Restaurant Bus 5/22 to 6/1 in Aso/Kurokawa/Yufuin area

A chance  to try something quite different,a 5-course meal prepared by a top chef on a double-decker bus restaurant tour that runs twice a day (on selected dates) between Aso and Yufuin between 5/22 and 6/1.

The morning trip starts at 10:00am in Aso,and calls at Kurokawa on the way to Yufuin.

The late afternoon trip starts at 16:00 in Yufuin,calls at Kurokawa and returns to Aso.

One way takes 4 hours,the cost for transport,the meal and a drink is ¥10,800 per person.

Reservations are essential and places are in high demand ,but I`m hoping there will be more chances  to join this kind of tour again in future!

Tel :  080-3951- 1283

Japanese flyer and map







Shopping and Eating in Kurokawa # 11: Naka Restaurant

I am sometimes asked by hungry tourists to recommend a suitable place to eat  an inexpensive lunch in Kurokawa . Ajidokoro Naka ( 味処なか) is a small Japanese restaurant centrally  located near the river on Shimokawabata dori that won’t break the bank ,and is frequented by locals and tourists alike.



Entrance to Naka Japanese restaurant


Set back  slightly from the street,it’s another of those unassuming restaurants that you could almost pass by,unsure as to whether it’s actually open for business or not!



Luckily it’s open today!


English menus are available for the food,but there is no drinks list in English,so pointing at a bottle on the shelf or gesturing will probably get you served with your alcoholic beverage of choice. Prices start from around  ¥650 for a bowl of udon noodles with beef ,and the owner explained that as the cost of most dishes is low ,payment is cash in only .  Seating is Japanese style on cushions inside separate booths ,or there are a few seats at the counter.



English menu at Naka Restaurant



Dining area ,one of several booths inside Naka restaurant.


This is one of the few  drinking and eating establishments open in the evening (until 9pm) in Kurokawa,as most visitors are enjoying the delights of dining and bathing at their respective Ryokan. I’m sure there would be a warm welcome at Naka to anyone taking an evening stroll around town, who finds they are in need of a ‘top up’  meal or a drink or two!



No frills Japanese dining and drinking

Open 10:30 to 21:00 most days ( but currently closed Tuesdays and Fridays owing to shortage of staff)

English menu. Very little English spoken ,but helpful staff.




Shopping and Eating in Kurokawa #10: Kisho Tofu restaurant

Conveniently located just across the road from the Visitor Center,Kisho Tofu Restaurant    (とうふ吉祥) is open most days from 10:00 to 17:00 and a great choice for lunch if you like tofu,tofu and even more tofu! Even the desserts are made from tofu or soya milk.



Is it a restaurant? Is it open?


Hooray…it`s open today!














I`m glad to see these new ,clear signs around Kurokawa at all the shops,restaurants and cafés. Even though I can read some Japanese,I must admit that it`s not always clear to me whether a certain shop is open for business on  that day or not,so it must be very difficult sometimes for the overseas visitor who can`t read any Japanese. Kisho Tofu restaurant is subtly lit and set back a little from the road,and  years ago when I walked around Kurokawa with a friend from the UK, we mistook it for a private old style Japanese  house! (Which it was originally until it was remodelled inside as a restaurant ).



Large tatami room,Japanese style seating.


Popular items served here are the Tofu `sets` starting from ¥1600,perhaps a little over your usual lunchtime budget, but made with fresh, high-quality tofu and soya beans. An easy-to-read English menu with photos and prices is provided,which along with the multilingual  `point and ask`  laminated vocabulary card makes dining here quite straightforward even though the staff didn`t seem to speak any English. Credit cards are accepted.



Helpful menu with photos


A game of Noughts and Crosses anyone?










Open 10:00 to 17:00 (but closed Tuesdays and Fridays)

English menu

Credit cards accepted




Shopping and Eating in Kurokawa # 9: Shimokawabatadori Stroll

Along Shimokawabatadori Street there is a small gallery/shop that can be rented short term and attracts a variety of artists throughout the year from both near and far. Until May 16th the gallery houses a display by a potter,Kazuyo Taguchi, whose studio is near Mount Kinpo in Kumamoto City.



Kazu Pottery (until May 16th 2017)


Apart from the usual dishes,cups and vases , unique pottery clocks caught my eye along with colourful chopstick rests,necklaces and earrings,which could easily be wrapped up and transported home safely in your luggage.



Pottery clocks


Can you spot the two-faced vase!?















All in all it was a perfect afternoon for a stroll around Kurokawa ,lots of fresh green leaves and a slight breeze along by the river…



Kurokawa stroll,in Yukata of course!


Why not rest a moment and try the refreshing footbath (ashiyu) located by the river? Just pop across the street to Yamanoyu Ryokan first to pay the ¥100 entry fee at reception (an extra ¥100 if you need a towel). Operating hours are 8:30am to 8:30pm.




Footbath (足湯)


…..and  then ice creams from nearby Sugiyohoen (the Honey Shop) round off  the afternoon  perfectly!



Sugiyohoen ice cream contains honey,yum!