Three days in Gunma: Day 2 and Kronenberg Ranch


There is something going on between the Japanese and the Germans, I bet! It’s easy to see from the presence of various Deutsch-theme villa, like the one I visited this summer (posted in Sunflower en masse), or ranch-like theme park, like Kronenberg Doitsu Mura (Kronenberg German Village) in Gunma. On my second day in Gunma, Noriko-san drove me and my husband to Mount Akagi, where the theme park is situated. It was less than one hour-drive from the Maebashi city center. The weather was bright and windy, the mountain view was refreshing. Not long before reaching Kronenberg we were startled by a loud strange sound which seemed to come from nowhere. The sound was like someone speaking from a loudspeaker with microphone to close to his mouth. The words were indecipherable, but was synchronous with the speed of our car. For a moment I thought that it came from nearby cars, but there was none in sight. We were baffled. Noriko-san proposed a possibility that we had just hit a stretch of melody road.

Melody what? Melody road. She explained that in some places, usually sightseeing destinations, a stretch of road was engineered so that when a car passed on, the road will reverberate a melody of a popular song. So, what we heard before was probably a melody road, it is a pity we did not recognize it, maybe we drove too slow so we did not catch the tune. We really paid attention on our way back, but it turned out that the melody road was only on one side, for those who going up Mount Akagi. Anyway, that was a nice thing, right? See what the Japanese engineers think of!

So, finally we arrived at Kronenberg. Outside, it looked like a deserted theme park. The parking lot was vast and empty. Some shops have been closed. We bought tickets and entered a gate with a German couple from cardboard greeting us with Willkommen! Then, a long building with ivy-covered clock tower manifested in front of us. The building housed souvenir shops, cake shops, a place to learn cake or candle-making for family, a shop selling locally German way-brewed beers. At the outskirt of the building, on the left, there is a grass field with sheep busily grazing their meals. Across the field I saw a beautiful purple Salvia garden with mini castle towers. If I took a path to the right from the Salvia garden, I would arrive at a pond and alpacas’ stable. It was my first time to see the alpacas.

At 11 o’clock there was a shepherd show. A trained dog followed the shepherd whistle order to chase the sheep around the field or to guide them to their stable. The shepherd also showed how to shave a sheep successfully without struggle. Well, that was new to me. One question left in my head though, why did they keep a llama (there was really only one llama) next to the sheep place. Why not next to the alpacas? I thought they were somehow closer in family trees, like cousins 😛

And then came lunch time. I must admit that it was a terrible lunch! The potato fries were cold, the garlic bread was cold, the soup was so-so.. We just could not finish what we order. My honest suggestion: they should serve better foods if they want more visitors and better business. The disappointment of a bad lunch was soon forgotten after we left Kronenberg and stopped at a michi no eki (literally: road’s station) with a replica of a windmill. We had fun jumping, laughing, trying to take levitation pictures. Look at Noriko-san in the picture, she looked so happy and rejuvenated while jumping! Jumping is good for your mood, your body pumps out some adrenaline and endorphine afterward, try it!

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