Traveling to Japan's Best Summer Resort Karuizawa and Hot Spring Resort Kusatsu Onsen from Tokyo

Chubu Shopping Bytrain 2018.10.12
Stopping by Japan's Largest Outlet Mall Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza

The Perfect Getaway That Is Still near Tokyo

  • Karuizawa

  • Kusatsu Onsen

A resort town in the mountains - Karuizawa

Take the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo and arrive in just 50 minutes! Located on a plateau of about 1000 meters above sea level in Nagano Prefecture, Karuizawa is one of Japan's most popular healing destinations. 

One of Japan's most famous hot spring resorts - Kusatsu Onsen

From Karuizawa, take the bus for 60 minutes and you will reach the famous Kusatsu Onsen! Known as being one of Japan's top 3 hot springs, Kusatsu Onsen has many unique aspects to it. Although it is a popular hot spring area, transportation is inconvenient, so it takes over 4 hours by bus from Shinjuku in Tokyo. Which is why we wanted to introduce the way most Japanese people plan their visit and that is by putting Karuizawa and Kusatsu Onsen together.
 Getting to Karuizawa 

If you're using the JR Kanto Area Pass, then it's a lot more convenient for you to come here directly!

What is JR Kanto Area Pass you ask? It's a pass for foreigners that allows you to travel within Tokyo and the Kanto Region. You can ride the Shinkansen (bullet train) and local trains as much as you want until the pass expires (3 days). It is absolutely your good partners if you plan to travel most of the popular tourist attractions like Mount Fuji, Izu, and Karuizawa.

Adults (12 years and older)  10,000 yen (about $88)
Children (6 to 11 years old)  5000 yen ($44)

For more information on the JR Kanto Area Pass please click here. 
 Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza 

This massive outlet has more than 240 stores of premium brands, fashion, groceries, sporting goods, outdoor activities, etc. These stores are all divided into 10 areas within Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza; WEST, SOUVENIR COURT, NEW WEST, CENTER MALL, TREE MALL, EAST, NEW EAST, GARDEN MALL, KARUIZAWA AJI NO MACHI, and the FOOD COURT
The perks of shopping at Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza is you can buy things at a reasonable price. Entering November, as the sun goes down the lights around Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza go up! More information here!

🛍️Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza (軽井沢・プリンスショッピングプラザ)
⏰ Shops, Food Court, Restaurant, Cafe: 10:00~7:00
Karuizawa Aji no Machi: 11:00~22:00
TULLY'S COFFEE: 9:30~19:30
(※changes depending on season)
💳VISA, MasterCard, American Express, JCB, Diners Club, and Union Pay credit cards are accepted
 Some Stores Worth Visiting at Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza 

Among the 240 stores, this time we visited 3 clothing stores, 1 restaurant, 1 cafe, and 1 Karuizawa famous souvenir store. 

 Alice and Olivia 

Alice and Olivia is a New York City-based clothing company that is known for its contemporary designs. 
This worldwide popular brand is available at Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza, where you can get a closer look, try the clothes on, and get great deals! 
Alice and Olivia
Floor Guide: NEW WEST  (NW-19)

 ●Outdoor Goods● 

The North Face is an outdoors and sports brand that doesn't need much explanation. It has a high image of being a brand for those who love outdoor sports, but due to its high performance, being waterproof, and windproof, it has an excellent performance wear against unfavorable weather. The reason we recommend The North Face is because there are limited items available here in Japan. So if you like The North Face gear, the store is worth checking out.
Floor Guide: EAST (E-08・09)


Many people know the designer brand COACH one way or another. In Japan, you can see MANY women with COACH bags and wallets. We were curious what sort of stuff they sold compared to America so we went to check it out. For being an outlet store, you would think that their stock would be limited but that wasn't the case at all. There is a good variety of men's, women's, and children's apparel along with bags, wallets, keychains and more that you can touch!
    Floor Guide: TREE MALL (TM-08)
    -Dogs allowed inside if carried-


This Japanese restaurant emphasizes in food that uses local ingredients. Sakuya Honten is a place where you can enjoy fresh and healthy food using ingredients from the Karuizawa area. Some other local specialties are Karuizawa original sake that is worth trying.
    Floor Guide: GARDEN MALL (GM-12​)
    -Animals not allowed-

 Mikado Coffee 

At Mikado Coffee, you can find high-quality coffee beans from around the world. The coffee beans are roasted and prepared by professionals for the customers. Mikado Coffee uses the Japanese coffee culture and tries to retain the aroma, body, flavor, and acidity of each coffee. A large variety of their beans have a tangy undertone, which they believe is the best taste you can get from the coffee beans. If you are not into the harshness of coffee but would like something sweet, don't worry, you can still try their popular Mocha Ice Cream! It is so good!! (280 yen/cone)
  • Mikado Coffee 
    Floor Guide: CENTRAL MALL (CM-08)

 ●Nagano/Karuizawa Jam Store● 

Karuizawa is known for its jam so much that people come out here just to a jar or to. You can find more than 50 flavors of fruit jam at Sawaya. It's super important to mention that all the yummy jam here are free from artificial ingredients! Select from the all-time favorite strawberries, blueberries, oranges, to the not so common plums and kiwi! You can try the fruit jam with the bite-size biscuits at the shop! All are original handmade original jams that is 100% made from fruit produced in Nagano. So if you're looking for a souvenir that is specific and special to Karuizawa we recommend stopping by Sawaya. Even if you don't buy anything, just looking around at the unique flavors is interesting.
  • Sawaya
    Floor Guide: Souvenir Court (SC-08)

 Going to Kusatsu Onsen from Karuizawa Station 

  • Kusatsu Onsen, one of the three famous springs in Japan, has such a fantastic water quality that it changes the way you think about water. Not only does it affect food and drinks, but it has a very unique therapeutic effect! In addition to hot springs, be sure to check out the two most representative parts of Kusatsu Onsen, the "Yubatake" (湯畑) and "Oyumomi" (お湯もみ) performances! Kusatsu Onsen is actually in a different prefecture, Gunma Prefecture. So rather than taking a train and changing the train multiple times, it is more convenient to take the bus from the North Exit of Karuizawa Station, getting on at bus stop 2.

    🚌Kusakaru Express Bus (草軽交通バス)
    One way 2,200 yen
  • Karuizawa Station North Exit Bus Stops

  • Bus Stop 2 to Kusatsu Onsen

 Yubatake (湯畑

The Yubatake (湯畑) literally meaning "hot water field", is one of the biggest symbols of Kusatsu and one of the resort's main sources of hot spring water. Yubatake is a facility that allows hot water from 4,000~5,000 liters per minute to flow through the barrel to cool the hot spring water. The area is always foggy with the steam of hot spring water, adding a neat atmosphere to the area. 

 Oyumomi (お湯もみ) 

Many people come to Kusatsu Onsen to see a traditional service called jikan-yu. The hot springs are said to be about 65℃ (149℉), which is, of course, way too hot to take a bath in. So in order to make it bearable, they stir the hot springs water with long planks to cool it to roughly 48℃ (118℉). This act of stirring the water is called "yumomi."

This method of lowering the water temperature also serves as an important pre-bathing exercise. In addition, breathing steam into the body also has therapeutic effects. Everyone sings a special song at this time, which further stimulates deep breathing, adding to the absorption of steam and healing effects yumomi.
Kusatsu Onsen Netsu-no-Yu (草津温泉熱乃湯)
🏢414, Kusatsu, Kusatsu-machi, Agatsuma-gun, Gunma
⏰Yumomi and Dance Performance period: Six times a day, 9:30, 10:00, 10:30am, 3:30, 4:00, 4:30pm
Trying Yumomi period: Weekends and holidays 11:30~2pm (final entry 1:45pm)
💴Yumomi and Dance Performance 600 yen for adults, 300 yen for children
Trying Yumomi (湯もみ体験 "Yumomi Taiken") 250 yen for elementary students and up
🎫Yumomi and Dance discount coupon here!
💻Official website

 A Tattoos Welcome Hot Springs in Kusatsu 
 Takamatsu Onsen (高松温泉) 

Despite being one of Japan's hot springs spots Kusatsu, you will not be able to take a bath and relax. There are however about 130 hot spring ryokans and hotels in the Kusatsu area. For reference, most hot springs in Japan refuse those with a tattoo, but the Japanese Inn (ryokan) Takamatsu says if a foreigner wants to enjoy their hot springs and has tattoos they can! So if you have tattoos and want to relax in Japanese hot springs, we recommend staying at Takamatsu!!

Kusatsu Hot Spring Hotel Takamatsu (喜びの宿 高松)
🏢312 Kusatsu, Agatsuma District, Gunma
Google Maps
💻Official Website (English)

Traveling to Karuizawa and Kusatsu Onsen

There are plenty of other great things to enjoy while in Karuizawa and Kusatsu Onsen. Stay tuned for more articles introducing them!! 

🛍️Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza
Google Maps
⏰ Shops, Food Court, Restaurant, Cafe: 10:00~7:00
(※changes depending on season)
💳VISA, MasterCard, American Express, JCB, Diners Club, and Union Pay credit cards are accepted

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Basic Info
NameKaruizawa Prince Shopping Plaza
AddressKaruizawa, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano
StationHokuriku Shinkansen Karuizawa Station
  • e 2018.10.12 reply
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