UPCOMING EVENT `Onsen Thanksgiving Festival` October 1st and 2nd,2016

If you happen to be in the area don`t miss this fun, local event in Kurokawa Onsen!

This year,the  Kurokawa Onsen Kanshasai or `Onsen Thanksgiving Festival` will take place as usual over the weekend of October 1st and 2nd. Starting from 3pm on october 1st there will be a variety of food stalls,games,displays and events ,mostly located  in the car park of the Visitor Center. There will be lottery tickets on sale,and the draw (prizes last year included Kurokawa Onsen accommodation coupons) will take place at 10pm on the main stage,followed by fireworks.

I just missed the `bottom sumo` last year,or rather,they decided at the last moment to make the men do `bottom sumo` and the women do arm wrestling……These events are scheduled for 7:30pm,but do arrive early if you want to join in as they often change the schedule of events at the last moment

On Sunday October 2nd there will be a colourful parade advertsised as an `Edo period time slip` starting from the San-ai Rest House around 10:30am,proceeding down into the streets of central Kurokawa and then back. Please be prepared for traffic congestion,with some streets (mainly Shimokawabata and Kamikawabata dori) closed to traffic between 11:30am and 1:30pm.  During the weekend of the festival there will be extra parking available just further along route 442 (keep going past the Gas Station,through the tunnel and it will be signposted on the right) with a shuttle bus provided.

 

Japanese poster and simple map showing parade route on October 2nd and extra parking area (in yellow)

 

黒川温泉感謝祭2016年度

 

Onsen-hop #22 Yumerindo

One of the great things about Kurokawa Onsen is that even on a rainy day you can go ahead and enjoy a spot of onsen-hopping in the outdoor baths,as most of them are provided with a  roofed section to offer protection against the  rain. Yumerindo ( 夢龍胆 number 9 on the English onsen-hopping map) was no exception and proved an ideal choice for a mid-morning dip in the rain.

 

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Entrance to Yumerindo

 

The staff were very attentive and helpful from the moment my friend and I stepped through the door,even though we were only there for an onsen-hop . A receptionist  (from Taiwan) spoke English,Chinese and Japanese and other staff seemed to follow our English quite well. It`s a large inn,elevators are available and we made our way down  from reception to the outdoor baths without getting too lost. Once again,being mid-morning, we had the spacious bath and changing rooms to ourselves.

 

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Spacious outdoor bathing and roofed area

 

Yumerindo also boasts a large mixed bath (混浴風呂 or konyoku buro)for as many as 30 bathers…but we didnt try it out,as it would have meant getting dressed again and walking through to a different changing room. Maybe next time,if we remember to take out yukata with us!

 

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The sign says `Men` but this passageway also leads to the mixed bath

 

We lingered for a while in the lobby,which had some great views all around and would be a very pleasant place for a coffee or refreshments after your bath.

 

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Lobby and views…

 

The baths were far less crowded than the fish tank….

 

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In summary……..spacious baths

Would I visit again?   Yes,perhaps to try the mixed bath!

Staff: Attentive and polite,with English knowledge.

 

 

 

 

Onsen-hop #21 Yamanoyu

Looking at the small and unimposing entrance directly off Shimokawabata Dori in the centre of  Kurokawa Onsen you might almost decide to give the baths at Ryokan Yamanoyu (旅館やまの湯,number 17 on the English onsen-hopping map) a miss….

 

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Entrance to Ryokan Yamanoyu

 

But if you are in the center of town and looking for  a quick and quiet dip this is the ideal stop,if you don’t mind steps.I found it quite intriguing that after taking the elevator to the 4th floor there was a corridor,then a flight of steps,then another…

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…and another…

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….and another….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So by the time  I reached the actual outdoor baths ,which are quiet,compact and secluded ,I was fairly high up ,tucked away on the hillside. Hence the name ‘Yamanoyu’,which literally means ‘mountain bath’.

 

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Small and secluded

 

Facilities were basic yet adequate,and at 10:30 on a rainy weekday morning I had the place to myself. The  mildly acidic (tanjyunsen) spring water was just the right temperature,and not too hot for the lingering humidity and heat of September…hooray,autumn is finally just around the corner!

 

 

In summary……lots of steps

Would I visit again?   Yes,for a quiet and central dip

Staff: Polite,but all communication in Japanese (and very few English signs,you may get lost….)

 

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Nice lamps….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPECIAL DISCOUNTS on booking.com for 2016 July/Aug/Sept Kyushu bookings!!

DRUM ROLL…….

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Just a quick heads up on this great offer that is starting July 19th ,2016!

SPECIAL DISCOUNTS FOR overseas visitors making bookings for hotel stays in KYUSHU on booking.com are available  from July 19th to September 30th,2016 (period of stay must also be between these two dates)

Just go to the booking.com site and follow the usual steps for making a reservation,the  discount (if applicable) will be calculated and automatically deducted from the total that you will pay at the property/properties.

For a stay in KUMAMOTO or OITA prefectures this discount could be between ¥4,000 and ¥20,000

For a stay elsewhere in KYUSHU the discount could be between ¥3,000 and ¥15,000

 

PLEASE NOTE that this is a limited offer,available until the  allocated funds for discounts run out,so make sure to BOOK EARLY ON  during the campaign. Also,although the campaign starts very soon I haven`t been able to find any information in English,these details were supplied by an Innkeeper in Kurokawa Onsen who had received details of the campaign in Japanese only!

Further `hot` news from my Innkeeper friend  is that Expedia are also starting a similar discount campaign from July 22nd,2016. So please check out their site also when you make a booking from overseas for a stay in Kyushu between now and the end of September 2016!

 

 

30 years of `Nyuto tegata` Onsen passes in Kurokawa Onsen!

To celebrate 30 years of their `nyuto tegata` onsen-hopping passes,Kurokawa Onsen have brought out a special commemorative edition!

The cost is the usual  1300yen for a normal-sized one,which allows one guest to visit three different outdoor hotspring baths within a period of 6 months (be sure to pick up an English map with details of the various baths when you purchase your onsen-hopping pass!) OR,if you are visiting with a group of up to ten friends,why not buy a giant pass ,30 bathing opportunities for only 12,000yen?

They look like this,and can be purchased at the Visitor Center or at the reception desk at any of the 25  inns belonging to the Ryokan Association.

 

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Commemorative Onsen-hopping passes,regular and giant size!

 

The stickers on the back of these commemorative passes are bright orange,and there is a special prize campaign running until March 2017.  When you visit a bath using your onsen-hopping pass the receptionist removes one of the stickers,and if this reveals a prize symbol you could win a  1000yen token for spending in certain local shops There are even some top prizes of 10,000yen vouchers towards booking a stay in a Kurokawa Ryokan!

 

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Stickers on the commemorative passes are bright orange

Happy Onsen-hopping! It`s quieter than usual here in Kurokawa Onsen at the moment so you can probably enjoy an outdoor bath all to yourself…