Driving from Nagano to Kusatsu Onsen

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Linda Female Thailand 2017/12/14

We will drive from Nagano to Snow Monkey Park on Dec 17 and from Nagano to Kusatsu Now Resort Hotel (Kusatsu Onsen) on Dec 18, it seems that the region will snow heavily during this week, is the road condition safe for driving? We have booked snow tire.  Any suggestion for sights seeing on the way to Kusatsu Onsen? We will fly to Nagano on Dec 14, your prompt reply is greatly appreciated.  Thanks a lot!

Nagano Prefecture Tourism PR character “Arukuma” 2017/12/14

Hi Linda,

If you have 4-wheel-drive and snow tires, driving should not be too difficult despite the snow. Use the IC Expressway as much as possible to avoid snowy roads, and drive at a safe speed. Also make sure to test your brakes regularly to assess road conditions.

Be aware that the closest route between Yudanaka and Kusatsu Onsen, Route 292 over Shigakogen, is closed during winter. Instead, you will have to travel from Yudanaka to Kusatsu via Karuizawa.

Driving Directions:

  1. Take the Joshin’etsu Expressway from the Shinshu Nakano entrance heading towards Nagano.
  2. Stay on the Joshin’etsu Expressway at the Koshoku junction (heading towards Ueda, Karuizawa).
  3. Get off at the Komoro IC exit and take a left at the Komoro IC intersection.
  4. Take a right at the Komoro IC Kita intersection, heading onto Route 80 (eventually becomes Route 18).
  5. Take a left at the Nakakaruizawa intersection onto Route 146.
  6. Take a right at the Haneo intersection onto Route 145.
  7. Take a left at the Ootsu intersection onto Route 292. Continue to Kusatsu.

You can see the route in Google Maps here.

I hope that answers your question.


Guest 2017/12/14

Hi Blair, thanks for your detailed explanation.  One more query, in fact we will start from Nagano city, google map shows following the National Road 403 and 406, are they snowy road? 

Nagano Prefecture Tourism PR character “Arukuma” 2017/12/15

Those roads are at a high altitude near the Sugadaira ski resorts. It is possible to drive through them during winter, but they are mountain roads and may be covered with snow and ice. I recommend taking the route I mentioned above. Also, Route 34 (between Nagano City and Sugadaira) is closed during winter, so be aware of that if you plan to head through Sugadaira instead.

I hope that helps.


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