On Saturday, April 22nd at 7:00, the Japan Meteorological Agency raised the Volcanic Alert Level for Mt. Shirane’s Yugama Caldera from 1 to 2. Accordingly, access to the area in a one-kilometer radius around the caldera has been restricted.
Because the Shiga-Kusatsu Route passes through this restricted area, it will be temporarily closed until the Volcanic Alert Level is reduced. 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 Gunma Prefecture’s official website in Japanese here.