If something ails you, you might be wise to visit Kusatsu Onsen. It's a popular tourist destination in Gunma Prefecture, northwest of Tokyo. Kusatsu boasts having thirteen public baths, all of which are free to use and maintained by the townspeople. The waters have been said to have healing properties for centuries, largely thanks to a German doctor, Erwin von Baelz, who taught medicine at Tokyo University. Locals also claim that the waters can heal any sickness, except a broken heart.
In the center of the town, guests can see the immense yubatake or hot water field. This incredible symbol of Kusatsu Onsen is not only a great photo spot, but also pumps out 32,300 liters of hot water every minute! Although the waters of the yubatake are too hot to bathe in, coming out at 70 degrees celsius, tourists can walk around the beautiful field of steaming waters before the slightly cooled water is pumped to various hot spring houses.
The yubatake and onsen town are especially beautiful at night. Enjoy a quiet stroll around the lit-up pool of water or rest your weary feet in the free ashiyu, or foot bath, at the edge of the yubatake. For a charming experience, many guests to the area don traditional cotton yukata and geta sandals.
Another interesting point is that each bathhouse has a slightly different pH and water quality. These waters range from milky to clear, but largely the waters are sulfuruous and acidic. They're said to be the best in Japan and each reportedly heals a different ailment. While you're in town, why not visit as many of the thirteen springs as possible? Aside from the public hot springs, there are also ryokan where guests can stay overnight or bathe in the waters for a fee.
A visit to Kusatsu Onsen is sure to rejuvenate the body and mind, and the soothing view of yubatake will calm your soul.
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.
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