NAGANO JAPAN
SNOW MONKEY RESORTS
logo_circle
CONTACT
TOURS
1-Day Tour from Nagano and Karuizawa: Unwind in Kusatsu Onsen

1-Day Tour from Nagano and Karuizawa: Unwind in Kusatsu Onsen

Period

April - November

Time

09:30 - 17:30

Meeting Place

Nagano Station
Karuizawa Station

Price

Adult (13+)24,800 JPY
Child (6 - 12)15,500JPY

1-Day Tour from Nagano and Karuizawa: Unwind in Kusatsu Onsen

Japan is a country of volcanoes and deep forests, with boiling pools of water bubbling up from the earth found scattered throughout the land. Since ancient times, Japanese people have put these natural resources to great use through utilizing this naturally heated and mineral filled water to make baths designed to heal the body and relax the mind. This tradition is still ongoing, and there is nowhere better to observe it than Kusatsu. One of Japan’s most famous Onsen (hot springs) and consistently ranked the best Onsen in Eastern Japan for centuries, this town provides an amazing landscape centered around the Yubatake, a giant “field” of water coming from deep under the earth and from which the bath water for the local establishments is harvested. Of course, where there are hot springs there are volcanos, soaring to great heights and providing an amazing and otherworldly character to their environs. Starting from Nagano City before heading to Karuizawa for guest pick up, this tour will bring you through an amazing natural landscape of dried lava on Mount Asama before an afternoon of relaxation and great views in Kusatsu, the preferred getaway for all classes of Japanese going back centuries.

Highlights

  • See the otherworldly landscape of lava and beautiful vistas on Mount Asama
  • Soak your feet in the water of Kusatsu’s hot spring river at Sai no Kawara Park
  • Stroll through downtown Kusatsu and marvel at the Yubatake before having a lunch or entering a hot spring for yourself
  • Board the tour bus for a trip up Mount Shirane, one of Japan’s most beautiful volcanos and home to great viewpoints down over Kusatsu and its surroundings

*For those looking to join the tour from Tokyo, please see the FAQ Section below

Description

This tour will start at Nagano Station at 7:50 in the morning. Once all guests coming from Nagano have boarded, the bus will head for Karuizawa where guest boarding will begin at 9:30. For those coming from Tokyo, the tour meetup point can be easily reached by making use of the Hokuriku Shinkansen.

karuizawa-station-banner-edit

Once boarding is complete at Karuizawa, the tour will begin in earnest and you will be headed for the day’s first stop – Mount Asama and the Onioshidashi-en.

Formed by a volcanic eruption in the 1700’s, the landscape here feels nearly alien. Towering rocks formed from dry lava cover the mountainside, and pine trees and various bushes struggle to grow here and there in the harsh terrain. These elements together create what may be called a natural Japanese garden, its rock placement and stunted trees evoking thoughts of Zen Temples and Bonsai trees trimmed into unique shapes. John Lennon of the Beatles has even visited here before with his family, and is said to have taken great inspiration from Japanese culture.

The views over the surrounding scenery are themselves nothing short of breathtaking – looking over the valley below, one sees only forests extending towards the far off mountains which surround the valley. Far from the hustle and bustle of human life, the sound of wind whistling through the rocks will be the only thing to greet your ears while enjoying this natural wonder.

Leaving Mount Asama behind, the tour will continue on to Kusatsu as the bus passes through small villages and rolling fields.

Once you have arrived in Kusatsu, the activities will start with a walk towards town through the Sai no Kawara Park. This small valley is equipped with well maintained walkways and a number of areas to soak your feet in the warm waters of its thermal river. As towels will not be provided on the tour it may be a good idea to bring your own, although in general your feet will air dry in no time at all once removed from the water.

Once we have our shoes back on, the tour will continue to central Kusatsu and the famed Yubatake. Here your guide will show you around and teach you a little about the history of the area, before equipping you with recommendations for good food and good day-use hot springs and sending you off to have some free time. We will provide enough time to eat lunch and try visiting a local hot spring, so if you are interested in doing so it is best to bring your own towel on the tour! For guests who may not be interested in entering a hot springs, there are still a number of eateries and interesting sites around to occupy your time.

Once you are well fed and well relaxed, your free time will end you will meet with your guide to head to the final stop on the tour. Going up Mount Shirane, the still active volcano bordering Kusatsu, you will see the landscape transform as the trees thin out and strange volcanic rocks and steaming pits come to dominate the landscape. This road is one of Japan’s most famous for its scenery, and you will no doubt agree after seeing it yourself.

At the top, the bus will stop at a scenic look out point and your guide will give you some time to take in the scenery and enjoy the area. There may even still be some snow around to see late into May! As this is the top of a tall mountain, expect cold weather even in warmer months and the possibility for quick changes in the temperature.

Shiga-Kusatsu-Kogen-Route-snow-walls

For those guests who take this tour in April and early May, you are likely to see the above snow walls along the road at the top of Mount Shirane! If you want to enjoy some wintery scenery, the above mentioned months are the perfect time to come tour Kusatsu with us.

Due to dangerous volcanic activity, the mouth of Mount Shirane and the Yugama volcanic lake are currently unable to be accessed. Please keep this in mind when purchasing this tour.

Having enjoyed a great view, your tour bus will take you back to Karuizawa and then on to Nagano, where you may get off the bus at either of the above stops. For guests who want to start in Karuizawa and end in Nagano, or the other way around, this can be a convenient way to simplify your transport. The arrival time in Karuizawa will be around 17:30, and for Nagano it will be around 19:15. Please make sure to leave some time between the tour end time and your next plans, as the bus may be delayed due to traffic or other uncontrollable events.

ITINERARY

07:50Pick up at Nagano Station, in front of the Information Board immediately across from the Shinkansen ticket gates
09:30Pick up inside Karuizawa Station, outside of the Shinkansen Ticket Gates
10:00Arrive at the Onioshidashi-en on Mount Asama and have 1 hour to enjoy the amazing scenery and stroll through the lava rocks
11:45Arrive at the Sai no Kawara Riverside Onsen Park in Kusatsu, before walking to the Yubatake and hearing the history of Kusatsu
13:00Start free time in Kusatsu Onsen
14:30Reunite with your guide and board the bus to reach the top of the volcanic Mount Shirane
16:00After enjoying the views, reboard the bus and begin the journey back to Karuizawa for drop off
17:30Drop off at Karuizawa Station
19:15Drop off at Nagano Station

TOUR MEETUP POINT

1 / NAGANO STATION @ 7:50 A.M.

The first pick up point of the tour will be inside of Nagano Station at 7:50 A.M. You will find your guide waiting for you in front of the information board directly across from the Shinkansen ticket gates. Look for the tour tag with a Snow Monkey Resorts logo around their neck. Once everyone has gathered up, your guide will lead you down the bus to head for Karuizawa and the next pick up point.

2 / KARUIZAWA STATION SOUTH EXIT @ 9:30 A.M.

The second meetup point is outside of the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) ticket gates inside of JR Karuizawa Station. Your guide will be waiting for you just outside the gates, with a Snow Monkey Resorts tour tag. Once everyone has gathered up the bus will depart, so please make sure to be waiting at the meetup point at no later than 9:30 A.M.

NOTES

Included

  • English speaking guide
  • Transport to all destinations included in the tour
  • Entry to the Onioshidashi-en on Mount Asama
  • Guided tour at each location

Excluded

  • Lunch
  • Accommodation

Other Information

  • This tour involves walking in the outdoors. We recommend that you wear shoes and clothes which are easy to walk in. Please check the weather forecast before you head to the meetup point and prepare an umbrella or rain coat if necessary.
  • Temperatures high in the mountains may be chilly, even in warmer months. We recommend bringing layers or a light jacket, especially early in Summer. In Autumn the temperatures will drop again and snow may even fall on the tops of the mountains. Please prepare the proper clothing and footwear for the environment based on the season.
  • There will be free time along the way for guests to enjoy the locations at their own pace. However, please make sure that you are at the respective meetup points at the time stated by your guide. If you get lost or need assistance, feel free to call the number which is listed on your tour pass, and our staff will assist you immediately.

FAQs

Can I join this tour from Tokyo?
Yes, it is very simple and easy to join this tour from Tokyo! You need only ride the Shinkansen departing Tokyo Station at 07:52 in order to arrive in Karuizawa by 08:58, leaving a leisurely 30 minutes to prepare for the tour and head to the meetup point. For the return journey back to Tokyo, we would recommend booking the 18:09 train (or later). Please be aware that due to traffic or other uncontrollable situations we may be late in returning to Karuizawa. Please book your tickets with time to spare to ensure you do not miss your train.
Can I start from Karuizawa and end at Nagano (or vice versa)?
Yes, you may choose any combination of the pick up and drop off points available; you are not limited to picking the same area for both.
Is lunch included in this tour?
No, lunch is not included. Guests will be provided time to eat at Kusastu during free time, or may bring their own lunch if they desire. Your guide will be ready to give suggestions as to where it is best to eat in Kusatsu.
Do I have to enter an Onsen bath on this tour?
Entering an Onsen will be up to your personal choice - no visit to any specific Onsen is included in the tour. During free time there will be opportunities to enter one if you wish, and the guide will advise you on where and how to do so.
Will towels be provided for the Onsen?
We ask guests to bring their own towels if possible. Some onsen offer rental towels for an extra cost, but the safest option is to bring your own (preferably one large body towel and one smaller towel). For guests who only wish to use the footbath, it is possible to let your feet air dry, but it is also perfectly fine to bring a small towel to dry your feet before putting on your shoes. In either situation, the tour operator will not have towels to provide.

(Travel Agency License No: Nagano 2-562)
Snow Monkey Resorts Tours
Nagano City Kurita 1015-7, NK Copo 202, Nagano, 380-0921 Japan
Tel: (81)26-219-6256
Member of All Nippon Travel Agents Association
Travel Service Supervisor: Tomoko Kasahara