Vegetarian's Japan Guide

The Ultimate Guide to How to Get to Kusatsu Onsen

Kusatsu Onsen is one of the most popular destinations close to Tokyo. After all, who don’t want to experience Japan’s famous hot spring at one of the representative onsen towns? Plus, the three public bathhouses in Kusatsu Onsen is tattoo-friendly, making it the top choice for many international visitors. To get to Kusatsu Onsen by public transportation from Tokyo or the Kansai region, there are a couple of methods.

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If you come from the Kansai region, you will have to either get to Tokyo or Karuizawa (via Nagoya).

Tip: Refer to Kusatsu Onsen’s official website HERE for the train and bus timetables.

By JR’s Limited Express – Kusatsu (特急草津) + JR Bus: From Ueno Station

You can take the limited express train, Kusatsu, from Ueno Station. It will take around 2.5 hours to get to Nagano Harakusatsuguchi Station (長野原草津口駅) before you change for JR Bus to get to Kusatsu Onsen Bus Terminal (草津温泉バスターミナル). The buses are scheduled to coincide with train arrivals/departures.

This method’s estimated total time is around 3 to 3.5 hours, including 25 minutes on the bus.


Note that the bus to Kusatsu Onsen cannot be reserved. If the bus is full before departure, it might even leave earlier than the scheduled departure time.

But don’t worry as there are usually extra bus services!

Tip: If you missed the limited express, you can take the bullet train to Takasaki Station (高崎駅) and change for the local train to Nagano Harakusatsuguchi Station.

A List of JR Passes that Covers Kusatsu Onsen

Below is a list of JR passes covering Kusatsu Onsen and other regions. Please keep in mind that depending on your itinerary, a JR pass may or may not be worthwhile for your trip. You can estimate the transportation cost using Google Maps and compare the total price to a JR pass.

By the Hokuriku Shinkansen + Bus Operated by Kukaru Kōtsū (草軽交通) or Seibu (西武観光バス): From Tokyo

An even faster way to get to Kusatsu Onsen from Tokyo is by taking the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Karuizawa (軽井沢). Once you get off the train at Karuizawa Station, you can either take the bus operated by Kukaru Kōtsū or Seibu to get to Kusatsu Onsen.

This method’s estimated total time is around 2.5 to 3 hours.

By Express Bus Jōshū Yumeguri-gō (上州ゆめぐり号): From Shinjuku

You can also take an express bus from Shinjuku Bus Terminal (バスタ新宿), which will take around 4 hours and 40 minutes. Apart from Shinjuku Bus Terminal, you can also board from Tokyo Station’s Yaesu South exit (東京駅八重洲南口).

You can reserve your seat through JR East Bus’s official website HERE.

This option is probably the most convenient as no transfer is involved, and multiple services are available daily!

By Tokyu Transsés (東急トランセ): From Shibuya and Karuizawa

While the number of services is less than Jōshū Yumeguri-gō, you can also choose to travel with Tokyu Transsés.

You can reserve your seat via All you need to do is to search from Tokyo to Kusatsu!

By Kusakaru Kōtsū (草軽交通): From Karuizawa


Karuizawa is a good destination to visit before or after Kusatsu Onsen. Several bus services are available throughout the day to connect the two popular tourist destinations.

As the services are local bus services, reservation isn’t taken/required. Refer to Kusakaru Kōtsū’s Website for the bus timetable at the top right corner.

By Kanto Bus: From Kichijōji

If you stay close to Kichijōji, you can also take the Kanto Bus from Kichijoji Station north exit bus stop no. 6. There are two services to and from Kusatsu Onsen each day. The services also stop at Nakanojo Station, making it convenient for those who want to explore Other Hot Spring Towns in Gunma Prefecture, such as Shima Onsen.

Refer to HERE for more information and to reserve.

Kichijoji Petit Mura Kichijoji Tokyo Japan

How to Get to Kusatsu Onsen from Nagano

If you also plan to visit Nagano, you can take Nagaden Bus’s Shiga Kōgen Line (志賀高原線) from Nagano Station’s east exit (長野駅東口). You can also board the bus from Obuse, a town in Nagano known for its chestnut desserts and Ukiyo-e arts.

Reservation is not required to board this bus service. Refer to the below links for the service’s timetables. Kusatsu Onsen is written as “草津温泉” on the timetable.

Discover Attractions in Kusatsu Onsen

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

Now you know how to get to Kusatsu onsen, it is time to plan your visit to one of Japan’s most well-known hot spring towns!

In addition to the public and communal bathhouses, Kusatsu Onsen has a lot 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.

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