Kusatsu: It’s Not Just For Christmas (or Autumn Part Two)

Posted by on Oct 16, 2011 in Gunma, Travel Volunteer Journey | 6 Comments
Kusatsu: It’s Not Just For Christmas (or Autumn Part Two)

The town of Zao Onsen, back in Yamagata prefecture, was a nice wee place – we just happened to arrive there at the wrong time of year. So it was with some trepidation that we arrived in Kusatsu in Gunma. On a grander, slightly more Swiss scale, this is a very similar town. Healing waters erupt from the town centre and feed onsens in ryokans across town, the entire place smells strongly of the devil’s eggs, and wearing your pyjamas (yukata) around town is wildly popular.

That’s all fine – but the real star around these parts is said to be the world-class skiing. Nagano – site of the 1998 Winter Olympics – isn’t far away, but there’s some great runs around here too. And then all this onsen water to relax in afterwards.

But the snow doesn’t come here until mid-December, and we’ll be long gone.
So when we left this morning, for a bus ride into the mountains, we were a little despondent. But then we saw that Gunma doesn’t just have one season of brilliance – oh no…

Our time in Gunma prefecture was made possible by:

Our guide Ms Yoshiko Nagano, who was confusingly our guide in Gunma. As well as teaching us all about Daruma, we were treated to one of the most spectacular lunch locations we’ve ever been lucky enough to visit: the 21st floor of City Hall, allowing us views of hundreds of miles around.

Daimonya, home of the Daruma. The people there treated us like regular customers until they found out what we were doing, and why, at which point their refunded the money we’d paid for our dolls as a contribution to the project. How lovely!

The Kusatsu Now Resort, which can hold its head high in a town full of hotels. As well as the huge onsens – private and public – bars, and restaurants, the place manages to maintain a community feel, with strangers chatting freely throughout the huge building. There’s also a regular shuttle bus into town, too, so guests can check out the regular comedy shows which, unfortunately for us, don’t come with English subtitles.







群馬県のガイドさんだけどお名前は長野嘉子さん。高崎でだるまのいろいろなお話を聞かせて下さいました。そして高崎市役所の21階では昼食もご馳走になりました。市内を一望できる素晴らしいレストランで、楽しいひと時を過ごさせていただきました。 ありがとうございました。


草津ナウリゾートさん、素晴らしい施設と景色で快適な滞在を過ごさせていただきました。ありがとうございました。大小さまざまな温泉にレストランやバーの料飲施設など、広大な敷地の中には滞在をより楽しませてくれる魅力が満載でした。 その上駅からは無料のシャトルバスがあってとっても便利でした。中心地で行われる落語を楽しみたい人も簡単に行けますよ!(残念ながら落語は日本語のみでした・・・)


  1. Momo
    October 16, 2011

    Ah so beautiful, even making me emotional. So missing the proper Autumn feelings as I am living in hong kong wituout a distinctive Autumn here.

  2. Natalie Neal
    October 16, 2011

    Thank you for taking us with you. You have artfully captured the seasonal magic of this very special place.

  3. Joe Lafferty
    October 16, 2011

    When the photos are as good as you take Katy, sometimes there’s no need for words. Absolutely stunning and wonderful work!

  4. James Mundy
    October 16, 2011

    I love Gunma! Beautiful mountains, relaxing hot spring and wonderful people all year round. Enjoy the rest of the trip…

  5. Kavey
    October 16, 2011

    What a visual feast for the eyes… both calming and uplifting!

  6. Kat
    October 25, 2011

    The colors of nature beat out any kind of palette I have ever seen. Beautiful!