Hi, We plan to visit Japan in February 2018 and will be visiting Jigokudani Wild Monkey Park on 13 February 2018. We are staying in Kusatsu Onsen the previous night and would like to find out the best route to drive to the park. The shortest route by Google Map is R292 which is 46km distance, however I read online that R292 is close during winter. Does anyone have drove from Kusatsu Onsen to Jigokudani Wild Mokey Park during winter before? Are there any suggested route as I am unable to find out what’s the scope of the road closure. https://www.kusatsu-onsen.ne.jp.e.uh.hp.transer.com/access/koutuu.php Thanks, Jin
Route 292, which crosses over Shiga Kogen to connect Yamanouchi and Kusatsu Onsen, is indeed closed during winter. The closure is between the prefectural border of Nagano and Gunma (called Shibu Toge, approximately here) and the Tenguyama gate in the town of Kusatsu (above the Kusatsu Kokusai Ski Resort). The closure begins in mid-November and lasts until late April.
Instead, take the Romantic Kaido from Kusatsu to Karuizawa. From Karuizawa, take Route 80 and get on the Joshin’etsu Expressway at the Komoro entrance. Take the expressway towards Nagano/Joetsu and eventually get off at the Shinshu Nakano exit. From there, head straight until you reach Yamanouchi. The trip takes about 2.5 hours total.