50,000 Lavender Blossoms & Steam Locomotive in Gunma, Japan

Every summer, the Tambara Ski Resort turns into a sea of purple where 50,000 lavender blossoms blanket the hills.

The relaxing aroma of lavender flowers welcomed us as we walked the endless field of purple at Tambara Lavender Park.

With various species from early-blooming lavenders to mid-season blooming to late-blooming species, the purple field can be enjoyed from early-July to late-August.

Lavender Field at Tambara Lavender Park
From Adventures of Sharon YouTube Channel

Tambara Lavender Park is in Gunma prefecture, a landlocked mountainous region located at the center of Japan.

Tambara Lavender Park Guide Book

At this resort, the lavender field is the main flower field but there are also different kinds of flowers such as hydrangeas, day lilies, bergamot, and more planted on the slopes of the park in an array of colors painting a rainbow on the hill.

Rainbow Hill at Tambara Lavender Park

The second largest field was a sunflower field that greeted us with a warm and friendly dance as they swayed to the whisper of the wind.

Sunflower
Sunflower Field at Tambara Lavender Park

Since Tambara Lavender Park is actually a ski resort that is a winter wonderland where adventurous skiers visit during the winter season, there was a 10-minute ride ski lift that transported us from the rainbow hill to the lavender fields at the top.

Flower fields and ski lift
Ski Lift at Tambara Lavender Park

I don’t have much of a sense of direction so I’m glad that there was this map with the words (現在地) “You Are Here” making sure I don’t get lost.

Tambara Lavender Park Map

There was a photo spot with a backdrop of red flowers shaped into a heart with the words (たんばらラベンダーパーク) Tambara Lavender Park.

Tambara Lavender Park Photo Spot

It was a hot summer day but this sign indicating we were 1300 meters above sea level made me feel accomplished / even though the bus and the ski lift did all the climbing for me.

Tambara Lavender Park 1300 meters above sea level

The early-blooming lavender species ended their peak but the middle and late-bloomers were still flowering beautifully.

Lavender Field and Viewing Platform

The lavender stalks were swaying to the breeze so I couldn’t capture it in a still state but I was able to include the bee in this picture.

It’s a bit tricky to find the bee on this picture but if you find it, let me know in the comment box.

Lavender stalks and a bee

We then walked the next elevated 50 meters and arrived at this next sign. Tambara Lavender Park: 1350 meters above sea level.

Tambara Lavender Park Altitude 1350 m

There was also a lavender picking experience where one can try harvesting a handful of lavender stalks. We didn’t try it but if you want to experience, you can do it for ¥1,000.

Lavender Picking

When we descended the purple hills, there was a crowd surrounding the tent so we checked what was happening. To our surprise, there was a show of a monkey doing tricks.

Monkey performance

We then had lunch at the Wood Land Cafe. We ordered the Cold Lavender Ramen and the Gunma prefecture specialty, sauce katsudon.

Woodland Cafe Interior
Woodland Cafe Menu
Gunma Prefecture Local Specialties

It was my first time having cold ramen and it was a perfect meal for a hot day. The ramen noodles and the vegetables were really good but the chicken was a bit too salty.

The sauce katsudon was okay but it tasted a bit sweeter than I would’ve preferred. I think I’ll have their local specialty Joshu beef dishes next time.

After stuffing our stomachs with calories, our energy tanks got recharged. Let’s continue exploring!

Tambara Lavender Park Rainbow Hill

Near the entrance/exit was an umbrella rack with a bunch of violet umbrellas. These were actually prepared by the staffs of Tambara Lavender Park for the visitors to use. I think it’s a very kind gesture. We tried using one on our way down the hill to the main gate. By the way, there were umbrellas at the main gate too.

Umbrella Rack
Tambara Lavender Park Umbrella

And of course, vending machines to replenish thirst because it’s easy to get dehydrated on hot summer days. The lavender and winter designs are cute.

Vending Machines at Tambara Lavender Park

There was also a place for children to play and get active because let’s be real, kids usually get easily bored with just watching flower fields. Plus, they are filled with energy. They’re powerhouses.

Fun House and Pool
Bouldering Wall

There were some stands selling snacks, drinks, and soft cream. I had the lavender and milk mix soft cream and the colorful konjac bubble soda.

Lavender and Milk Soft Cream
Conjac Bubble Soda

There was also a hammock outside and it became a little bit cloudy so we were able to enjoy it without feeling too hot. I had a 5-minute nap and read a chapter of the book that I was currently reading.

Hammocks

We then walked down the hill past the green shrubs called “kochia” which with turn red during the cooler season of autumn and the rainbow hill that we saw earlier when we rode the lift.

Summer Cypress “Kochia”

We then headed for the souvenir section for some lavender-y goodness to take back home. There were lavender pillows, purple tissue cases, cute animal bags, and more.

Lavender Pillow
Penguin and Lion Bags

We rode the free shuttle bus back to Numata Station and waited for the train to arrive.

Tambara Lavender Park Shuttle Bus
Numata Station, Gunma Prefecture

Luckily, we were able to ride the SL Gunma, a steam locomotive that continues to run to this day.

SL Gunma Minakami D51 498
SL Gunma Minakami Ticket

One of the things to look forward to when riding Shinkansen bullet train and steam locomotive is the “駅弁 – えきべん” (ekiben) a bento box packed with local delicacies.

I wanted to have the SL ekiben but it was sold out so wenhad the dharma ekiben and the beef sukiyaki and yakiniku set bento instead. Both bento boxes were delicious. More delicious than I expected. Yum!

Bento Box Stand

The dharma bento box can actually be used as a piggy bank so after finishing the food and washing the container, I used is as a piggy bank.

Where is Tambara Lavender Park?

Tambara Kogen, Numata City, Gunma Prefecture, Japan

How to Get There:

Tokyo Station to Takasaki Station via Shinkansen bullet train (50 minutes)

then,

Takasaki Station to Numata Station via SL Gunma (1 hour)

then,

Numata Station to Tambara Lavender Park via free shuttle bus (45 minutes)

There are different ways to get to there from Tokyo but we recommend riding the bullet train from Tokyo Station to Takasaki Station which is less than an hour away via the Shinkansen bullet train. You can also ride the local JR Takasaki Line for half the price but twice the time.

Then ride the SL Gunma for an hour, a steam locomotive which is one of the 13 remaining steam locomotives that are still running in Japan to this day. You can purchase the SL Gunma ticket at the vending machine at Takasaki Station.

Exit at Numata Station and ride the free shuttle bus provided by Tambara Lavender Park for 45 minutes. A reservation is needed without any additional charges because seats are limited.

Tambara Lavender Park Rainbow Hill

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