Sainokawara Park 西の河原公園
A park with Japan's largest outdoor onsen right next door
Sainokawara Park lies in a valley not far from Kusatsu , and offers a relaxing hike around an area rich with hot spring water. You can hear the sounds of the water trickling around you and even see it collecting in little pools. It's also home to one of Japan's largest outdoor hot springs.
The natural pools in the park are not for bathing
This is Japan's most active hot spring area, with an output of 5,000 liters per minute
How to Get There
The most convenient way to get to the park is by direct limited express train from Tokyo's Ueno Station to Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi Station. The park is a 10-minute walk from the Yubatake “Hot Water Field.” Follow the signs from the Yubatake in Kusatsu through a narrow road lined with ryokan and shops that leads to the park.
Riverbed of the underworld
Due to the high temperature of the hot spring water, very little can grow in the areas where it collects. Long ago, people believed that the spirits of children who died before their parents would be sent to these barren pools.
You may come across little statues, known as jizo, wearing red hats and bibs. They protect the spirits of the children from demons.
Bathe in nature
Follow the stone path through the park to reach Sainokawara Onsen. Regarded as one of Japan's largest outdoor baths, it is separated into pools for men and women.
With a capacity of 100 people, it is large and open, with uninterrupted views of the surrounding forest. Luscious green summer foliage, fall colors, and delicate snowy landscapes all await.