Enjoy the hot springs with plenty of character and elaborate ideas
Within Joshin'etsukogen National Park, Manza Onsen is Japan’s highest mountain hot spring village that is located at an altitude of 1800m. In summer, it is a resort area that doesn’t need air conditioning, in autumn it has the changing leaves, and it has skiing in winter so that the area is lively with tourists all year round. The source spring has a plentiful daily output of 5.4 million liters per day and is a sulfur spring which has a high temperature of around 80 degrees C. It is known as the spring which has the highest concentration of sulfur in Japan. The hydrogen sulfide that is included in the sulfur is beneficial for improved blood circulation, and at altitudes higher than 1000 meters, the heart rate goes up and the metabolism becomes energized. The water quality and the mountain climate have a double benefit only found at Manza Onsen. The 8 accommodations found all over the area each have onsen with their own character. At Manza Hotel Juraku, there is an open-air bath where you can view the symbol of Manza Onsen, the “karabuki” jets. The “karabuki” is located at the entrance of the Manza Plateau where steam created from the rain water soaked into the ground and underground water erupts from the craters. The cloudy steam emanating from the barren rocky crags is just like the force from an active volcano. The many open-air baths with superb views is one of the attractions at Manza Onsen. The Gokurakuyu of the long-established ryokan, Nisshinkan; the famous rock garden open-air bath at the Manza Kogen Hotel; the Komakusa-no-Yu at the Manza Prince Hotel and other onsen with their surprising spaciousness and views of starry skies just feel like being above the clouds.
Go further to Mt. Shirane and head for the world’s most acidic lake
On your way to Kusatsu from Manza, there is Mt. Shirane. Near the peak at 2160m, you’ll find Lake Yugama which is a crater lake with beautiful cobalt-blue water which makes for the best sightseeing spot. It is said to be the world’s most acidic lake with a diameter of 300m and a depth of 30m. It’s worth it to make that extra trip to see it.