It is said that Kusatsu Onsan can heal any sickness except lovesickness, and once chosen as “Arima for west, Kusatsu for east” at hot spring ranking in Edo period. So now Kusatsu Onsen represents one of the best hot springs in Japan. The spring quality is of course amazing, but also the unique atmosphere of this Onsen town which has “Yubatake” at the center attracts many visitors.
The view of the hot shower-bath and steam of the spring quality coming from the Yubatake is one of the most famous scenery in Kusatsu. In addition, you can visit “Netsunoyu” where they have a famous “Yumomi” show, or “Sainokawara Park” where the hot water gushing out from underground within the park and there is a wide open-air bath. You can fully enjoy the Japanese Onsen culture here at Kusatsu Onsen area.
- 5th Sai no Kawara-dori Street
- 4th Sainokawara Park
- 3rd Kusatsu Hot Spring Baths
- 2nd Yumomi
- 1st Yubatake (Hot Water Field)
1. Spot ranking in Kusatsu Onsen area
5th. Sai no Kawara-dori Street
Sai no Kawara-dori Street is a Kusatsu’ famous street that starts from Yubatake towards Sai no Kawara Park direction. There are restaurants or gift shops on the both sides of the street.
Many people are walking in Yukata (an informal cotton kimono) and Setta (leather-soled sandales) so you can enjoy the view of Onsen town. There are unique foods that can be only seen in Onsen area: “Matsumura Manju” which is a famous Onsen Manju shop, “Terakoya Honpo” where they have a popular “Nure Okaki” (a wet rice cracker) skewered just like Yakitori, “Yoritomo” where you can try Onsen-tamago rich in taste, or “Yuagari Karinto” where there are various kinds of unique karinto (fried dough cookies) with cute packages.
Furthermore, there is a glass craft shop called “Kusatsu Garasuzo (glass warehouse)”, and they have thousands of glass crafts including glasses, winecups, or small crafts suitable for gifts. Not only you can shop, but also you can make accessories or beads. (A reservation required. Making beads: 1800 yen~)
To get to Say no Kawara-dori street: from Naganohara Kusatsuguchi Station, take JR Kanto Bus with Kusatsu Onsen direction for 25 minutes, get off at Kusatsu Onsen stop, and walk for 10 minutes. The bus fare is 700 yen from Naganohara Kusatsuguchi Station to Kusatsu Onsen. Since the bus does not come so often and sometimes only comes once in one hour, so please make sure to check the timetable before you travel.Details
4th. Sainokawara Park
Sainokawara Park is located at the west side of Kusatsu Onsen. This park has hot springs that coming out from the ground, making ponds or waterfalls everywhere, and you can take a walk in a steam. There is a footpath arranged for easy walk. In the past, people were scared of this place as it was called “a fountain of Oni(Japanese style demon)”, but today it became a park with footpath. Besides that, there are monuments of people who represents great man or literary person of Japan, such as Saito Shigekichi and Mizuhara Shuuoushi.
In addition, there is a foot bath area within this park where you can take a foot bath for free. Also, you can take a wide open-air bath. (This requires admission fee.) The park is lighted up at night during a specific period, so the park will be surrounded by a fantastic atmosphere. (for the light up period, please check with Kusatsu tourism association.) This park is open for public anytime, and no admission fee required.
To get to Sainokawara Park: from Naganohara Kusatsuguchi Station, take JR Kanto Bus with Kusatsu Onsen direction for 25 minutes, get off at Kusatsu Onsen stop, and walk for 10 -15 minutes. The bus fare is 700 yen from Naganohara Kusatsuguchi Station to Kusatsu Onsen. Since the bus does not come so often and sometimes only comes once in one hour, so please make sure to check the timetable before you travel.Details
3rd. Kusatsu Hot Spring Baths
Kusatsu Onsen has 3 big day trip bath area: Gozanoyu, Otakinoyu, and Sainokawara open-air bath. Gozanoyu is a public bath and recreates the old onsen culture. This bath was opened in front of Yubatake in April of 2013, and is now recognized as a new symbol of Kusatsu Onsen area.
The name of this bath comes from the story that Minamotono Yoritomo sat on one of the stones placed here when he visited Miharano for hunting. Gozanoyu is a two-storied wooden building, recreating the building style of Edo – Meiji period. They have 2 baths inside: Mokunoyu and Ishinoyu, and it changes from day to day so you can enjoy different taste of baths.
In addition, they have a Yukata rental plan that you can choose from various colorful Yukata and go outside to explore the Kusatsu Onsen area. Gozanoyu is open from 7:00-21:00 (last entry: 20:30) from Apr 1st to Nov 30th / 8:00-21:00 (last entry: 20:30) from Dec 3rd to Mar 31th. The admission fee is 600 yen for adults and 300 yen for kids. Yukata rental plan is available from Apr to Nov, and it costs 2500 yen for 3 hours. This plan includes yukata, ornamental obi (belt), geta (sandale), bamboo basket, luggage keep, and bath.
Otakinoyu is a public bath which has a hot shower-bath, open-air bath, Awase-yu, sauna so that you can feel the different effects of each bath. This bath uses Nikawa Gensen (spring source) known as “bijin no yu (hot spring of beauty)” among the various kinds of spring source in Kusatsu Onsen. One of the bath called “Awase-yu” is an old style of taking a bath which you take a bath with lower temperature first and move onto the bath with higher temperature. The opening hour is from 9:00-21:00 (last entry: 20:00), and the admission fee is 900 yen for adults and 400 yen for kids.
Nishinokawara Open-air Bath is located inside the Nishinokawara Park. Once you get in the big bathtub, seasonal landscapes such as fresh green, colored leaves, or snow will catch your eyes from every angle, and you will feel very open and overwhelmed. The opening hour is from 7:00-20:00 from Apr 1st to Nov 30th (last entry: 19:30) / 9:00-20:00 (last entry: 19:30).
The admission fee is 600 yen for adults and 300 yen for kids. Kusatsu Onsen has a ticket called “Choina Sanyu Meguri Tegata” for those who wants to try all of these 3 baths. The ticket is 1600 yen for adults and 700 yen for kids with no expiration date, so if you would like to try all baths, we recommend you to get one.
To get to each bath: from Naganohara Kusatsuguchi Station, take JR Kanto Bus with Kusatsu Onsen direction for 25 minutes, get off at Kusatsu Onsen stop, and walk for 10 -15 minutes. The bus fare is 700 yen from Naganohara Kusatsuguchi Station to Kusatsu Onsen. From Kusatsu Onsen bus terminal to each baths (by walk) : Gozanoyu takes 3 minutes, Otakinoyu takes 10 minutes, and Sainokawara open-air bath takes 10 minutes.Details
“Yumomi” is a famous feature in Kusatsu Onsen area. Yumomi is a way to cool the hot water by putting the wooden board into the hot spring source to stir until it gets cooler enough to take a bath. In addition, it is not only to cool but to soften the hot water. The temperature of Kusatsu Onsen is around 50℃~90℃, but if they add water the effect of hot spring will get weaker, so they do Yumomi since Edo period. One of the famous Yumomi show can be seen at “Netsunoyu”, which is located very close to Yubatake. This building was renovated in 2015 and now looks like Taisho-roman style, and the inside is a two-storied wooden stairwell structure.
They hold a traditional Yumomi show and dance by Yumomi girls everyday, so you can experience the Japanese Onsen culture. The Yumomi show starts with the Kusatsu phrase of “Kusatsu Yoitoko Ichido ha Oide ~(Kusatsu is a good place, please visit us once~)” , and the this entire view is one of the Kusatsu’ main feature , and this can be only seen here in Kusatsu area.
Furthermore, you can also join and try Yumomi or take a photo with holding a Yumoi board. Netsunoyu is open 7 days a week through the year. (Please take note that it is closed for maintenance during Dec 3rd to 7th of 2018, and it might be closed again for another maintenance or special events. For more details, please check the official website of Netsunoyu.)
The Yumomi show is held 6 times a day: 9:30/ 10:00/ 10:30/ 15:30/ 16:00/ 16:30. The admission fee is 600 yen for adults, 300 yen for kids.
To get to Netsunoyu: from Naganohara Kusatsuguchi Station, take JR Kanto Bus with Kusatsu Onsen direction for 25 minutes, get off at Kusatsu Onsen stop, and walk for 5 minutes. The bus fare is 700 yen from Naganohara Kusatsuguchi Station to Kusatsu Onsen. Since the bus does not come so often and sometimes only comes once in one hour, so please make sure to check the timetable before you travel.Details
1st. Yubatake (Hot Water Field)
Yubatake is a spring source gushing out from the center of Kusatsu Onsen area, and is recognized as a symbol of Kusatsu Onsen. Kusatsu Onsen is located at the elevation of 1200 of the foot of Mt. Shirane, northwest side of Gunma prefecture. This area is known as Japan’s best 3 hot springs, and has been famous for a long time.
The hot spring of approximately 4000L per minute is gushing out from this Yubatake, which is the biggest amount in Japan. The spring source has a strong bactericidal effect, and the hot spring with over 60℃ temperature go through the 7 different wooden pipes, cooled down by air drawn from the outside, and finally flows into the each public bath or hotel. There are footpath made from gathered roofing tiles, stone fences, or benches arranged around Yubatake. In addition, this area is lighted up at night, so you can enjoy the fantastic view, too.
Speaking of Kusatu speciality, Onsen Manju is the famous one. There is a shop called “Honke Chichiya” where they sell 2 types of popular manju: two-colored manju with Chestnut paste & strained bean beast wrapped in white cake dough, and manju with coarse sweet red bean paste wrapped in brown cake dough.
There is a yakitori shop called “Yakitori Shizuka”. They sell yakitori (grilled chicken on a stick) only for takeout, and there is always a huge line. Their savory yakitori grilled well in a charcoal fire are loved by many visitors. Yubatake is open for public anytime, and there is no admission fee required.
To get to Yubatake: from Naganohara Kusatsuguchi Station, take JR Kanto Bus with Kusatsu Onsen direction for 25 minutes, get off at Kusatsu Onsen stop, and walk for 5 minutes. The bus fare is 700 yen from Naganohara Kusatsuguchi Station to Kusatsu Onsen. Since the bus does not come so often and sometimes only comes once in one hour, so please make sure to check the timetable before you travel.Details
2. Getting to Kusatsu Onsen from Takasaki station
From Takasaki Station, take JR Azuma Line with “Omae” or “Manza/Kazawaguchi” direction, and get off at “Naganohara Kusatsuguchi” Station. It takes about 85 minutes, and the train fare costs 1140 yen.Getting to Takasaki Station from Tokyo
3. Other Area List
Ikaho Onsen, Shibukawa and Haruna
Shima Onsen – Nakanojo
Oze, Numata and Kawaba