About Kusatsu Onsen
Kusatsu Onsen is one of Japan’s most famous hot spring resorts. The town of Kusatsu is especially known for the hot spring in the town center, called Yubatake. The hot spring water that comes springing from the source is so hot that bathing in it is not possible. To cool the water down, it get’s transported through wooden boxes until it’s the right temperature.
The town is popular for those that seek physical fixing as the water of Kusatsu is said to cure all ailments but heartbreak.Originally known for its healing water by the warrior class, there are records of samurai lords transporting water from Kusatsu to their palaces. Slowly but surely, the water of Kusatsu Onsen became famous to the general public and many ryokan were built to house temporary visitors to the area.
Besides an attractive town center and hot spring facilities, Kusatsu Onsen offers visitors a glimpse into the past. The Yumomi performace at Netsu-no-Yu Onsen shows you how the town-people in the olden days cooled down the hot spring water to bathing temperature. Locals sing and dance while stirring the hot water with big peddles for 30 minutes until the water is of acceptable temperature.
Just wandering around town is an event in itself. There is an abundance of free foot baths where you can get a feel of the hot spring water without taking all your clothes off. Definitely try the onsen tamago, an egg cooked in the water of a hot spring, at one of the shops close to a hot spring.
Close to the center of the town is the Sai-no-kawara Park, a park with several trails leading past volcanic pools and Buddhist and Shintoist sites dedicated to the Kusatsu Onsen hot water. The park also holds the Sai-no-kawara Onsen, an outdoor hot spring large enough to have 100 people bathe at once.
Besides hot springs, Kusatsu has ski slopes. Though the area is quite small, combine a day out on the snow with a dip in the hot springs of Kusatsu Onsen, and you have a perfect outing.
A bus-drive away, you’ll find Mt. Shirane Kazan, or Shirane Volcano, a volcanic area with hiking trails in summer and autumn, and ski slopes in winter. The most popular sight of Shirane area is the Yugama Crater Lake, a sulfurous lake with a light-blue, milky color.
General Information about Kusatsu Onsen
How to get to Kusatsu Onsen
Tokyo Station → Takasaki Station → Kusatsu Onsen Bus Terminal
1. From Tokyo Station to Takasaki Station (1 hour):
Take the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Takasaki Station.
2. From Takasaki Station to Naganohara Kusatsu-guchi (1 hour):
From Takasaki Station, transfer trains and get on the Kusatsu express train to Naganohara Kusatsu-guchi.
3. From Naganohara Kusatsu-guchi to Kusatsu Onsen Bus Terminal (20 minutes):
From Naganohara Kusatsu-guchi Station, take the Kusatsu Onsen JR Bus Kusatsu Onsen Bus Terminal.