No matter if your plan is to stay in a hot spring resort in Kusatsu or to do a 1-day getaway, you need to try out at least one of the following restaurants or street food. There are so many other places for us foodies but the ones mentioned below are the highlight of the town.
Dan (暖) serves large portion-sized lunch set menus that are deliciously fulfilling. The casual dining atmosphere is very cozy and friendly. One of the most popular dishes is the “Sweet ginger sauce marinated pork special (特製生姜焼定食)”. A full piece of thick-sliced pork chop covered with the special sweet and salty ginger sauce together with a bowl of white rice can definitely satisfy our foodie desire.
Mikuniya (三國家) and Hokukoutei (柏香亭) are two of the best soba noodle restaurants in Kusatsu. Mikuniya makes their own soba noodles using water melt from the Shirane Mountain, providing customers with their best quality food. Hokukoutei is known for its low cost big sized menus and it is not surprising to find a lineup during lunch hours.
A must-have item on a hot spring trip is absolutely the “onsen tamago”, which is eggs boiled in hot spring water. If you like extremely smooth and soft poached eggs, Yorimoto (頼朝) is the place to go to in Kusatsu. Its onsen tamago is so soft you can swallow it like a drink, and with the savoury soup base and the extraordinarily creamy yolk, it is one of the best food combinations you can think of. Yorimoto prepares its signature hot spring eggs to be eaten on the spot or as a pre-made gift box that can be bought as souvenirs. The gift box has 10 pieces and has to be eaten within 2 weeks. This place also has pickled vegetables, sauces, and some other traditional Japanese snacks. It is a surely great spot to buy souvenirs.
Another great snack for a hot spring trip is ice cream. Gomafukudou (ごま福堂) is famous for its sesame ice cream, and also other sesame sweets like sesame rice cakes and more. Their ice cream is made of a milk-based formula with an extremely rich sesame taste, topped with sesame sprinkles and served on a waffle cone. It is also particularly popular within females as sesame is believed to be good for the skin.
I usually check-out early from the hot spring resort so to leave myself some time to go for lunch then a light snack before heading to another city. When you plan your trip, it might be a good idea to plan as I do, so to allow more time for more food. As we all know, the foodier the trip is the merrier the trip will be. Cheers (with ice cream cone)!