Onsen-hop # 1: `Kurokawaso`

So….. this morning I thought I`d better get to work on trying out some of the outdoor baths or rotenburo ( 露天風呂) and decided to start with an old favourite,Kurokawaso (黒川荘). The Inn is number 3  on the English Onsen-Hopping Map (available at the Visitor Center,reception desk or click on `Onsen Map` at the top of this page) and boasts one of the largest baths in Kurokawa .

You NEED this too!

You NEED this too!

Set just a  short distance from the main road it is easily accessible,yet quiet and secluded As it`s a ten-minute walk if you are coming from the Visitor Center , and is now a very popular bath with tour groups,you may want to call ahead and check with reception to make sure it is not busy. Mid-afternoons sometimes bring a coach load of bathers,and you may be asked to wait for a while. Luckily I had the bath to myself for almost 20 minutes …the temperature was just right and the colour was a beautiful pale,milky blue.

 

Milky blue waters at Kurokawaso

Like many inns,the baths at Kurokawaso are swapped over  daily so that guests can try the two different baths at some point during their stay. Be sure to check that you enter the correct changing room and bath!  (At Kurokawaso a red curtain for the women`s side,blue for the men`s).

There`s no mixed bathing at Kurokawaso and no private bath hire. For Onsen-hoppers the indoor and outdoor baths can be used between 8:30 am and 9pm (although a tour group will take priority….but believe me they are in and out pretty quickly!).  When you have finished bathing,follow the  `OUT` sign to the large lounge where you can relax for a while and cool down with a drink.

After-bath lounge area.

After-bath lounge area.

 

 

 

 

 

In summary….

One word:   SPACIOUS

Would I come again?   YES,would like to try a late evening dip.

Staff:  Exceptional,some English spoken

To note:  Avoid clashing with a bus tour splash en masse

(Note to self….mind that big step down into main bath,almost missed it without my glasses on!)

 

 

Don`t pull out the plug!

Don`t pull out the plug!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Onsen-hopping in Kurokawa

So let`s get down to the serious stuff right away….why do people come to Kurokawa Onsen?

They come for the famous hot spring baths, why else?  Day-trippers and Ryokan guests alike can

make the most of their time here by getting their hands on one of these….

 

You NEED this!

You NEED this!

 

 

 

It`s an Onsen-hopping Pass or `nyuto tegata`(入湯手形),and the latest version features

KUMAMON alongside a cheery chap who until recently had looked rather lonely in the bath….

The pass is available from the Visitor Center or reception desk at any of the 24 participating

Kurokawa Onsen Association member inns for only ¥1200 (adults) or ¥700 (children). It lets

you try THREE  different public outdoor baths (that works out as a total saving of ¥300 on the

usual price of ¥500 per bath). You can wear it around your neck (even in the bath,it`s made of

locally-grown cedar) and then when you`ve finished Onsen-hopping it makes a cool souvenir….

(Shhh..I am actually balancing  a cup of coffee on mine at the moment,it makes an ideal coaster!)

 

Just show the pass at reception of each Ryokan you visit and they will remove one of the stickers

on the back and stamp it with their own seal . The pass is valid for 6 months if you don`t manage

to try three baths in one go.

 

Now….how do I choose WHICH three?

Watch this space

 

 

 

Well,you could click on `Onsen MAP` at top right   for a sneak preview…

Goodnight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Event

Table Tennis (tegata)