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Kusatsu Onsen: Japan’s famous hot spring, symbolized by the “Yubatake”


UpdateJuly 27, 2021
ReleaseMay 1, 2021

Kusatsu onsen yubatake yumomi Kusatsu Onsen in Gunma Prefecture is one of the onsen resorts near Tokyo. With a unique culture, such as “Yubatake” and “Yumomi,” as well as full-fledged onsen facilities in the area, it is very popular.

The amount of natural spring water of Kusatsu is the largest in Japan. The acidic spring water containing a high level of sulfur is known to be highly efficacious for any ailments and discomforts except for lovesickness, and has attracted many people for treatment purposes since days of old.

The temperature of the source of the spring is as high as 50 degrees Celsius, so you cannot get into the bath as it is. “Yubatake” is the symbol of Kusatsu Onsen: it is a mechanism to cool down the hot spring water by having it go through wooden waterpipes. This system allows the water to be delivered to the onsen hotels without diluting the water, which would lead to lowering the efficacy of onsen.

Kusatsu Onsen Yubatake
Kusatsu Onsen Yubatake Lighting-up Lighting-up of the yubatake at night creates a dreamy atmosphere.

Another system to lower the temperature of the water is “Yumomi,” which literally means “kneading hot water.” In this tradition of Kusatsu Onsen, several people stir hot water with a long wooden plate at the same time. This Yumomi activity is not only for lowering the temperature of the water but also for warming up before getting into a hot bath. It is said to have been already done in the Edo period (1603-1867). There is a unique “Yumomi-uta” song, which is sung by several people so that they can be in rhythmic sync with each other while handling the plates. At the “Netsu no Yu” onsen facility, Yumomi song and dance performances are offered every day.

Kusatsu Onsen Yumomi kneading hot water Netsu no Yu Yumomi-uta Around the Yubatake, there are many onsen facilities and ryokan hotels, so onsen hopping is the best part of Kusatsu onsen to fully enjoy them. Next to the Yubatake, there is a foot bath, where you can enjoy onsen directly from Yubatake. In February 2021, a new area for washing hands with hot water directly from the spring source was created.

There are three drop-in onsen facilities, “Otaki no Yu,” “Goza no Yu,” and “Sainokawara Rotenburo,” which are especially recommended to visit. Located about 900 meters from the Yubatake area is an open-air bath with a large area and superior open feeling. Enjoy various kinds of seasonal beauty, such as fresh greenery and autumn foliage, of the area surrounded by nature.

Kusatsu Onsen Sainokawara Rotenburo There are many places with abundant nature around Kusatsu Onsen. You may want to enjoy the onsen resort on a day trip or overnight trip, or stay for several days to visit different baths and thoroughly relax. There are many ways to enjoy Kusatsu Onsen, considered to be one of the best onsen in all of Japan.

Tokyo Sta. -> 70 min by Hokuriku Shinkansen -> Karuizawa Sta. -> 80-115 min by Kusakaru bus or Seibu bus -> Kusatsu Onsen

Kusatsu Onsen Kanko Kyokai (Tourism Association)

*The information herein is as of April 2021.