This onsen resort is famous as one of the three major onsen in Japan. The unique bathing method of jikanyu (timed bathing) and yumomi (water beating) are customs that have been passed down since the Edo period. In addition to the high spring quality, the atmosphere of the resort is attractive with the Yubatake (literally means hot water fields, a wooden facility for thermal moderation of the water) located at the center. Also, this onsen resort boasts the greatest amount of hot spring water discharged in Japan. Among the top 100 Onsen selected by travel pros, Kusatsu Onsen has ranked No. 1 in Japan for 15 years in a row! In both name and reality, this onsen resort is representative of Japan.
At 1,977 meters, Mt. Tanigawadake is the highest mountain in the Tanigawa mountain range. A scenic spot called "Ichinokurasawa" at the eastern foot of the mountain is a mecca for rock climbers. A 15-minute ride on the ropeway will take you up to Tenjindaira at an elevation of 1,321 meters for a splendid panoramic view.
About 50,000 lavender shrubs are planted on the ski slopes. During the peak season from mid-July to mid-August, a brilliant carpet of purple flowers in full bloom covers the slopes. The purple lavender carpet can be enjoyed also from the ski lift.
The floats and portable shrines parading through the streets of Numata City are soul-stirring. "Dai-tengu Mikoshi", Japan's largest portable shrine with giant long-nose goblin mask carried exclusively by women, is enormously popular as a highlight of the festival. Women from throughout the country carry the "Dai-tengu Mikoshi" and enliven the festival.
Oze is Japan's largest highland marsh, and is famous as an area rich in rare and precious plants and animals. Located in Oze National Park, the marsh is said to have been formed in the Ice Age about 10,000 years ago. Because of the special geographical conditions of the highland basin, plants that evolved in the Ice Age are still growing naturally now. The beautiful scenery is especially enjoyable when the marsh is covered with blooming skunk cabbage in spring and day lilies in summer.
Ikaho Onsen is located halfway up Mt. Harunasan at an elevation of 700 meters. It has a long history as its name even appears in the Manyoshu, Japan's oldest surviving collection of poems, said to have been edited in the late seventh and late eighth centuries. Here you can enjoy two types of onsen: "Kogane no Yu (Golden Water)", in which the iron contained in the water has oxidized to form a distinctive brownish-red color; and "Shirogane no Yu (Silver Water)", whose gushing was only discovered in recent years. The 300-meter long path with 365 stone steps at the center of the onsen resort creates a unique atmosphere. This onsen resort is also known as the birthplace of onsen manju (steamed bean-jam buns).
This is a lake formed by a dam located at 1,513 m above sea level and circled by 2,000 m high mountains. Located amidst of environment with an abundant variety of mountains, lake water, marshes, and grasslands, about 300 species of alpine plants brighten up the lakeshore in each season.
This is famous for being the largest remaining fire festival in the prefecture. On the Ohinata Bridge, people burn straw on the end of two to three meter ropes and spin them around. The floating rings of fire create a mystical scene in the darkness.
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