Kusatsu Onsen - Japan's Best Hot Spring Resort For 10 Years!

Kusatsu Onsen - Japan's Best Hot Spring Resort For 10 Years!

Gunma 2016.11.16

If you are coming to Japan and wish to enjoy a hot spring, then you may find yourself overwhelmed with all the options! We'd like to recommend Kusatsu Onsen in Gunma, which has been selected the best hot spring resort in Japan for the past 10 years!

Translated by Allie

Written by LIFE STYLE, Inc.

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Onsen or hot springs are a unique attraction you can experience when you come to Japan. There are many hot springs resorts all over Japan which provide you with ample opportunities to enjoy a hot spring bath almost anywhere you go. As there are so many different options to choose from when it comes to onsen, it may be very hard to decide which resort to visit, especially if your main purpose in visiting Japan is to enjoy a hot spring.

Today we’d like to introduce Kusatsu Onsen in Gunma prefecture, which has consistently kept the first place position in the ‘Top 100 Hot Spring Resorts in Japan’ ranking compiled by Kankokeizai News Corporation for the past 10 years. Let’s get a closer look at just what makes this hot spring resort so popular through the magic of Google Street and Indoor View.

The Symbol of Kusatsu Onsen - Yubatake

One of the reasons why Kusatsu Onsen has such an impressive reputation, beside its high quality hot springs, is its traveling convenience. Various accommodation facilities and restaurants are gathered closely together here, making it possible for visitors to get to all their destinations easily on foot.

There is a place called Yubatake located in the center of Kusatsu Onsen.

Yubatake is one of the sources of the springs in Kusatsu Onsen. The hot water that comes from this source is delivered to the ryokan (Japanese-style hotels), hotels and bathhouses nearby. Due to the high temperature of the springs, steam is always coming out of the source, causing a sulfurous odor to linger in the air permanently. Yubatake has become the symbol of Kusatsu Onsen, and is visited by many every day of the year.

Gozanoyu: 2 Types of Hot Springs are Available

There are several public bathes found around Yubatake. Of those, the most popular one is Gozanoyu, which opened in April of 2013. Although it opened quite recently, Gozanoyu was built using traditional methods and materials, and has an authentic Japanese air to its facilities.
Gozanoyu offers two types of baths: kinoyu and ishinoyu. A kinoyu bath is one taken in a wooden bath, where the bath is made from Japanese cypress wood, the floor from Japanese oak, and the columns from hiba, a different type of Japanese cypress.

Please place your cursor on the screen above and drag it about: you will be able to see just what a kinoyu looks like. Two different bathtubs are available in the kinoyu, each with different types of springs in them. When you visit here, please give both a try!

This is the ishinoyu - a stone bath made entirely from granite. There are also two bathtubs here, both having different springs in them.

Sai no Kawara Rotemburo: the Biggest Open Air Bath in Kusatsu

A second public bath found in Kusatsu Onsen is Sai no Kawara Rotenburo, where a river and a hot spring unite into one.

Sai no Kawara Rotenburo is a large open air bath which measures 500 square meters in total. It is one of the biggest in Japan and the biggest one in Kusatsu Onsen. Let's take a closer look at it with Google Street View.

It looks like a swimming pool, doesn't it? The space itself is really open as well; there are lots of trees growing nearby which provide those relaxing in the bath with some beautiful natural scenery to enjoy.

There is a similarly sized open air bath here as well. It looks really pleasant, doesn’t it? Both of these rotemburo have a strong, acidic water in them; these baths get their water from Bandaiko gensen, which is the main source of all the water that flows through Kusatsu Onsen.
The tap water that runs through the hotels in Kusatsu also comes from these hot spring waters; ryokan and houses in the area use the hot waters to melt the snow on the roads in the winter and spring waters flow through a series of pipes under the roads of the town.

At Least Once in Your Life, Visit Kusatsu Onsen

These public baths are just two of the many reasons to visit Kusatsu Onsen. It is an excellent place to relax, and home to some incredible dishes too - the restaurants here are as wonderful as the hot springs are.

Kusatsu has a folk song, called Kusatsu Bushi, and one of the lyrics goes something like ‘Kusatsu is a good place, please come here at least once in your life’. How about taking the song’s advice and visiting this wonderful hot spring resort?

Information

Gozanoyu
Address: Gunma, Agatsuma-gun, Kusatsu-machi, Kusatsu 421
Hours: April 1 - November 30 7:00-21:00 (Last entry 20:30), December 1 - March 31 8:00-21:00 (Last entry 20:30)
Closed: Open all year around
Other Languages: Japanese only
Nearest Station: JR Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi Station
Access: 25 minute bus ride from JR Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi Station
Entrance Fee: Adults 600 yen, Children 300 yen
Phone Number: +81-279-88-9000
Website: Gozanoyu (Japanese)

Sai no Kawara Rotemburo
Address: Gunma, Agatsuma-gun, Kusatsu-machi, Kusatsu 521-3
Hours: April 1 - November 30 7:00-21:00; December 1 - March 31 9:00-21:00
Closed: Open all year around
Other Languages: Japanese only
Nearest Station: JR Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi Station
Access: 25 minute bus ride from JR Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi Station
Entrance Fee: Adults 600 yen, Children 300 yen
Phone Number: +81-279-88-6167
Website/Homepage: Sai no Kawara Rotenburo (Japanese)

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