The Lake Umeda Recreation Area, Kiryu
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Lake Umeda, or Umeda-ko 梅田湖 in Japanese, is a dam lake 15km north up stream of the Kiryu River 桐生川 from Kiryu City 桐生市 in Gunma Prefecture 群馬県. Umeda-ko roughly translates to Plum Field Lake, so the locals like to refer to it as Plum Lake.
Known for its lush nature the Lake Umeda Recreation Area short bike or drive from town. The lake is wrapped by steep mountains covered in towering pines and Japanese maples. Fed by a vast network of crystal clear streams and rivers, the area is home to some of the best hiking and cycling in the Kiryu area.
What to Do at Lake Umeda
After riding up to Lake Umeda from Kiryu consider taking the Ohashi Bridge, and just after the bridge take a left on the small backroad. This loops around the lake for a great lap to see all the sides of Umeda.
For those looking to see more rivers and waterfalls continue north up the main road. From the lake it shrinks down to a small mountain road tracing the Kiryu River deep into the mountains.
Hiking at Umeda-ko
If you came by car consider driving up to the Nemotosan 根本山 Hiking area.
See hiking maps here for Nemotosan on page 2.
By foot or public transit, a lap around the lake is a great 4km flat loop to experience the area.
Lake Umeda has one main restaurant, Yuki-no-ya 雪乃屋 soba restaurant. A local classic open each day except Wednesdays from 11am to 6:30pm.
Relaxing by the Lake
Head down to the Dai Ryokuchi Park for some lazing by the lake in the grassy fields.
Camping at Lake Umeda
Free camping spots abound around Lake Umeda. The only spot not permitted is the parking lots across from Yuki-no-ya Soba shop.
Our favorite is to head up stream north of the lake and take a spot along the Kiryu River. There is also a spot on the east side of the lake that is a good place for tent or auto camping.
If you are interested in renting a camper van to explore Japan check out Dream Drive. They rent campers out for anything from two days to two months for all your Japan Campervan needs!
We had a great time with them over the summer and made a video of the adventure here.
Getting to the Lake Umeda Recreation Area
A short gentle ride mostly along the river with a small hill to the lake.
Kiryu to Lake Umeda – 14km & 200m gain one way – Take the Kiryu River Path on the east side of town up to the girls high school. Then, take the road on the east side of the river. When that ends hop on the main road Rt 66 and take the sidewalk up to the lake.
From Kiryu Station drive 25min up Rt 66 to Lake Umeda.
From Tokyo, take the Kita-Kanto Highway to the Kiryu Exit then Rt 66 up to the Lake.
It’s a decent walk from Kiryu to Lake Umeda, but a nice one following the same route as the cycling route.
By Public Transit
From Kiryu Station walk to the Mega Don Quijote on the north side of the station. Then take the Umeda Line bus at the stop by the south entrance on the main road (Rt 3) 26min up to the Umeda Ohashi Stop.
The route from Kiryu Station to Lake Umeda.
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