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Kusatsu, Shiga

Kusatsu, Shiga (草津市; Kusatsu-shi)
enter Kusatsu Shukuba Matsuri More Kusatsu photos here.
Map of Shiga with Kusatsu highlighted
Location Shiga Prefecture, Kinki region, Honshu island, JAPAN  
Population 136,826 (1,879 foreigners) (2014-06-01)
Area 48.22 km²
City Centers Kusatsu Station 
Major Sights Kusatsu-juku Honjin 
Major Gateways JR Kusatsu Station 
Train Stations JR Tokaido Line Kusatsu Station, Minami-Kusatsu Station 
Claim to Fame Crossroad stage town on Tokaido and Nakasendo Roads
Products Ubaga mochi
Neighbors Otsu, Moriyama, Ritto 
Old Name(s) Kusatsu-juku
Keywords Tokaido Road, Nakasendo Road
Historical Persons
Links Kusatsu Articles | Kusatsu Photos
Kusatsu Tourist Information
Location 草津市観光物産協会 〒525-8588草津市草津3-13-30

JR Kusatsu Station

Phone 077-566-3219 
Tourist Links Tourism Ass.  
Int'l Association Web site

Tel: 077-561-2322 FAX:077-561-2482  

Volunteer Guides Tel: 077-566-3219  
Kusatsu City Hall 草津市役所
Address 〒525-8588 滋賀県草津市草津3丁目13番30号

Kusatsu 3-13-30, Kusatsu-shi, Shiga 525-8588 JAPAN

Phone/Fax 077-561-2327 Fax: 077-561-2483 
Official Site Japanese | English  
Symbols Flower:  オオボウシバナ
Tree:  Fragrant orange-colored olive
Bird:  None
Others:  Road markers for Tokaido/Nakasendo
Logo:  [[Image:|50px|]]
Sister Cities Pontiac, Michigan; Xuhui District, Shanghai, China; Kan'onji, Kagawa; Kusatsu-machi, Gunma

by Philbert Ono

Tokaido and Nakasendo Crossroads

Kusatsu (草津市; -shi) is a city in southeastern Shiga Prefecture.

Adjacent to Otsu and a former post town (shukuba) at the crossroads of the Nakasendo Road and Tokaido Road. The city has a well-preserved Honjin lodge where VIPs (including Emperor Meiji) passing through town stayed during the feudal era. The annual Shukuba Matsuri in late April celebrates this post-town history.

The city has other major attractions such as Lake Biwa Museum on Karasuma Peninsula jutting into Lake Biwa. After Otsu, Kusatsu is Shiga's second most populous city.

Kusatsu Station is also the terminus of the Kusatsu Line which is connected to the Tokaido Main Line/Biwako Line. The Kusatsu Line is the main train line for Ritto, Konan, and Koka cities. It is Shiga Prefecture's busiest train station in terms of ridership (people boarding trains).


Kusatsu-juku Honjin Shukuba Matsuri Karasumasan Lotus (no longer growing)
Yabase lakeside park Ubaga mochi Lake Biwa Museum
  • Lake Biwa Museum - Shiga's best museum and lake aquarium when you can learn about the lake's history, environmental sociology, and aquatic life. The museum restaurant also serves Biwa salmon (tastes like salmon) and invasive species black bass. On Karasuma Peninsula (accessible by bus from Kusatsu Station). See video below. Map
  • Kusatsu-juku 草津宿 - Being the crossroads of both the Nakasendo and Tokaido Roads, Kusatsu was a busy place in the old days. The Honjin was the VIP lodge for feudal lords, emperors, etc. It has been magnificently preserved for all to see. It is Japan's largest remaining Honjin. Map
  • Mizunomori Water Botanical Garden 水生植物公園みずの森 Until 2015, there was a breathtakingly huge lotus pond at Karasuma Peninsula blooming in July-Aug. Sadly by summer 2016, the lotus field was decimated by sandy soil and an increase of methane gas. Water lilies and other aquatic plants are displayed inside the greenhouse. Adjacent to Lake Biwa Museum. Map
  • Yabase Port 矢橋港跡 - Site of the old Yabase Port where sail boats would return, as depicted by Hiroshige's woodblock print of Boats Returning to Yabase from his "Omi Hakkei" (Eight Views of Omi) series. Map

Event Calendar

  • April 29 - Kusatsu Shukuba Festival 草津宿場まつり - Annual festival held on April 29 to celebrate Kusatsu's history as a stage town on the Nakasendo and Tokaido Roads. Numerous events and activities are held such as flea markets, street & stage performances, and Japanese dances. The main highlight is the Kusatsu Jidai Gyoretsu procession of people dressed in historical costumes such as samurai and kimono ladies. Map

Travel Tips

  • Kusatsu Station is where you can get to most all places of interest, either on foot or by bus (to Karasuma Peninsula, etc.)

Getting There

By Train

The city's main train station is JR Kusatsu Station which is on the JR Tokaido/Biwako Line and JR Kusatsu Line, making it a transfer point between the two train lines.

Train Lines & Stations

Travel Time

Nearest Airports

Getting Around

The major sights and facilties along the train lines are as follows:

JR Tokaido Line

  • Kusatsu Station (草津駅) - A former stage town on the Nakasendo Road. The Kusatsu-juku Honjin is a marvelous example of the luxury accomodations used by feudal lords and emperors when they traveled in the old days. Tourist info booth near turnstile. Bicycle rental (phone: 077−565-9052) at east exit street level.
  • Minami-Kusatsu Station (南草津駅) -

JR Kusatsu Line (草津線)

  • Kusatsu Station (草津駅) - Same station as on the Tokaido Line/Biwako Line.

Buses from Kusatsu Station also go toward Lake Biwa (Karasuma Peninsula) and neighboring city Ritto.

Rental bicycles are available at Kusatsu Station.


Click on upper right icon to enlarge.



Click on the video image to start playing the video. More Shiga videos here.


  • 1954 City founded upon the merging of Kusatsu-cho town and neighboring villages.

Additional Reading

More Kusatsu news here.



Famous People

Lastname firstname

Related Articles

Side Trips

Other sights in neighboring cities/towns within easy reach from Kusatsu.

  • Ritto - JRA Training Center for racehorses accessible by bus from Kusatsu Station, taking 30 min.
  • Otsu - Capital of Shiga.

External Links