If you're looking to explore Japan's hot-springs theres no better location than Kusatsu Onsen. Located about three hours outside of Tokyo in the Gunma Prefecture, Kusatsu Onsen has what's regarded as the purest hot-spring water, believed to cure a number of diseases. With the largest volume of flowing hot spring water in Japan, the more acidic waters kill bacteria and microorganisms that might otherwise be lingering. The area features rich culture and history paired with a number of Japanese ryokans so that you can fully immerse yourself in the refreshing and relaxing experiences that the area has to offer.
"Yumomi" at Nestu no yu bathouse
Yumomi is a traditional technique that features long wooden planks used to cool the bathwater. At a high temperature of 65 (149 Fahrenheit), the water is unbathable when left alone. After Yumomi, the water temperature is brought down to 45 degrees celsius (115 Fahrenheit) making it a more comfortable bathing temperature. To see this practice first-hand stop by Nestu no yu bathouse!
Which Hot springs should I visit?
Here are Ohako's Top 3 Recommendations when it comes to which hot springs to check out!
1.Nestu no yu bathouse
This is perhaps Kusatsu's most famous Onsen since you can see "Yumomi" in practice! If you're looking to experience Kusatsu to its fullest be sure to stop by here!
If you prefer an outdoor experience, Sainokawara is Kusatsu largest outdoor bath. Here you can breathe in the crisp mountain air without having to worry about being crammed too close to other visitors!
If variety is what you're looking for, Otakinoyu features a plethora of different indoor and outdoor baths that each contain different water temperatures. Its recommended that you practice "Awase-yu," the action of moving from the coolest bath and slowly progressing your way to the hottest, which is closest to the hot spring source. Otakinoyu comes with modern amenities if you're also looking for a more luxurious experience stop by here!
What To Experience
Yubatake (Hot Spring Field)
Yubatake is the centerpiece of Kusatsu which features a whopping 4000 liters of water running through it every minute. The hot spring field showcases the volume as well as the culture of Kusatsu as its surrounded by a wide variety of traditional shops and restaurants. The field lights up at night which in combination with the steam produces a beautiful display of colors.
This park features decorative hot spring water pools as well as a few foot baths. At night the park features a beautiful light displays that makes for an other worldly experience. However, it is rumored that a demon lives here and makes appearances if one gets too loud... so speak at your own discretion!
Shirane Shrine is dedicated to the god who discovered Kusatsu Onsen, Yudaki Dori. Its located at the top of a hill that overlooks the surrounding area, creating a separation between the shrine and Kusatsu itself. Its a great spot take in the area!
For more information check out the official website at: https://www.kusatsu-onsen.ne.jp/guide/en/