Manza Onsen

Manza Onsen () is a hot spring resort town located 1800 meters above sea level, high up on the slopes of Mount Shirane at the northwestern edge of Gunma Prefecture. Its highly acidic waters are obtained from Mount Shirane and are among the most sulfuric in all of Japan. They are known to provide various health benefits through improving metabolism and blood circulation.

Manza Onsen has several hotels and ryokan with outstanding hot spring baths. In particular, the open air baths are a treat with their excellent waters and tranquil setting. Guaranteed snow in the winter makes the town one of the best places near Tokyo to enjoy an outdoor bath in the snow. The following is a list of recommended ryokan and hotels that open their baths not only to staying guests but also to daytime visitors:


Daytime Hours: 10:00 to 15:00 (entry until 14:00 on Saturdays)
Daytime Admission: 1000 yen
Overnight Stay: From 7,000 yen per person including 2 meals
The indoor and outdoor bath areas of Nisshinkan are located in separate buildings a short walk away from each other. The serene outdoor bath offers nice mountain scenery. The indoor bath area has a beautiful wooden interior equipped with several pools and fan shaped windows. All facilities are gender separated.

Manza Prince Hotel••

Daytime Hours: 11:00 to 16:00 (entry until 15:00)
Daytime Admission: 1300 yen
Overnight Stay: From 10,000 yen per person including 2 meals
The outdoor baths at Manza Prince Hotel offer great, unobstructed views of the surrounding mountain landscape. There are two open air baths for each gender and one mixed gender bath in addition to gender separated indoor bath areas.

Manza Kogen Hotel••

Daytime Hours: 11:00 to 18:00 (entry until 17:00)
Daytime Admission: 1500 yen
Overnight Stay: From 7,500 yen per person including 2 meals
Manza Kogen Hotel offers a large outdoor bath facility with seven mixed gender pools and one female-only pool. The outdoor bath area is called Sekitei Rotenburo ("Rock Garden Open Air Bath") with reference to its baths made of rocks and having a rocky decor. The hotel also has indoor bathing facilities.


Hours: 11:30 to 18:00 (entry until 17:00)
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 1000 yen
Overnight Stay: From 11,500 yen per person including 2 meals
The baths at the Manzatei have an elegant wooden interior design. There is one indoor and one outdoor bath for each gender.

Ratings:    best of the best    best of Japan    outstanding

Above the town, there is a small network of pleasant walking trails around the valley which contains a lot of the hot spring sources. It is also the site of Manza's yubatake ("hot water field"), a pool in which some of the thermal waters accumulate; however, it is too hot for bathing. One of the trails also leads to an observation point with views over the town. Due to the snow, the walking trails are unaccessible during the winter.

Instead, Manza Onsen offers skiing and snowboarding from around mid December to early April. The town's small resort has four lifts and is operated by the Manza Prince Hotel that stands right next to the ski slope and also offers rental equipment and package plans that combine accommodation with ski passes.

Getting there and around

How to get to Manza Onsen

By train and bus via Manza Kazawaguchi

The closest railway station to Manza Onsen is JR Manza Kazawaguchi Station from where there are infrequent buses to Manza Onsen (45 minutes, 1370 yen one way). The fastest way to get from Tokyo to Manza Kazawaguchi Station is by shinkansen and local train via Takasaki (about 2.5 hours, 6000 yen one way), but the trip can also be done entirely by local trains (about four hours, 3410 yen one way, one transfer at Takasaki). The Japan Rail Pass, JR Tokyo Wide Pass, JR East Nagano Niigata Area Pass, JR East Tohoku Area Pass and JR East South Hokkaido Pass are valid on the trains, but not on the buses.

By train and bus via Karuizawa

Take the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo to Karuizawa (65 minutes, around 5500 yen) and then a Seibu bus from Karuizawa Station to Manza Onsen (110 minutes, 2940 yen one way). JR passes are not valid on the buses between Karuizawa and Manza Onsen.

By bus from Kusatsu

Infrequent buses directly connect Kusatsu Onsen with Manza Onsen via Mount Shirane (currently out of service). The one way ride takes about 50 minutes and costs 2240 yen. Buses do not operate between late October and around late April due to road closure in winter.

By hotel bus for staying guests

Some of Manza's hotels offer free shuttle bus services from Karuizawa Station or packaged transport and accommodation plans for tourists departing from Tokyo.

By car

Access to Manza Onsen from the south leads via a toll road that costs 1070 yen one way per car (overnight guests can get a waiver for the return journey from their hotels). Access from the north is not possible during winter due to road closures around Mount Shirane from around early November to mid April.

How to get around Manza Onsen

Manza Onsen is a compact, small town. Most attractions and hotels in the town center are accessible on foot, although the roads are steep and tend to be slippery in winter. The summit of Mount Shirane is located about a 15 minute bus or car ride north, above the town.