While sakura season is just around the corner, you can still enjoy some snowy landscapes and steamy hot springs in Gunma prefecture’s famous Kusatsu Onsen resort. Best of all, you can hop on a highway bus that takes you straight from Tokyo to the onsen resort.
Japan’s highway bus companies are offering three different discount deals so you can enjoy your trip to the fullest. Get on the bus at either Tama-Plaza Station, Futako-Tamagawa Rise Rakuten Crimson House or Shibuya Mark City, and you’ll arrive at Kusatsu Onsen in about five hours, depending on traffic and where you depart from. Don’t worry, the bus will also make a short stop at the Kan-etsu Kamisato Service Area to give you a break.
To get an idea of what’s available, check the three plans below.
Plan 1: Discounted entry to three hot springs in Kusatsu Onsen
Make the most of your visit to Kusatsu Onsen by using this plan to enjoy cheaper entry to three popular hot spring facilities. At Otakinoyu, you can enjoy awase-yu, which lets you experience different baths at different temperatures; Gozanoyu, on the other hand, is a hot spring that’s over 1,000 years old; while the Sainokawara Rotenburo large open-air bath is surrounded by a lush forest.
The deal includes discount tickets to the hot springs and the round-trip highway bus ticket: ¥8,300 from Shibuya and Futako-Tamagawa stations, ¥8,900 from Tama-Plaza Station.
Plan 2: Free entry to one hot spring in Kusatsu Onsen
This plan includes free entry to either Gozanoyu or Sainokawara Rotenburo and a round-trip highway bus ticket: ¥7,200 from Shibuya and Futako-Tamagawa stations, ¥7,800 from Tama-Plaza Station.
Plan 3: Free access to Kusatsu Onsen’s ski resort and onsen
This deal is perfect for winter sport fans. In addition to free entry to either Gozanoyu or Sainokawara Rotenburo, this deal includes a lift ticket to Kusatsu Onsen’s ski resort, plus a ¥500 discount coupon for the ski resort restaurant. The ski resort boasts slopes for beginners, as well as advanced and experienced skiers. From the slope's highest point at 1,600 metres, you can enjoy views of Kusatsu Onsen, and Mt Fuji on sunny days. One of the most popular slopes is the 4,300-metre run along National Highway 292 – the road is closed to cars during winter and makes a fantastic ski slope.
Prices for the plan vary depending which ski lift pass you go for. The deal with a full-day lift ticket costs ¥10,200 from Shibuya and Futako-Tamagawa stations, and ¥10,800 from Tama-Plaza Station, while the four-hour lift ticket deal is a bit cheaper at ¥9,700 from Shibuya and Futako-Tamagawa stations, and ¥10,300 from Tama-Plaza Station.
Note that all three discount deals are only available for adults, and while Plan 1 and 2 are available until March 31, Plan 3 is only available until March 21. The discount deals have to be booked via the official highwaybus.com app. The app is in Japanese only, but if you tap on おトクなセット券を購入する (‘buy bargain set tickets’) on the home screen, you’ll find the Kusatsu Onsen discount deals.
For more information and the timetables, see here (in Japanese only).
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