Nakanojo: The Force of Art and Nature
The Nakanojo Biennale is an art festival held in beautiful Nakanojo in Gunma Prefecture. It boasts one of the largest artist-in-residence programs in Japan, with creators from all over the world gathering in this small town to work on their site-specific pieces. With world-class contemporary art installations, the festival draws large crowds during its one-month run. Historically known as a hot spring town, Nakanojo has many cultural events passed on to today. Belgian art and fashion PhD candidate Saskia Thoelen discovers how contemporary art has transformed a rural town that also reveres tradition.

Nakanojo Biennale

Since its establishment in 2007, the Nakanojo Biennale attracts over 400,000 visitors to Nakanojo. From several months before the opening of the festival, artists reside in the small town while creating their work.

Hinatami Yakushido Temple

One of Gunma's oldest temples, Hinatami Yakushido is a designated National Treasure. It has long looked over a historic hot spring resort that attracted people recovering from illness. The footbath and hot spring nearby are free to the public.

Soba Dokoro Keyaki

This charming soba restaurant at the base of sacred Mount Takeyama uses local buckwheat as well as vegetables for its tempura. The tempura soba set is highly recommended.

Access

From Tokyo to Nakanojo, it's roughly 2 hours by Shinkansen bullet train and local train. During the Biennale, a shuttle bus takes visitors between the Nakanojo Town Office and areas without public transport access.