Kusatsu Onsen: A visit to the Sainokawara Park & Open-Air Rotenburo Bath - Vikingess Voyages

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Kusatsu Onsen: A visit to the Sainokawara Park & Open-Air Rotenburo Bath

About 10 minutes walk from the Yubatake in the center of Kusatsu you can find one of Japan's largest outdoor hot springs; the Sainokawara Rotenburo (西の河原露天風呂). This outdoor hot spring bath (rotenburo) is situated in the middle of the Sainokawara Park, so a big part of experiencing the onsen is actually to stroll through the park and enjoy the nature on your way there.

But the Kusatsu onsen experience begins even earlier than that; as you walk towards the park from the Yubatake in the center of Kusatsu you get to walk through these tiny traditional Japanese streets where you can enjoy the sight of the traditional architecture, as well as trying various traditional Japanese products from the local vendors.

Above: A local manju (饅頭 - sweet pastry) store handing out free manju buns and green tea to tourists.

Above: Eggs boiled in hot onsen water (温泉卵 - onsen tamago) to the left & grilled fish on sticks to the right.

Above: A cute Totoro store and a store selling traditional Japanese products
After a short walk you get to the entrance of the Sai no Kawara park area where you can find a map of the area. Getting to the Sainokawara onsen from the entrance of the park is very easy, you just follow the stone-paved promenade by the river taking you to the hot spring which is situated in the center of the park. Along the way you'll pass by a couple of landmarks too, and first out to your left is the Kusatsu Anamori Inari Shrine (草津穴守稲荷神社).
The Anamori Inari Shrine is said to have been built around 1910
A Jizo statue - Mizuko Jizo - by the hot spring water
As you can see we had really cold weather with a lot of snow!
Finally reached the hot spring - great place to snap a group photo in the cold..
Group picture time
The hot spring is separated into a bath for men and one for women. For those who are familiar with Japanese hot spring culture you of course already know that you won't be needing a swim suite, as everyone enter the baths in their birthday suits. After paying the 600 yen (6$) entry fee you're free to use the hot spring bath as long as you want. It can get really hot in the onsen, so even if it is snowing when you visit it shouldn't be a problem to stay warm.
Entrance to the women's bath
There is a changing area after you've paid the entrance fee but keep in mind that there is no shower available. If you have valuables with you they have coin lockers available for 100 yen (1$). I would have liked to take some more photos of the inside, but it was quite crowded during our visit so it would have been impossible to snap photos without getting random naked strangers in them. Anyway, here's a nice summertime Google Streetview photo I snapped from Google instead:
Finally, if you want to go on a Onsen Meguri (温泉巡り - a roundtrip to different onsen) during your stay you might want to visit the 3 free communal Kusatsu bathhouses (I've written about them here). But if you've already visited those and still want more, you could always purchase the below Choina Triple Hot Spring Tour Pass for a nice discount on visits to three of Kusatsu's main hot springs; the Gozanoyu (御座之湯), Ohtakinoyu (大滝乃湯) and Sainokawara Rotenburo mentioned in this post. This hot spring pass can be purchased at either of the three hot springs. Not bad huh!

That's all for now. Thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below

Basic information

  • Sainokawara Park, Sainokawara Rotenburo (西の河原露天風呂)
  • ・Access: Approximately 10 minutes walk from Yubatake (hot water field) in the very center of Kusatsu
  • ・Entrance fee: 600 yen/adults, 300 yen/children
  • ・Opening Hours: ●April - November: 7am - 8pm (last entry: 7:30pm)●December - March: 9am - 8pm (last entry: 7:30pm)
  • ・Homepage: http://sainokawara.com/ (Japanese only)

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Kusatsu Onsen Daitokan
Kusatsu Onsen Daitokan
Kusatsu Onsen Nisshinkan
Kusatsu Onsen Nisshinkan
★★★  → review 
Ryokan Naraya
Ryokan Naraya
Yubatake Souan Hotel
Yubatake Souan Hotel

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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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