Kusatsu Onsen Ryokan – The 7 Best Japanese Traditional Inns You Should NOT Miss
Kusatsu Onsen Ryokan – We’re all about highlighting every little amazing aspect of Japan here, and whilst it may take us forever to actually reach the end of that list, we’re not giving up! If you haven’t already heard, Kusatsu Onsen is one of the more hidden onsen towns in Japan that has so much more to offer than meets the eye. If you’d like to learn more about the town itself, read our Kusatsu Onsen article here: Visit Kusatsu Onsen Japan.
Of course, the most important aspect of visiting an onsen town like Kusatsu is the hot springs. Whether you’re looking at staying overnight at one of the stunning ryokans in the area, or simply visiting on a day trip and would like to visit the onsen for a few hours, there are plenty of options for you. However, today we’re simply highlighting the top seven best ryokans showcasing incredible architecture, impeccable service, and providing an overall heartwarming and humbling experience for visitors. Let’s get into it!
Kusatsu Onsen Ryokan #1 – Osakaya Ryokan
Osakaya Ryokan will make you feel like you’re stepping out of Spirited Away. Whilst the traditional look and feel of the ryokan is impressive enough with the wooden exterior design, and the traditional furnishing decor of the interior, the most memorable feature of this ryokan would have to be the gorgeous onsen.
Available to all staying guests, this onsen is the complete package: misty air, wooden frames, surrounded by boulders and light filtering of the sunlight – it’s where you can rest your head and idle away for hours. The rooms themselves are stunning in simplicity and design, with massive windows opening up to tranquil views of nature. Delicious Japanese cuisine is available for breakfast and dinner, so make sure you include that option in your booking.
Why Guests Love It: It appears that the free private parking plays a role in the satisfaction of guests at this ryokan, as does the ski-to-door ability during the winter season, and the various onsen options available onsite.
Book It Now: Osakaya Ryokan
Kusatsu Onsen Ryokan #2 – Kusatsu Hotel
The exterior of Kusatsu Hotel is reminiscent of a gorgeous white castle, and we reckon that’s reason enough for some people to book this ryokan. Other than that, it’s one of the longest running ryokans, dating back until 1913, and so after serving customers for over 100 years, they’ve gotta be doing something right!
Onsite there are indoor and outdoor onsen options for guests to choose from. If you’re after a bit of privacy, feel free to reserve the private use onsen, or maybe dip your feet into the onsite footbath for a few minutes/hours. The ryokan is extremely convenient, being located only a few minutes by foot to the centre of the town and various other attractions such as the Shirane Jinja Shrine. Its interior is just perfect: warm hues, golden tones, lots of natural lighting, and furniture that just fits right into the traditional Japanese look.
Why Guests Love It: Best location in Kusatsu. Guests felt warm and welcomed here from the moment they checked in until they moment they left. It’s within walking distance to many things which many guests applauded and found super convenient.
Book It Now: Kusatsu Hotel
Japanese Traditional Inn #3 – Hanaingen
For something a bit different, try Hanaingen, an adult-only ryokan accommodation in Kusatsu. The ryokan itself is a mix between a traditional Japanese inn, furnished with timeless European flavour throughout the area – unique, right? Location-wise, it’s still very convenient, being only two minutes away from the centre of the town, and staff are super attentive to your needs.
The best thing about this ryokan is that there are a total of four different private baths available onsite that any guests can use for free – simply reserve a time with the front desk. They’re also equipped with Shiseido products so you know you’re in good hands. Breakfast is also complimentary!
Why Guests Love It: The staff are very friendly here, often going out of their way for requests from customers. Whilst most don’t speak English fluently, communication was not difficult. The free breakfast is beautiful so don’t miss it! The rooms are extremely spacious, which was a big plus for many guests.
Book It Now: Hanaingen
Kusatsu Onsen Ryokan #4 – Hotel Takamatsu
Hotel Takamatsu is the option to go for if you’re looking for something to appease a wide range of people. It’s located only 10-minutes from the bus terminal, and only a 10-minute drive from the Kusatsu Ski Resort. It offers a resting area for guests to relax on some massage chairs during the day, which eventually becomes a bar at night for guests to mingle and have a drink.
There are plenty of entertainment onsite, with pool tables, arcade machines for kids, and slot machines for the older crowd. The onsite onsens are massive, but if privacy is what you’re after, there’s also a private hot spring option which can be reserved at the reception, and if you’re feeling a little luxe, book the massage option along with it!
Why Guests Love It: The shuttle bus from the Kusatsu bus terminal was a massive bonus for many guests. The traditional Japanese dinner was spectacular, and having it in the top floor of the ryokan was pure bliss.
Book It Now: Hotel Takamatsu
Kusatsu Onsen Ryokan #5 – Soumeian
Soumeian is the type of ryokan that is simple, unassuming, beautiful throughout, and feels as though it is made of quality. Guests staying here will know that they’re being given the best treatment in town, and authenticity will be oozing from every room in the ryokan.
It’s not a ryokan that will generate a gasp upon seeing it, but it’s one where gradual appreciation will override any emotions during your stay. The rooms are larger-than-average, there’s free Wi-Fi throughout, and it just feels clean, all the time. There’s also a private onsen which can be reserved, sitting on the ground floor.
Why Guests Love It: It was amongst one of the “cleanest” place a certain guest has ever visited. The large rooms were much appreciated, as was the super relaxing private onsen. A tip from a recent guest is to definitely opt for the breakfast option.
Book It Now: Soumeian
Japanese Traditional Inn #6 – Bekkan Wata no Yu
This ryokan embodies the basic Japanese principles of cleanliness, simplicity, and Zen into its ambience, interior and decor, and it really shows. Emitting rather Muji-esque vibes, Kusatsu Hotel Bekkan Wata no Yu is the perfect balance between the gorgeous design of a traditional Japanese inn and the comfort and familiarity that comes with modern furnishings and finishing’s. There are wooden touches all over the ryokan, and in conjunction with the soft hues of the while walls and beige tones throughout the ryokan, you’ll feel an immense sense of calm wash over you as you settle in.
There’s free Wi-Fi for staying guests to easily stay connected, and a traditional Japanese breakfast and dinner is on offer. The hot spring baths again are not as traditional looking as most anticipate, but instead their bright, airy, incredibly well-maintained, and invite you to soak for hours in their hot, soothing waters.
Why Guests Love It: The location was everything: only 10-minutes walk from the centre of town and a few minutes away from the famous Saino-Kawara-Yu open air bath. Service was impeccable; they even came out and helped certain guests park their car. Some rooms offered street views but the ryokan drowned out the noises of the crowds. The big, open windows are so inviting.
Book It Now: Kusatsu Hotel Bekkan Wara no Yu
Kusatsu Onsen Ryokan #7 – Ryokan Tamura
Walking into this ryokan at night is like walking straight into a historic Japanese movie. It truly is a thing of beauty. Ryokan Tamura is the ryokan choice for those wanting to stay slightly outside of the city centre whilst still being conveniently located to walk to various points of interest.
All private rooms of the ryokan have been fitted with a flat-screen TV and offer Wi-Fi. If you’re keen for an onsen experience, there are public indoor onsens available for all staying guests. There are also two private onsens that are readily available to be reserved (if you’re after a more private experience). A traditional Japanese breakfast and dinner is also available.
Why Guests Love It: The food here has been deemed exceptional, so please make sure you get both the breakfast and dinner option. It’s a very authentic-looking ryokan that’s cozy and comfortable. Make sure you reserve the private onsen because it is probably the best thing about this ryokan.
Book It Now: Ryokan Tamura
That’s it for our blog post about Kusatsu Onsen Ryokan! 🙂 Choosing to stay at just one of these Japanese traditional inns is going to be like choosing between a rock and a hard place. Each offer authenticity, comfort, and the guarantee of a wonderfully relaxing and beautiful stay. Our tip for you is to look at two things: your budget and your itinerary. Choose something that you’re comfortable paying for, but also ensure that you can get around to all the activities that you’re interested in easily. In saying that, Kusatsu Onsen is not the largest of towns, and most things are within reachable distance on foot or by bus. We hope you enjoy your stay!