Gunma prefecture has a fair number of rural tourist traps left over from the bubble, and one of them is quite close to me. The Gunma Flower Park is just a few kilometers up the road from Ogo, along the slopes of Mt. Akagi.
While I am sure it has proved less a draw than the owners may have hoped, the Flower Park does offer a beautiful setting to enjoy a botanical garden. Facing one way you have the volcanic bulk of Mt. Akagi, facing the other you can see across the northern reaches of the Kanto plain, and the urban areas of Maebashi and Takasaki.
Since I was there in fall there weren’t many flowers at the Flower Park, so the best part was the observation deck. Both days were quite clear, and you could easily see the skyscrapers of Tokyo, some 100 kilometers distant. There are coin operated binoculars too, which really threw the buildings into sharp relief.
Similar to the Denver Botanical Gardens, there is a cluster of green houses with more tropically oriented plants. The green houses function both as a repository of interesting plants from places like the Philippines, Thailand and Mexico and as a place of refuge from the biting Gunma wind.
During my second trip to the park I managed to catch a glorious sunset that covered everything in the most amazing light. I was sporting my telephoto lens at the time, which made for an excellent combo of good light and good glass.