Kusatsu Onsen is a popular tourist destination in Gunma Prefecture, northwest of Tokyo. The place can boast of thirteen public baths, all of which are free and maintained by city residents.
The water has been said to have healing properties for centuries, largely thanks to a German doctor, Erwin von Bälz, who taught medicine at the University of Tokyo. Locals also claim that the water can cure any disease except a broken heart.
Kusatsu is located at an altitude of 1200 meters above sea level in the mountains of Gunma Prefecture and is therefore also ideal as a destination for skiers and hikers who can relax in the hot springs after a hard day.
A 5-minute walk from the town's bus stop, the yubatake offers guests a stunning and almost surreal image of the water used in the various hot springs. The waters begin at 70 degrees celsius before they are cooled a few degrees and taken to the hotspring baths around the onsen town.
From Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi Station, a bus runs to Kusatsu Onsen Town. The yubatake is a 5-minute walk from the bus stop.
Surrounding the heart of Kusatsu’s famous Yubatake lies Kirishimaya Ryokan, a Japanese style inn owned by Nakazawa-san. However you can call Nakazawa-san by his nickname Gary. Gary Nakazawa is a local of Kusatsu and you will be surprised by his knowledge of medicinal effects of the water, of the Yumomi ritual and Jikan no Yu. The staff members here are Gary Nakazawa and his wife; and although it is a ryokan, at times it felt like I was at a homestay as Gary was more than happy to ask me what I did that day, telling me all the people he had met, recommending nearby attractions and sharing me his knowledge of Kusatsu’s waters.
The Kusatsu Shirane Mountain (also called Shirane Mountain) is an active stratovolcano in Kusatsu, Gunma Prefecture. It is 2,160 meters high and is located immediately north of the Asama volcano. The volcano last erupted in 1983 and 2018. One of its greatest features are the three crater lakes on its summit. The largest of these lakes is the Yu-gama crater lake, which offers an incomparable sight with its turquoise-blue water. It is also the most acidic lake in all of Japan. The summit of Kusatsu Shirane Mountain is easily accessible on foot via its various hiking trails. However, it is also possible to cover a large part of the route by car. However, due to the danger of volcanic activity, certain areas of the volcano may be temporarily inaccessible