Kusatsu Travel Guide - By car

Kusatsu by car

Kusatsu is an onsen hot spring and ski resort town located to the north west of Tokyo in the north-western region of Gunma Prefecture.

Onsen hot springs are a big reason why many people choose Kusatsu over other resort regions for skiing and boarding. The ski and snowboard resort, Kusatsu Kokusai, is generally more suited to beginners than those with more advanced riding skills.

Kusatsu is actually very close to the Shiga Kogen region of Nagano Prefecture and connected to it via Route 292, though unfortunately the section of the road connecting the two is closed for the entire winter period.

Kusatsu by car
Expressway information
Getting from Kusatsu to nearby regions
Joshinetsu region map
Additional Kusatsu resources on SnowJapan
Kusatsu by public transport
Go to our guide for getting to the Kusatsu area by public transport


 

Getting to Kusatsu by car

  Main expressway and exits:  

  Kanetsu Expressway (toll road) 関越自動車道
  Shibukawa Ihako IC 渋川伊香保IC
  Chuo Expressway (toll road) 中央自動車道
  Sutama IC 須玉IC
  Main roads:  
  Route 145 国道292号
  Route 292 国道145号

Unlike some ski resort regions of Japan, you can approach Kusatsu Kokusai resort on Route 292 without really encountering much snow on or by the side of the roads until the very last part of the journey. Having said that, it is best to be prepared. As you approach the town area, there is a section of 'musical road'.... drive at a constant 40kmh to be entertained by your tyres going over the specially altered road surface.

The main ski resort area is over 1.5km from the centre of Kusatsu town and so it is too far to walk with gear, though there are a few hotels and places to stay fairly close to the base lifts. The top half of the resort is serviced by a Gondola and the road section (Route 292) is open up until the Gondola station car park in winter. Outside of winter months the road continues through to the Shiga Kogen area of Nagano Prefecture, but it is closed in winter.

From the Tokyo/Kanto area

To get to Kusatsu from the Tokyo region head north on the Kanetsu Expressway until the Shibukawa Ikaho IC. Turn left at the Shibukawa Ikaho IC exit, heading north on onto Route 17.  Continue on Route 17 for about 4.5km until you reach the turn off for Route 353. Kusatsu is on the signpost. Turn left here onto Route 353 and continue on that road for a further 19km into Nakanojo.  On reaching Route 145, turn left and keep following the signs towards Kusatsu. Continue on Route 145 for around 26km into Naganohara. Go straight on - using Route 292 - up to Kusatsu.

Nerima IC to Shibukawa Ikaho IC about 103km 3,090 yen
Fujioka JCT to Shibukawa Ikaho IC about 27km 870 yen

Using Kanetsu Expressway from the north

Coming from the north, exit the Kanetsu Expressway at Numata IC and turn right onto Route 120. Continue on Route 120 until reaching the Route 17 junction. At these traffic lights, continue straight ahead onto Route 145 for about 20km until reaching Nakanojo. Keep on Route 145, go through the town area and continue on the road until reaching the Route 292 junction.  Follow Route 292 and the signs up to Kusatsu Onsen.

Nagaoka JCT to Numata IC about 119km 3,590 yen
Yuzawa IC to Numata IC about 41km 1,670 yen
Minakami IC to Numata IC about 15km 570 yen

From Karuizawa

From Route 18 going through Karuizawa, head west until Route 146. Turn onto Route 146, signposted as Naganohara and Tsumagoi. Continue on Route 146 until reaching traffic lights after about 30km near Haneo Station in Naganohara. Turn right onto Route 145 and continue on this road for just over 1km. At the main junction, turn left onto Route 292 and continue up to Kusatsu. Kusatsu is about 45km from central Karuizawa and a further 14km from the Usui Karuizawa IC on the Joshinetsu Expressway.

Route Finder

>> SnowJapan Route Finder: Kusatsu Kokusai
>> SnowJapan Route Finder: General Route Finder

Kanetsu Expressway
Kanetsu Expressway from Nerima IC to Shibukawa Ikaho IC
>> Full Kanetsu Expressway details
>> Diagram showing regional expressway connections
Exit name   Prefecture Distance from Nerima Connections
Nerima IC 練馬IC Tokyo >>>  
Shibukawa Ikaho IC 渋川伊香保IC Gunma 103.4km  
Nagaoka JCT 長岡JCT Niigata 246.1km Hokuriku Expressway
 
Joshinetsu Expressway
Joshinetsu Expressway from Takaido JCT to Usui Karuizawa IC
>> Full Joshinetsu Expressway details
>> Diagram showing regional expressway connections
Name Prefecture Distance from Fujioka Distance from Nerima Notes
Fujioka JCT 藤岡JCT Gunma >>> 78.6km Kanetsu Expressway
Usui Karuizawa IC 碓氷軽井沢IC Gunma 52.5km 131.1km  

See also:

>> Chuo Expressway

 

Getting from Kusatsu to nearby snow resort regions

     
Kusatsu to Minakami (Gunma) about 70km By car:
From Kusatsu take Route 292 south. At the junction after about 10km carry straight on using the Route 145 bypass towards Numata and Nakanojo. Continue on this road and follow the signs towards Numata for about 38.5km until reaching the turn off for Prefecture Road 36 signposted as Tsukiyono. Turn left here and continue for 9km until reaching the Route 17 junction. Turn right onto Route 17, reaching the Tsukiyono IC of the Kanetsu Expressway in around 3km. Join the expressway heading north towards Minakami (about 12km, the next IC).
>> SnowJapan Minakami Travel Guide - By car : By train
Kusatsu to Kawaba (Gunma) about 80km By car:
From Kusatsu take Route 292 south. At the junction after about 10km, carry straight on using the Route 145 bypass towards Numata and Nakanojo. Continue on this road for about 48km until reaching the Route 120 junction just before Numata. Join Route 120 by going straight ahead and continue past the Numata IC of the Kanetsu Expressway. About 400m further on from Numata IC, turn left at the second set of traffic lights to head towards Kawaba on Prefecture Road 64. After about 7km turn left onto Prefecture Road 263 and follow the road and signs up to Kawaba.
>> SnowJapan Katashina Travel Guide (including Kawaba)  - By car
Kusatsu to Katashina (Gunma) about 90km By car:
From Kusatsu take Route 292 south. At the junction after about 10km, carry straight on using the Route 145 bypass towards Numata and Nakanojo. Continue on this road for about 48km until reaching the Route 120 junction just before Numata. Join Route 120 by going straight ahead, continue through Numata towards Nikko for about 30km into central Katashina Village. Turn left onto Route 401 to head towards Katashina Kogen (a further 4.5km), White World Oze Iwakura (6km) and Snow Park Oze Tokura (10km). Keep going straight on Route 120 to get to Marunuma Kogen (13km).
>> SnowJapan Katashina Travel Guide - By car
Kusatsu to Yuzawa (Niigata) about 96km By car:
From Kusatsu take Route 292 south. At the junction after about 10km, carry straight on using the Route 145 bypass towards Numata and Nakanojo. Continue on this road and follow the signs towards Numata for about 38.5km until reaching the turn off for Prefecture Road 36 signposted as Tsukiyono. Turn left here and continue for 9km until reaching the Route 17 junction. Turn right onto Route 17, reaching the Tsukiyono IC of the Kanetsu Expressway in around 3km. Join the expressway heading towards Yuzawa IC (38km).
>> SnowJapan Yuzawa Travel Guide - By car : By train

See also:

>> Regional expressways connection map
>> Regional train lines connection map
>> On the above map click on the resort names, train lines and expressway names for more details


Additional Kusatsu Onsen resources on SnowJapan

For detailed information on how to get to Kusatsu Onsen by train and public transport, please go to this section.

Ski and snowboard resorts Kusatsu Onsen resort
Resort Spotlights Mt 6
Accommodation Online booking for accommodation in Kusatsu

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