I can’t believe it’s already February! The new year is flying by fast. I hope everyone is keeping warm. One of the best ways to keep warm in the winter is to visit an onsen, or hot spring. Luckily, I live in Gunma Prefecture, where there are many amazing hot spring towns to visit. Recently I went to Kusatsu, a hot spring town that consistently ranks in the top 3 in Japan.


Steam rises from the hot spring water in the center of the town.

I got on the train to Kusatsu at 11 in the morning on a Saturday. After a quick transfer one station over, it was a relaxing 1 hour trip to Naganohara-kusatsuguchi station. From the station there is a bus to the center of town. The bus ride was about 25 minutes long. Then, the hotel offered a pick up service from the bus terminal. I finally arrived!

A typical hot spring trip involves staying at a hotel that has private baths (indoor and outdoor), scenic views, and a dinner service, as well as breakfast. Meals consist of Japanese cuisine, and are usually quite good, though sometimes I’m not sure what I’m eating. Guests are served in their rooms, or if your party is big enough, in a private dining room. This type of hotel stay and meal plan can cost more than 10,000 yen (more than $100). It’s worth it though!

After checking in to the hotel and dropping off bags, I headed into town to do some shopping and enjoy the quaint atmosphere. The streets are lined with shops selling souvenirs, restaurants, cafes, and vendors selling hot food and drinks. There’s so much to see!


A side street in Kusatsu.

Be sure to try the onsen tamago when you visit! Soft-boiled eggs cooked in a hot spring!


A view of the hot spring water flowing in the center of town.


A trip to Kusatsu, or any hot spring town, can easily be done in just a day as well. You don’t need to stay in a hotel to enjoy the natural hot water. There are free baths and some paid baths around town that usually sell towels for you to use. There are also many foot baths for people to enjoy along the streets.

After some sightseeing, I went back to the hotel to get into the bath before dinner. I used the bath again after dinner, too. And after breakfast! The water is full of minerals that makes your skin really smooth and supposedly is good for your health. It’s also really fun!

On Sunday morning I went into town again to get some last minute souvenirs and enjoy the foot baths. I didn’t have time to go to any of the free baths around town though. I would definitely go again, probably on a day trip!