Healing Geothermal Waters and Fun Festivals in a Secluded Mountain Onsen Resort
Kusatsu Onsen is a charming onsen town located in Gunma Prefecture, japan. Nestled in a secluded mountain area, this town offers healing geothermal waters and a range of fun festivals that attract visitors from all over the country. With its picturesque alleys, traditional yukata attire, and wooden sandals, Kusatsu Onsen provides a unique and authentic experience for those seeking relaxation and cultural immersion.
One of the highlights of Kusatsu Onsen is the yubatake hot water fields. Located in the center of town, these hot water fields are a sight to behold. The distinct aroma of the geothermal water fills the air as it rises to the surface and flows along a series of connected wooden chutes. This natural process cools the water while maintaining its mineral content, creating a truly rejuvenating and therapeutic experience for visitors.
The geothermal water in Kusatsu Onsen is renowned for its healing properties. With temperatures reaching around 55 degrees Celsius and high acidity, the water is said to cure various conditions and is particularly beneficial for the skin. In fact, the water was so highly regarded that several Tokugawa shoguns had it transported in barrels to their castle in Edo (now Tokyo). Today, visitors can immerse themselves in these healing waters and experience the benefits firsthand.
One of the unique traditions of Kusatsu Onsen is the yumomi performance. At the Netsunoyu hall, onsen workers cool the hot spring water by dipping and turning wooden planks, all while singing a folk song. This rhythmic process not only cools the water to a comfortable temperature for bathing but also adds a touch of entertainment and cultural significance to the onsen experience.
After enjoying a relaxing dip in the hot springs, visitors can take a leisurely stroll through the narrow alleys near the Netsunoyu hall. Here, they will find quaint arts and crafts shops that showcase milky glass inspired by the healing waters of Kusatsu Onsen. These unique souvenirs make for perfect gifts or mementos of the trip.
No visit to Kusatsu Onsen is complete without trying the local delicacies. Onsen manju, steamed sweet buns filled with various flavors such as red bean paste or matcha, are a popular treat among visitors. Another must-try is the onsen tamago, eggs boiled in the hot spring water. These eggs have a unique texture and flavor, thanks to their cooking method, and are said to be incredibly delicious and nutritious.
Beyond the onsen experience, Kusatsu Onsen also offers a range of festivals throughout the year. The Flower Festival in May showcases the vibrant colors of the blooming flowers, creating a picturesque backdrop for visitors to enjoy. In July, the Shirane Shrine Festival celebrates the local culture and traditions with lively parades and performances. The Hot Spring Appreciation Festival in August is a time to honor and appreciate the healing powers of the geothermal waters. Lastly, the Kusatsu International Music Academy and Festival, also held in August, brings together talented musicians from around the world for a series of concerts and performances.
Getting to Kusatsu Onsen is relatively easy, despite the lack of a train station in the town. The most convenient way is by rental car, allowing visitors to enjoy the beautiful scenery along the Japan Romantic Road linking Nagano, Gunma, and Tochigi. From Tokyo, the journey takes around three hours, while from the shinkansen station in Takasaki, it takes approximately one and a half hours. For those traveling by public transportation, there are direct buses from Shinjuku Bus Terminal. Alternatively, the nearest train station is Naganohara Kusatsuguchi Station, which is around two and a half hours away from Ueno by direct express train. From there, a connecting 25-minute bus ride will take visitors to Kusatsu.
In addition to the onsen experience, Kusatsu Onsen is also surrounded by natural beauty. Sainokawara Park, located just a short distance from the town, is a popular spot for nature lovers. This park features steamy hot spring water gushing naturally from the ground, creating a serene and peaceful atmosphere. Visitors can take a leisurely walk through the park, enjoying the sights and sounds of nature while breathing in the fresh mountain air.
Overall, Kusatsu Onsen offers a unique and unforgettable experience for those seeking relaxation, healing, and cultural immersion. With its healing geothermal waters, traditional festivals, and picturesque surroundings, this secluded mountain onsen resort is a hidden gem in Gunma Prefecture. Whether you’re looking to unwind in the hot springs, explore the charming alleys, or participate in the vibrant festivals, Kusatsu Onsen has something for everyone. So, why not escape from the hustle and bustle of city life and embark on a journey of relaxation and rejuvenation in this peaceful and authentic onsen town?
Address And Maps Location:
Kusatsu-machi, Agatsuma-gun, Gunma-ken