If this is your first time visiting Kusatsu Onsen, the attraction that you have to visit is Netsunoyu (熱乃湯). It was one of the public bathhouses in Kusatsu Onsen until the early 20th century. But since 1968, it has been transformed into a theater-like facility to introduce visitors to Kusatsu’s tradition and performing arts. In 2015, a major renovation was completed to the building giving it a Taishō period appearance.
What Is Yumomi?
At Netsunoyu, Kusatsu Onsen’s iconic performance, Yumomi (湯もみ), is held six times a day. It is one of the main reasons why tourists visit Kusatsu Onsen.
Yumomi is the name given to the process of stirring high-temperature hot spring water with large wooden paddles. This is a part of the hospitality of Kusatsu Onsen’s bathhouses to bring down the hot spring’s temperature without diluting it with cold water. That way, the customers can enjoy the full medical benefits of Kusatsu’s hot spring!
Yumomi is said to start in the Edo period. Since 1960, it has now become a unique show which entertains tourists. The 20-minute show isn’t all about stirring the onsen. It first starts off with a short introductory film with Engish subtitles about Kusatsu Onsen, followed by Kusatsu’s traditional dancing (草津節の踊り) before the Yumomi performance.
After the performance, the audience is invited to stir the hot spring (although currently suspended due to COVID-19). A commemorative photo will also be taken with you holding the 180 cm long, 30 cm wide wooden paddle. And as proof of your effort, you will even receive a Yumomi certificate at the end!
☛ Purchase your Yumomi performance ticket as soon as possible as tickets might be sold out for the session you want to attend.
☛ Arrive at least 15 minutes before the starting time so you can sit in the front row on the first or second floor, which offers the best view.
☛ The seats in the front row on the first floor are the ones closest to the performers. Photos of the show can be taken easily from this row.
The Yumomi-Kun Show (ゆもみくんショー)
Instead of women, if you want to see young guys performing Yumomi, check out Netsunoyu’s calendar HERE to see when the Yumomi-Kun Show is on!
The young men performing in the special Yumomi shows are all Kusatsu’s soccer players who aim to become professionals. With their strong athletic built, the show is going to be more exciting for many!
Giving Yumomi a Try
If you want to try to perform Yumomi yourself, visit Netsunoyu from 11:30 am to 1 pm on Sunday or Monday.
The staff will teach you how to do Yumomi the proper way, and you can get some photos with the wooden paddle, plus a certificate at the end of the session!
- The cost of the Yumomi Experience (湯もみ体験) is 300 yen.
- No reservation is taken.
- The last admission is at 12:50 pm.
Kusatsu Onsen Rakugo (草津 温泉らくご)
Rakugo is traditional Japanese comic storytelling. It is also another traditional performance you can enjoy at Netsunoyu. While the entire session is held in Japanese, it is a cultural experience that can’t be found in many places in Japan!
If you are interested, the show starts at 8 pm each day and lasts around 40 minutes. You are allowed to enter Netsunoyu from 7:30 pm.
The cost is 1,000 yen for adults and 500 yen for children ages 4 to 11.
Tips: reserve online HERE to get 100 yen off the admission fee. You can translate the webpage using Google Chrome’s translation function at the right of the address bar.
Netsunoyu’s Business Hours and Access Information
- Yumomi performance is held at 9:30 am, 10 am, 10:30 am, 3:30 pm, 4 pm, and 4:30 pm.
- The cost of seeing Yumomi performance is:
- 700 yen for adults
- 350 yen for elementary school students
- Netsunoyu is just a 5-minute walk from Kusatsu Onsen Bus Terminal
☛ Show the discount coupon HERE to the staff for a 50 yen discount.
☛ The first show in the morning and the afternoon are usually the most crowded.
Discover Other Attractions in Kusatsu Onsen
After enjoying the unique Yumomi performance, it is time to discover what other things Kusatsu Onsen has to offer. Whether it is private or public hot spring pools, soba noodles, traditional sweets or outdoor activities, such as obstacle courses and skiing, we can guarantee that you won’t be bored during your time at Kusatsu Onsen!
For more information, refer to our article on Kusatsu Onsen (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.