8%
1940 64,636+7.7%
1950 82,971+28.4%
1960 82,202−0.9%
1970 83,756+1.9%
1980 88,838+6.1%
1990 91,094+2.5%
2000 89,795−1.4%
2010 83,330−7.2%
2020 74,581−10.5%


Shibukawa is located within traditional Kōzuke Province. 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.

Shibukawa town was created in Nishigunma District, Gunma Prefecture on April 1, 1889, with the creation of the modern 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 has a mayor-council form of government with a directly elected mayor and a unicameral city council of 18 members. Shibukawa contributes two members to the Gunma Prefectural Assembly. In terms of national politics, the city is divided between the Gunma 1st district and the Gunma 5th district of the lower house of the Diet of Japan.


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.


Shibukawa has 14 public elementary schools and nine public middle schools operated by the city government, and four public high schools operated by the Gunma Prefectural Board of Education. The prefecture also operates two special education schools for the handicapped.

High schools[edit]

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

Middle schools[edit]

  • 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

Elementary schools[edit]

  • Ikaho Elementary School
  • Furumaki Elementary School
  • Kanashima Elementary School
  • Miharada Elementary School
  • Nagaou 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
  • Toyoaki Elementary School
  • Tsukuda Elementary School



JR EastJōetsu Line

JR EastAgatsuma Line

Ikaho Ropeway


Local attractions[edit]


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.[4][5]

Sister city relations[edit]

Shibukawa is twinned with:

Noted people from Shibukawa[edit]


  1. ^ "Shibukawa City official statistics" (in Japanese). Japan.
  2. ^ Shibukawa climate data
  3. ^ Shibukawa population statistics
  4. ^ Celebrating the navel in Japan's "belly button"
  5. ^ Shibukawa belly button festival Archived 2014-04-17 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Logan City Council". Logan City Council. Retrieved 2015-05-02.
  7. ^ "Hula and economy bind Hawaii, Shibukawa sister cities". Big Island Video News. Retrieved 2015-05-02.
  8. ^ "Città gemellate / Shibukawa". Comune di Foligno. Archived from the original on 2013-09-21. Retrieved 2013-09-20.

External links[edit]

Media related to Shibukawa, Gunma at Wikimedia Commons