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

Transportation: Only 75-minute bullet train ride from Tokyo to Karuizawa

Karuizawa is another great sightseeing spot as a nice resting point following a relaxing visit to Kusatsu Onsen.

Karuizawa is one of the most popular sightseeing spots in Japan. There is a Summit planned for next year (2016) in Japan and Nagano Prefecture is proposing Karuizawa town as a candidate venue. Did you know Bill Gates, Microsoft’s CEO, is currently building a country house in Karuizawa?

It only takes one hour from Kusatsu Onsen to Karuizawa. We think a chance to enjoy the natural atmosphere in Karuizawa and go shopping at Karuizawa outlet malls after a Kusatsu Onsen visit would be a wonderful plan.

Although it can be very difficult to gather information about transportation when planning a trip for Japan, for instance how much will it cost and where can to purchase tickets, etc., we highly recommend purchasing a “JR Kanto Area PASS”, which definitely makes travel very easy!

The JR Kanto Area Pass is a discounted pass for unlimited rides in Tokyo and the surrounding Kanto area. Valid for three days, the pass is good for unlimited rides using reserved seats on ordinary cars on Shinkansen, limited express and other trains. It cost 8,300 yen for adults and 4,200 yen for children. Pass holders can visit popular tourist destinations and also use it to get to the Narita International Airport for the return journey. Passes are available at Narita International Airport, Haneda Airport, Tokyo station, Shinjuku station, Ueno station, and Yokohama station. Passports will be needed to purchase the pass.

JR Kant Area PASS

To Kusatsu Onsen;

There are three ways to get to Kusatsu Onsen from Tokyo Station.

Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo Station/ Change to a local bus and get off at Kusatsu Onsen Bus Terminal.
Express bus service from Shinjuku Station to Kusatsu Onsen Bus Terminal.
JR Express Kusatsu from Ueno Station to Naganohara Kusatsuguchi. Change to a local bus to Kusatsu Onsen Bus Terminal.

Kusatsu Onsen: Access, Orientation and Transportation

Here is a summary of the advantages and disadvantage for each route.

Hokuriku Shinkansen (5,910 yen) + Bus (2,200 yen)

Day 1
Take JR Hokuriku Shinkansen, “HAKUTAKA No.559”
Depart Tokyo(8:12am) Arrive at Karuizawa (9:25am)
Change to Kusatsu Kotsu Bus, Express Kusakaru route
Depart Karuizawa (10:20am) Arrive Kusatsu Onsen Bus Terminal(11:36am)

Day 2
Get on a Kusatsu Kotsu Bus, Express Kusakaru route
Depart Kusatsu Onsen Bus Terminal(3:30pm) Karuizawa (4:46pm)

Take JR Hokuriku Shinkansen, “ASAMA No. 624” Deaprt Karuizawa(5:38pm) Arrive at Tokyo(6:56pm)

There are 4 shinkansen trains bound to Karuizawa every day. A bus to Kusatsu Onsen is waiting for when you get off the shinkansen. Use the JR Kanto area Pass from Tokyo Station to Karuizawa. A round trip between Tokyo and Karuizawa will pay off the ticket cost. Relax in your seat even if you have a large pieces luggage.

Express bus (3,300 yen)

Day 1
Take an Express bus, “JOSHU YUMEGURI”
Depart Shinjuku (10:00am) Arrive at Kusatsu Onsen Bus Terminal(2:07pm)

Take an Express bus, “JOSHU YUMEGURI”
Kusatsu Onsen Bus Terminal(5:30pm) Arrive at Shinjuku(9:37pm)

Convenient without having to transfer, although it will be a long trip on the way. As English website is not available online so go to the bus terminal to buy a ticket directly. There are 9 buses per day. Recommended for people with big baggage. JR Kanto PASS cannot be used for this express bus.

Express train (5,270 yen) + bus (690 yen)

Day 1
Take JR Express train, “KUSATSU No.1” from Ueno (10:00am) to Naganohara Kusatsuguchi(12:31am)
Take JR Bus from Naganohara Kusatsuguchi(12:42am) to Kusatsu Onsen Bus Terminal(1:04pm)

Day 2
Take JR Bus from Kusatsu Onsen Bus Terminal(2:45pm) to Naganohara Kusatsuguchi(3:07pm)
Take JR Express train, “KUSATSU No.4” from Naganohara Kusatsuguchi(3:42pm) to Ueno (6:10pm)

Total time is short. JR Kanto Area Pass can be used for train rider from Ueno to Naganohara Kusatsuguchi. Only two express trains available per day. This is not recommended for those who travel with large amounts of luggage.

I hope this information is helpful. Wishing you a lovely trip to Kusatsu Onsen and the Karuizawa area!

      Kusatsu Onsen
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