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Friday, April 27, 2007

Kurokawa Onsen

黒川温泉, 熊本県

Kurokawa onsen is one of Kyushu's best onsen resorts.

Kurokawa onsen

Kurokawa has grown in popularity over the last ten years and despite its reasonably out-of-the-way location, it is best to spend a night here to sample the special atmosphere in the early morning and the evening when the day-trippers are not in town.

Kurokawa has over 20 hot springs situated along the river at the foot of the steep, wooded valley. There are some excellent rotemburo (outside baths) and prices for some of the public spas start as low as 100 yen.

Kurokawa onsen

Accommodation options with breakfast and evening meal in any of Kurokawa's ryokan are on the expensive side but great service and food translates to excellent value for money.

Kurokawa's tourist office (Tel: 0967 44 0076; 9am-6pm) offers a map of the spas and a day pass (1200 yen) for entry to three onsen.

Kurokawa's most well-known hot spas include: Shinmeikan (Tel: 0967 44 0916), which has mixed bathing rotemburo and a cave bath, Yamabiko Ryokan (Tel: 0967 44-0311) has a huge outdoor hot pool and beautiful gardens and is entered via the roofed bridge over the river, Kurokawa-so (Tel: 0967 44 0517) has excellent, rocky, outdoor pools.

Kurokawa is best reached by private car from either Kumamoto or Beppu. There is a bus from Aso (approx. 1 hour) but the return bus leaves only two hours later. There are buses to both Kumamoto and Beppu from the Yamanami Highway Senomoto bus stop which is a taxi ride from Kurokawa.

Kurokawa Onsen Official Site (Japanese)

Kurokawa onsen

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