Shibukawa city hall
Location of Shibukawa in Gunma Prefecture
|• Total||240.27 km2 (92.77 sq mi)|
|Population (February 2016)|
|• Density||325/km2 (840/sq mi)|
|Time zone||Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)|
|Address||80 Ishihara, Shibukawa-shi, Gunma-ken 377-8501|
Shibukawa (渋川市 Shibukawa-shi) is a city in the center of landlocked Gunma Prefecture in the northern Kantō region of 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 was 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 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.
- To the north: Numata, Shōwa, Takayama
- To the east: Maebashi
- To the south: Maebashi, Shintō, Yoshioka
- To the west: Takasaki, Higashiagatsuma, Nakanojō
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.
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 High School
- Shibukawa Girls' High School
- Shibukawa Kougyou High School
- Shibukawa Seisui High School
- 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
- 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
- JR East – Jōetsu Line
- JR East – Agatsuma Line
- Ikaho Ropeway
- Ikaho Onsen
- Takehisa Yumeji Memorial Museum
- Tokutomi Roka Memorial Museum
- Mizusawa-dera, 16th stop on the Bandō Sanjūsankasho pilgrimage
- Shibukawa Skyland Park - an amusement park
- Ikaho Green Bokujou - a farm designed to show its visitors about farming
- Ikaho Sistina Museum- an op art museum which also has a Sistine Chapel replica
- Japan Chanson Museum - a museum dedicated to the chanson style of music
- Shibukawa Sōgō Park - a large park encompassing hiking trails, campsites, tennis courts, a baseball diamond, a running track, and other recreational facilities
- Onoike Ajisai Park- a hydrangea park with a pond and hiking trails
- Shibukawa Sky Terume - a hot spring in a building which looks something like a spaceship
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.
Sister city relations
Shibukawa is twinned with:
- - Abano Terme, Veneto, Italy, since March 23, 1993
- - Logan City, Queensland, Australia, friendship city since April 17, 1996 
- – Hawaii County, Hawaii, United States, since January 22, 1997 
- - Foligno, Umbria, Italy, since March 23, 2000
Noted people from Shibukawa
- Chūsei Sone – movie director
- Jiro Sato – tennis player
- Chocoball Mukai – actor
- Kiyohiko Shibukawa – fashion model, actor
- Takahiro Fujioka – baseball player
- Keisuke Kanoh – baseball player
- Celebrating the navel in Japan's "belly button"
- Shibukawa belly button festival
- "Logan City Council". Logan City Council. Retrieved 2015-05-02.
- "Hula and economy bind Hawaii, Shibukawa sister cities". Big Island Video News. Retrieved 2015-05-02.
- "Città gemellate / Shibukawa". Comune di Foligno. Retrieved 2013-09-20.
Media related to Shibukawa, Gunma at Wikimedia Commons
- Official website (in Japanese)
- 市内小・中学校リンク集. Shibukawa City Official Site (in Japanese). July 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-08-27. Retrieved 2006-08-29.
- 合併の変遷. Shibukawa City Official Site (in Japanese). June 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-06-15. Retrieved 2006-06-16.
- 渋川市の統計. Shibukawa City Official Site (in Japanese). June 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-10-06. Retrieved 2006-06-16.
- 渋川市の地勢と気候. Shibukawa City Official Site (in Japanese). June 2006. Archived from the original on 2008-04-10. Retrieved 2008-05-28.
- "MapionBB". MapionBB (in Japanese). August 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-29.
- 渋川市住民基本台帳人口/渋川市. Shibukawa City Official Site (in Japanese). April 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-05-01. Retrieved 2008-05-28.