Special Lightup of Yubatake, Kusatsu Onsen, Japan 草津溫泉湯畑特別燈光秀
This is a media tour for Traveler Luxe magazine, invited and organized by JTB. Traveler Luxe magazine is a publication issued by MOOK group. Also, this is my first job with MOOK.

↓First stop is Karuizawa, about 1hr Shinkanshen ride from Tokyo. 首站輕井澤,從東京搭新幹線約1小時車程。
JR Ticket: Tokyo to Karuizawa

↓During the Meiji period, a Canadian missionary Alexander Croft Shaw built a cottage in the "Kyu Karuizawa" town, since then Karuizawa had become the place to escape the summer heat in the great Tokyo area. The exotic "Kyu Karuizawa", which was crowded with foreigners, is still very popular among foreign travellers. Built in 1895, the Karuizawa Shaw Memorial Chapel is the first church for foreigners, and thus the Holy Land Karuizawa has been created. 明治28年,傳教士亞歷山大.蕭來到輕井澤,開始宣揚輕井澤為理想的避暑勝地,因此他也被稱為輕井澤之父。
Statue of Alexander Croft Shaw

↓St. Paul's Catholic church was established in 1935 by Priest Wald. This famous wooden structure was designed by Antonin Raymond. 聖保羅教堂可說是輕井澤的代表景點之一。
St. Paul's Catholic Church 聖保羅教堂

↓The Old Mikasa Hotel is the only pure Western style wooden-structure hotel building in Japan. Operated during 1906-1970, it is now preserved as one of the "Important Cultural Heritage" of Japan. Is it so important and delicate that photography inside the building is prohibited. 舊三笠飯店被日本政府列為重要文化財產,因為它是日本現存唯一木造的純西洋式的旅館建築。1906年開業,一直經營了64年。管理單位保護它不遺餘力,甚至不准我們入內拍照。
Old Mikasa Hotel | 舊三笠飯店 | 旧三笠ホテル

↓It's very interesting to see the adaptation of a foreign religion into Japan heritage. This sort of stone carving is usually used for little god statue in Japanese Shintoism. 很有趣的文化融合,聖母像以日本常見的沙彌石雕出現。 St. Paul's Catholic Church, Karuizawa, Japan 聖保羅教堂,日本輕井澤
Statue of Blessed Virgin Mary 聖母雕像

↓Second stop is Kusatsu, known for its high-quality hot spring(onsen). 第二站草津,以優質硫酸溫泉聞名。
Evening Overview of Yubatake, Kusatsu Onsen, Japan 草津溫泉湯畑向晚

↓Yubatake(湯畑), or "hot water field", is a set of wooden boxes used to collect minerals of hot spring water in Kusatsu, Japan. As the main tourist attraction spot, yubatake represents the quality and the abundant water output of the spring source. The local hot-spring hotel alliance thus announced "Onsen-ism" to cerebrate this gift of nature in 2001.
Yubatake, Kusatsu Onsen, Japan 草津溫泉湯畑

↓Yumomi is a traditional method of cooling down hot spring water to bathing temperature by stirring the water with large wooden paddles. The process is accompanied by the singing of a local folk song.
A yumomi performance for tourists is held daily in the Netsunoyu Bath House just next to the yubatake. The performance includes a yumomi and dance performance, and several people from the audience have the opportunity to partake in yumomi.
Yumomi Performance 湯揉舞表演

↓In Kusatsu, the water from some hot spring source is extremely hot that it can be used to boil eggs.
Onsen Boiling Eggs 溫泉蛋

↓Recently, the authority holds a special "Illumination" program from November to March, setting various light installations that adds more holiday atmosphere.
湯畑 Illumination website
Illumination Installation of Yubatake, Kusatsu, Japan 草津溫泉湯畑節慶燈光裝置

↓As the highlight of the seasonal Illumination program, the Yubatake Illumination Committee brought out a 5-day event "Special Lightup". At 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., March 11-14, the committee added colorful spotlight show accompanying with classic music.
Special Lightup of Yubatake, Kusatsu Onsen, Japan 草津溫泉湯畑特別燈光秀

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