Vegetarian's Japan Guide

The Best Guide to the Hotels in Kusatsu Onsen

Kusatsu Onsen is one of Japan’s best hot spring towns. But choosing where to stay for the night can be hard as there are so many choices! So if you prefer to dine out at night to enjoy the local food or you have special dietary requirements, the below hotels/ryokans can accommodate you! A few of them even allow day visitors to reserve their private baths!

Kusatsu Onsen Gensen Ichinoyu (草津温泉 源泉一乃湯)

If bathing with strangers isn’t your cup of tea, you can book one of the private hot spring baths with Kusatsu Onsen Gensen Ichinoyu, even if you are just a day guest. The hotel is also a great accommodation choice for those who prefer to enjoy the local cuisine instead of dinner prepared by a hotel/ryokan chef. The best thing about the hotel is that it includes a free breakfast!

On the way to the communal bathhouse, Jizō no Yu, there is a refined traditional Japanese-style complex atop the staircases. Originally a ryokan founded over a hundred years ago, this complex is now a stylish ryokan dedicated to those who wish to have a fancy stay without needing to dine in their hotels. You will be amazed when the traditional warehouse-style automatic door opens up, as the interior design of Kusatsu Onsen Gensen Ichinoyu is just awe-inspiring. The Japanese and Western elements balance out so well that there is no disharmony!

Kusatsu Onsen Gensen Ichinoyu has 10 types of guestrooms for you to choose from, including those with a hot spring tub in your room. The spacious layout of their 44 guestrooms will overturn the stereotype of an accommodation facility that doesn’t include meals. If you prefer to cook for yourself, you can also book a room with a kitchenette. From cooking utensils, tableware, and basic seasonings, talk to the reception staff. You can borrow everything there without extra charges!

Tip: You can enjoy a free plate of their simple breakfast at Kusatsu Onsen Gensen Ichinoyu’s lounge on the first floor if you spend a night at the hotel.

Kusatsu Onsen Gensen Ichinoyu’s Private Baths

Kusatsu Onsen Gensen Ichinoyu’s large indoor public bath sources its hot spring from Yubatake. Indulging in the onsen is the perfect way to rejuvenate and alleviate skin diseases. The onsen will also make your skin glow!

After a hot spring session, remember to stay hydrated at the free drink bar corner (=゚ω゚)ノ.

For those who require privacy, you can spend extra to enjoy the hot spring at one of the seven private hot spring baths. Instead of sourcing the hot spring from Yubatake, some use the onsen gushing out from underneath the hotel!

  • The cost to rent a private hot spring bath:
    • 3,200 yen for 45 minutes (4,000 yen for day visitors)
    • 6,400 yen for 90 minutes (8,000 yen for day visitors)
    • 8,000 yen for 120 minutes (10,000 yen for day visitors)
  • You can rent it from 12 pm to 9 am the next day if you are a hotel guest.
    • The last admission is at 8 am.
  • For a day visitor, you can rent the private hot spring bath from 10 am to 8 pm.
    • Please make a reservation through the official website HERE.

You can reserve Kusatsu Onsen Gensen Ichinoyu via klook!

☛ The hotel doesn’t have a lift/elevator.
☛ The free plate of breakfast includes meat. You can utilize the phrases in our Essential Japanese Travel Phrases for Vegetarians and Vegans article to communicate with the staff to customize your plate to a certain degree.
☛ Renovated from an old ryokan, the soundproofing might not be as good.
☛ Remember to bring your towel before heading to the public bath.

Yubatake Souan (湯畑草菴)

Another hotel that offers accommodation plans without meals is Yubatake Souan. In fact, it is the sister hotel of Kusatsu Onsen Gensen Ichinoyu. And the best thing about this hotel is its unique foot spa cafe where you can enjoy the foot spa for free up until 12 am, an extra two hours compared to the walk-in customers! (^_-)-☆

Although many accommodations that offer accommodation-only plans are generally old and shabby in Japan, this isn’t the case for Yubatake Souan. While the hotel was renovated from a ryokan from the late 19th century, it still has a stylish look and is comfortable!

Furthermore, it has a full suite of toiletries, making life really easy for those who love to travel light (^_-)-☆.

☛ Free tea and coffee are available on the second-floor corridor.
☛ Free breakfast is provided to all guests at the foot spa cafe.

☛ Rooms without an open-air bath mean you have to use the public bath, which can be reserved for private use.
☛ There are no lifts/escalators in the hotel. This may be inconvenient if your room is located on the second floor.

Yubatake Souan’s Bathing Facility

Yubatake Souan has four types of guestrooms, with the one with an open-air bath attached being the most popular. Especially on weekends and public holidays, all of them are likely to be booked out three months ahead because there are only three of them!

Another thing that is worthwhile to point out is its hot spring tub. Because it is so close to Yubatake, the onsen in the hot spring tub is still transparent, as it doesn’t have much chance of being exposed to air. And the best thing is while the hot spring is strongly acidic, you won’t experience that tingling sensation.

In addition, the bathtub made over a century ago is deeper than usual. Because of the higher water pressure on your feet, the health benefit from bathing is enhanced!

Moreover, when you check in, you can reserve a time slot between 3 pm and 1 am to use the onsen tub exclusively. Between 1 am and 9:30 am, the bathing space is separated into a male and female public bath.

This system obviously means you can’t bathe at Yubatake Souan freely if your room doesn’t have an onsen tub. But don’t worry, all Yubatake Souan’s guests are welcome to use the public baths at Kusatsu Onsen Gensen Ichinoyu, just a 2-minute walk away!

Yubatake Souan Foot Spa Cafe (湯畑草菴 足湯カフェ)

If you are after a place for something unique and different, how about stopping by Yubatake Souan? The cafe in this hot spring hotel is quite interesting. In addition to the regular table sets, the foot spa cafe has seats around a foot spa and even a hand spa!

While the cafe doesn’t serve any savory vegetarian light meals, you can still enjoy afternoon tea at Yubatake Souan Foot Spa Cafe. The recommended dessert menu items are those with pinto beans. Why? Because pinto bean is one of Kusatsu’s local specialties!

☛ There are coin lockers for customers to use.
☛ The best time to visit Yubatake Souan Foot Spa Cafe for couples is probably at night. With lighting surrounding the foot spa, the atmosphere is just fantastic and cozy!

Yubatake Souan Foot Spa Cafe’s Business Hours and Access Information
  • Yubatake Souan Foot Spa Cafe is open from 10 am to 9:30 pm.
    • The last order is taken at 9 pm.
  • Yubatake Souan Foot Spa Cafe is just a 5-minute walk from Kusatsu Onsen Bus Terminal.

Kusatsu Hot Spring Hotel Takamatsu (喜びの宿 高松)

Ⓒ 喜びの宿 高松

For many of us, however, we would love to enjoy a fancy dinner in the ryokan/hotel. If that is the case for you, consider booking your stay with Kusatsu Hot Spring Hotel Takamatsu.

The 11-level hotel is around a 5-minute walk from Yubatake. Because of its height, you can get a clear view of the township from your room, especially if it is on higher floors. In addition, you can reserve one of the rooms with a hot spring bath or pay extra to utilize their private bath with a small Japanese stone garden attached!

Tip: Let the hotel know your dietary requirements when booking.

You can reserve Kusatsu Hot Spring Hotel Takamatsu via klook!

Important: If you are a day visitor, remember to bring a towel!

Kusatsu Hot Spring Hotel Takamatsu’s Public and Private Baths

Ⓒ 喜びの宿 高松

Kusatsu Hot Spring Hotel Takamatsu has two indoor and five outdoor public baths (3 outdoor male baths and 2 outdoor female baths).

The indoor baths are made of stones, whereas the open-air baths are made from different materials, including Japanese cypress, rock, and ceramic. The sizes and temperatures of the baths differ as well, so you will surely find the one you want to bathe in!

If you are a day visitor, the good thing about Kusatsu Hot Spring Hotel Takamatsu is that you can utilize the hot spring facilities whenever it is open (most hotels in Kusatsu are only open to day visitors until 4 pm). This means you can bathe there at night too! However, this might be a disadvantage for the hotel guests as the public baths will become more crowded.

The hotel also has a private bath for you to rent out if you require some privacy or if you have tattoos.

  • The public baths is open from 2 pm to 9:30 am.
    • Between 1 am to 4 am, the public baths are closed for cleaning.
  • The private bath can be rented out from:
    • 2 pm to 10:30 pm (last admission)
    • 6 am to 8 am (last admission)
    • The cost is 2,200 yen for 50 minutes.
Ⓒ 喜びの宿 高松

☛ If you want to try out all the bathing areas, you will need to bathe in the hotel for two days in a row. The hotel alternates the gender for each bathing area daily.
☛ A barley tea corner is close to the public bath for you to stay hydrated.

Yukata Rental at Kusatsu Hot Spring Hotel Takamatsu

Ⓒ 喜びの宿 高松

Another great thing about Kusatsu Hot Spring Hotel Takamatsu is its Yukata Rental Service. What beats the experience of walking in a traditional hot spring town while wearing traditional clothing? Plus you can get special perks and discounts at various shops and restaurants if you visit them in Yukata!

Refer to HERE for more information about the few things you will want to know about Kusatsu Onsen, including the perks you will get by wearing the Yukata.

The Yukata rental cost is 1,100 yen.

Kusatsu Onsen Boun (草津温泉 望雲)

Ⓒ 草津温泉 望雲

Another ryokan that can accommodate your special dietary requirements in the Kusatsu Onsen is Kusatsu Onsen Boun. Opened in 1599, it is also one of the oldest ryokans in Kusatsu Onsen.

In addition, it is the ryokan that many high-profile writers and great historical figures in the past loved!

Thanks to the renovations completed in the past, Kusatsu Onsen Boun now has a modern look while retaining many of the old-fashioned elements from the last. So if you would like to spend a night somewhere filled with Japanese elements but also want to enjoy the convenience of the modern lifestyle, consider booking a room with Kusatsu Onsen Boun!

Important: Keep in mind that the building was renovated from one that is hundreds of years old and may not be soundproof. So please try to keep quiet during the night so other guests can have a pleasant time at the ryokan.

☛ Reserve as early as possible as the ryokan is very popular.
☛ You can call the ryokan at +81-279-88-3251 to be picked up upon your arrival at Kusatsu Onsen Bus Terminal.
☛ Kusatsu Onsen Boun also offers a drop-off service back to Kusatsu Onsen Bus Terminal. You can leave your belongings with the ryokan and return in the afternoon to be dropped off.
☛ If you visit Kusatsu Onsen in late May, remember to head to the ryokan’s garden to adore the rhododendron flowers! There are about 3,000 rhododendrons planted there!
☛ Remember to let the ryokan know about your special dietary requirements (if you have any).
☛ On a snowy day, check with the ryokan to see if they will rent out boots for free.

Kusatsu Onsen Boun’s Hot Spring Pools

Ⓒ 草津温泉 望雲

Unlike many other hot spring facilities in Kusatsu Onsen, Kusatsu Onsen Boun’s bathhouses are made of wood. It would feel like you have traveled to the past as you bathe in the hot spring pools.

Kusatsu Onsen Boun is one of the few spots to enjoy the hot spring from the Sainokawara spring source (instead of the widely used Baidai spring source). The good thing about the hot spring from Sainokawara Park is while it has a strong acidic characteristic, you actually don’t experience much stinging sensation.

Refer to our Guide to the Public Bathhouses in Kusatsu Onsen for more information about Kusatsu Onsen’s six main hot spring sources.

Kusatsu Onsen Boun has a total of six hot spring pools and is divided into three sets in three different locations. Each of the indoor pools has an open-air pool attached. A changing room with an attached relaxing space is also available at each bathing area.

And if you need to cool down after a hot spring session, the terrace on the second floor is a nice spot to do so, as it faces a garden with a waterfall pouring down on the left.

Ⓒ 草津温泉 望雲

There is also a lounge room on the new wing’s third floor with sofas and tables for you to relax as you enjoy a cup of free coffee (^_-)-☆.

Tip: Lockers are available in the changing room.

  • The public baths are open from 2 pm to 10 am the next day, except between 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm for cleaning.
  • Male’s designated time slots at each of the bathing areas are:
    • Bandai no Yu (万代の湯): 2 pm to 3:30 am
    • Sai no Yu (西の湯): 3 pm to 3:30 am
    • Yusan no Yu (遊山の湯): 4:30 am to 10 am
  • Female’s designated time slots at each of the bathing areas are:
    • Bandai no Yu (万代の湯): 4:30 am to 10 am
    • Sai no Yu (西の湯): 4:30 am to 10 am
    • Yusan no Yu (遊山の湯): 2 pm to 3:30 am

Kusatsu Onsen Boun’s Guestrooms

Ⓒ 草津温泉 望雲

Kusatsu Onsen Boun has eight different types of guestrooms, including four rooms with an open-air bath attached. So while it doesn’t have a private bath that can be rented out, you can reserve a room with an onsen tub connecting to the Sainokawara spring source!

The best thing about staying with Boun is that you can opt to have dinner served in your room. It is the perfect way to enjoy your time at a high-class ryokan!

  • If you think you won’t be able to sleep well on a Japanese futon bed, the ryokan also has a couple of Western-style guestrooms.
  • Dinner can also be served in a private room for those who wish to dine in a Western-style setting instead of sitting on the floor.

You can reserve Kusatsu Onsen Boun via klook!

Yukata Rental at Kusatsu Onsen Boun

Similar to Kusatsu Hot Spring Hotel Takamatsu, Boun also provides Yukata Rental Service. There are more than 100 Yukatas for you to choose from. And after you have decided which Yukata you like the best, remember to pick a belt that suits the Yukata!

If Yukata Rental isn’t included in your accommodation plan, you can utilize the service for 500 yen.

Ⓒ 草津温泉 望雲

Discover Other Attractions in Kusatsu Onsen

Click the photo for more information about Kusatsu Onsen’s attractions!

After you have your accommodation sorted, the next step is probably finding out where in the hot spring town you want to explore!

In addition to the public and communal bathhouses, Kusatsu Onsen has much more to offer. Whether it is soba noodles, traditional sweets or outdoor activities, such as obstacle courses and skiing, you surely won’t be bored at Kusatsu Onsen!

For more information, refer to our article on Kusatsu Onsen (=゚ω゚)ノ.