Kusatsu Onsen (草津温泉) is one of the most famous hot
spring resorts in Japan. This hot spring holds the record
of having the largest volume of onsen water in Japan.
The amount of water released is estimated at over 4000
liters per minute. In a list of Top 100 Onsens in Japan
selected by travel professionals, Kusatsu Onsen has
been ranked number 1 for more than 10 consecutive
years. The high quality water is known to cure various
illnesses. An old folk song describes the waters as a cure
all except for the ailments of love. The centerpiece of
Kusatsu Onsen is the Yubatake, which translates to hot
water field. It is where most of the hot spring water
surfaces in the town. The water is divided and distributed
to different areas in the town while being cooled.
Nearby the Yubatake is the Yumomi performance area and within the place is the Netsu no Yu Bathhouse. There are special performances in the bathhouse where there are dancers singing Japanese folk songs around a hot spring bath. They also perform a traditional method of cooling the water by shifting large wooden planks in the water while chanting folk songs. There will also be an opportunity for the audience to participate. There are many public bath houses available for people to visit and the most known one is the Sainokawara Rotenburo, which is a large open air bath. It is located in the Sainokawara Park and is big enough to accommodate 100 patrons.
The Otakinoyu public bath house is another notable place that offers a variety of indoor and outdoor baths. Their baths are usually gender separated and the main attraction is the traditional wooden indoor baths called Awaseyu. Around the town are a few foot baths, which are free to use by anyone. It is also the only onsen resort where they have timed baths to help with ailments. This onsen resort has been around for more than 1000 years and is still a popular destination. A German physician named Erwin von Baelz was a doctor at the Japanese Court during the late 1800s. He promoted the therapeutic effects of the Kusatsu Onsen and treated some of the most influential people in Japan. There is a small museum dedicated to him called the Baelz Memorial Hall located nearby the town.