[Throwback October] Headed out for an overnight trip with Sushi’s family, we decided to head over to Kusatsu Onsen, which is one of the more famous onsen towns in Japan and at 1200 meters above sea level in the mountains. It is also a spot for you to enjoy early Autumn.
Kusatsu has the largest natural flow of hot spring water in all of Japan, much of which surfaces at the Yubatake in the town center. The sulfurous, highly acidic waters have been considered among Japan’s best for centuries, and the resort town has constantly occupied a top spot in onsen rankings. It is difficult to beat Kusatsu in terms of quality and quantity of its waters.
– Japan Guide
Kusatsu Onsen is also memorable to me too as I came here back in 2008 all alone for my solo Japan trip without speaking any Japanese and fast forward 6 years later, not only speaking the language and married to a Japanese no less. Life is so unpredictable. :P
The Yubatake still looks the same and you have to get use to the sulfuric smell when you first arrive.
Apparently, this Yakiniku shop is quite highly raved in this part of town. Since we got in on a weekday, some shops are not open as most of the time they get more visitors in the weekend so we decided it is not sinful to eat a lot of meat for lunch. The small eatery was right beside the Yubatake so it was really convenient location too.
The lunch was delicious, we initially just got the lunch set which means everyone gets 4 slices of meat but it was so good that we ordered 2 more plates from the ala carte menu. The marbling was very even, the meat was just marinated with some salt and the moment we place it on the heat, the fats would turn oily and sizzled around the meat. It was juicy and oily that filled our mouths with a great heavenly flavor….(getting hungry just by remembering how good the lunch was)
It was still 1.5 hours away to the Yumomi (湯もみ) performance so we decided to take a short tour of the facilities around the small onsen town.
A small temple above a small hill where you can see the overview of the town too.
Yumomi (湯もみ) is a traditional method of cooling down hot spring water to bathing temperature by stirring the water with large wooden paddles. The process is accompanied by the singing of a local folk song.
– Japan Guide
We were lucky to catch the performance as the performance house is currently torn down for rebuild and it won’t be ready till Spring 2015 so there is no performance till then.
Ladies dancing away and demostrating how the onsen water was cooled down in the past. As part of the performance, guests are also invited to join in to participate in this cooling water dance. At the end of the participation, you can get a certificate
Then it was a short 10 minutes walk from the Yubatake to our hotel.
Onsen hotel of a substantial age from the exterior but the interior is very clean and tidy. Furniture is quite dated but in good condition.
Almost look like the corridor to our room door but it is not, it is inside our room. We were staying in a elevated tatami room with 2 sides of the room in a extended corridor. We were amazed!
The tatami room for us to relax before it would be transformed into a bedroom.
Ols style dressing table, very Japanese as you have to sit on the tatami.
Rest area near the window where you can look out to a small garden.
After a quick rest and a long soak in the hot springs, we adjorned next door for our dinner. One perk of vacation during the weekdays, you can use the spare room for our meals instead of eating in your room. Makes cleaning up easier.
Gunma beef for sukiyaki.
You can’t miss sashimi in Japan.
Appetizers to start your dinner.
Pickled vegetables with seafood.
Various steamed vegetables.
Steamed sweet potato rice.
Vegetable tempura with pork miso soup…..so full……