Sunday, December 18, 2016

Weekend in Kusatsu Onsen: A Yumomi Experience (湯もみ体験)

Kusatsu Onsen is situated in Gunma, a prefecture to the north of Tokyo and Saitama. Kusatsu is one of Japan's most famous onsen resorts, and tourists travel from near and far to experience the healing hot springs of Kusatsu. 
The hot spring water in the center of In Kusatsu can hold up to around 90°C, which is way too hot to bathe in. When the locals were looking for a way to cool down the water without diluting it they came up with the yumomi (湯もみ) technique, a word which literarily means to rub the water. The practice is still kept alive in some places, and during a recent trip to Kusatsu we went to Netsu no Yu in the center of the village to check out their yumomi performance.
Waiting in line to get into the Netsu no Yu (熱乃湯) building where the yumomi performances are held
By using wide boards to stir the water the villagers could lower the temperature enough so that people could enter the water if only for a couple of minutes. In the Netsu no Yu house you can see how this process was done in the past with villagers gathering around a hot spring bath and singing while they perform the yumomi
The yumomi performance is held multiple times a day, but as it is very popular particularly among domestic travellers you better get in line early to get a ticket for your preferred time of the day. Once you've bought the ticket you have to line up a second time for the actual entry to Netsu no Yu.
At first they'll show a video with a short introduction to the history of the yumomi with subtitles in English, before they start the yumomi demonstration. In between the demonstrations the ladies also perform a short local dance.
During the performance the yumomi ladies also do a short dance which also can be seen in the video at the bottom of this post.


The Yumomi Taiken Experience

During the show they give a total of 40 visitors the chance to try yumomi. This is however offered on a first-come-first-serve basis, so one has to be quick lining up. If you want to try it you should stand in one of the corner areas close to the stage, or else the Japanese tourists will have lined up before you even realize what is going on as all the talk is done in Japanese.
 Yuma and I lined up quickly and got to try the yumomi!
My darling Yuma and I were lucky, and got in line just in time to make the second round of the yumomi experience. I have included this in the video below for those interested. After having tried the yumomi we got a little diploma and a cute notepad with a print of Kusatsu's yukukyara (ゆるキャラ) mascot Yumomi-chan.
 
The present we got after having tried yumomi


Video from the yumomi show:




Happy Yumomi Discount!

The regular cost of the yumomi experience is 600 yen, but you can get a 50-yen discount on the entrance fee if you show the picture above when you buy the ticket. It is enough to save the picture on your phone and show it to them, and by showing one picture you can get discount for up to 5 people. Note that this discount is available until March 31st 2017.

Thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below
Anette

Basic information

Event Yumomi Experience (湯もみ体験) at Netsu no Yu (熱乃湯)

Access Situated right by the Yubatake (hot water field) in the very center of Kusatsu
Time ●Morning: 9:30, 10:00, 10:30
●Afternoon: 3:30分, 4:00, 4:30(a total of 6 times a day)
Homepage http://www.kusatsu-onsen.ne.jp/netsunoyu/ (Japanese only)

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Recommended Hotels in Kusatsu

Kusatsu Onsen Daitokan
Kusatsu Onsen Daitokan
Kusatsu Onsen Nisshinkan
Kusatsu Onsen Nisshinkan
Ryokan Naraya
Ryokan 
Naraya
Yubatake Souan Hotel
Yubatake Souan 
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The Cosmopolitan Expat:
The classical story about a girl who went for a one-year exchange program to Japan, fell in love and got stuck there. Starting out as a student in Kyoto in 2010 I now work full-time in Tokyo as a hotel consultant, and write mostly about my travels, working life in Japan as well as a bunch of random stuff. Stricken by 職業病 I also write about hotels and share updates about new opening hotels and/or time sales in the Kanto region.

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