Kusatsu Onsen: Rated No.1 of Japan’s 100 Best Hot Springs for 12 consecutive years ! (2/3)

Experience Traditional bathing style completely free of charge!

There are three bathing styles unique to Kusatsu. They are jikan-yu , Agari-yu and Awase-yu. Guests are encouraged to enjoy these about 3 times per day and try to remain in the onsen for an extended to take a full advantage of the special curing properties.

Jikan-yu: These are timed baths where bathers sit in very hot 48 degree water for exactly 3 minutes because it's believed to be good for the body's blood circulation. The bathwater is stirred with long planks for cooling. This act of stirring the water is called "yumomi.“ It can lower the temperature of the water without adding water and it also serves as an important pre-bathing exercise. After doing Yumomi, guests soak in the hot water and try to withstand the hot temperature until achieving a bright red face. This is believed to be the most effective method of bathing. Actually, everyone joins in a special song during this event and the song further stimulates deep breathing and thereby adds to the absorption of steam and the overall healing effects.

Agari-yu: The secret to Kusatsu Onsen's healing properties is the springs’ strong acidity. A 1-yen coin (made of aluminum) would dissolve in only a week! In order to neutralize the acid, bathers soak in alkaline hot spring for the purpose of finishing up and softening skin and improving skin tone.

Awase-yu: A method of soaking in five tubs of different water temperatures (38, 42, 44, 45, 46 degrees) in order to accustom oneself to the hot water. Bathers start from 38 degree bath and change it to the higher temperature one by one. Then, after reaching the 46 degree bath, bathers go back to the lowest 38 degree tub. This improves the body's blood circulation and helps sweat glands clear.

You can experience these unique bathing styles at a free public bath. Please visit Chiyonoyu and/or Jizounoyu for jikan-yu. Chiyonoyu provides experience session for visitors and Jizounoyu offers professional hot-spring cure session. As for Agari-yu, guests can check Shiman Onsen and Sawatari Onsen (both located close to Kusatsu Onsen). Since they are both famous for agari-yu practice, many Japanese visitors will stop by at these two onsen spots when they visit Kusatsu Onsen. Awase-yu can be enjoyed at Otaki-no-yu near Yubatake. (Entrance fee is Adult: 800 yen, Child: 400 yen)

I recommend you stay at a Japanese ryokan inn or hotel in the Kusatsu Onsen area in order to enjoy all of three traditional bathing styles. After taking full advantage of Justus Onsen with several dips during a one-night stay, guests will notice improved skin tone and any little cuts will suddenly be gone! I hope Kusatsu Onsen provided an excellent place to relax and rejuvenate.


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