On Saturday, May 18th, 2019, the amount of volcanic activity recorded at Mt. Shirane exceeded Kusatsu Onsen’s safety guidelines. In response, a portion of the Shiga-Kusatsu Route has been temporarily closed until further notice.
The route is closed from the 3-way intersection between the Shiga-Kusatsu Route and the Manza Highway until the Sessho Kawara parking lot at the bottom of the Shirane Kazan Ropeway.
While the Shiga-Kusatsu Route is closed, drivers can use the Manza Highway and the Kusatsu-Tsumagoi line as a detour to reach Kusatsu Onsen (see the map below). The Shigakogen line bus bound for Shirane Kazan will not stop at Shirane Kazan during the closure, so those using public transportation are recommend to travel to Karuizawa by train, then take the Karuizawa-Kusatsu bus to Kusatsu.
Details of the closure can be found on Kusatsu Onsen’s official website in Japanese here.