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

 

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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Pottery clocks

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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…

 

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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.

 

 

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Footbath (足湯)

 

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

 

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Sugiyohoen ice cream contains honey,yum!

 

 

Kurokawa Onsen Visitor Center and `Bechinkan`; New Year Taiko Drums 2017

A quick round up of events  as 2016 nears an end….

Between now and the end of March 2017 enjoy an  evening stroll in the center of Kurokawa and you can view the beautiful warm light given off by hand-carved bamboo lanterns erected along the river.

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Bamboo lanterns

If you enjoy listening to Japanese drums,then make sure to visit Kurokawa on one of the first three Sundays in January. There will be a performance by Yamanami Taiko group at NOON on January 1st,8th and 15th in the square in front of `Bechinkan` (just go down the stairs behind the Visitor Center)

 

VISITOR CENTER `Kazenoya`

When you visit Kurokawa Onsen,make sure to pop in the Visitor Center if you need any help or advice,the staff speak a little English and are very helpful. In the Visitor Center ( open daily from 9am to 6pm) you can:

-Buy Onsen-hopping passes and get English Onsen-hopping maps

-Get various maps and guides in English,such as the Hiking Map or maps/guides of the Minami Oguni area

-Book a room at a ryokan (if vacancies are available)

-Rent an audio guide (English available)

-Ask about local transport

-Buy a small present,drinks etc in the shop

-Leave luggage in coin lockers nearby

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Entrance to the Visitor Center `Kazenoya`.

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Inside the Visitor Center/shop

 

`BECHINKAN`

Take the steps down from the Visitor Center and you will also find the `Bechinkan` which offers:

-Various Maps and guides

-Yukata robe rental

-Electric bicycle rental (except in winter months)

-English-speaking staff

-A large tatami `Relaxation Lounge` where you can enter free of charge to take a rest and cool down in summer (or warm up in winter) . Take off your shoes of course and please do not smoke or disturb others using the lounge. This is also where visitors wishing to rent a yukata can get changed.

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Entrance to the `Relaxation Lounge` open 10am to 5pm daily.

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Entrance to `Bechinkan`

 

Enjoy the winter holidays,and be sure to come and visit Kurokawa Onsen to warm up in the hot spring waters.

One of the best onsen experiences I have ever had in Kurokawa was bathing one evening in an outdoor bath while snowflakes landed and melted on my face…..it was worth the 5km/hour drive home in the snow,which had settled considerably while we were bathing. Be prepared if you do visit in winter,snow tires or chains will be necessary if it snows on some of the steep and windy roads leading to the inns located on the outskirts of the Kurokawa Onsen area.

Best Wishes everyone for the New Year 2017!

 

 

`WELCOME KYUSHU` ONSEN CONTEST 2016. Please vote for Kurokawa Onsen!

There must be a fair amount of friendly rivalry between the onsens in neighbouring prefectures of Kyushu! Last year,two onsens in Oita prefecture pipped Kurokawa Onsen to the post,forcing it into third place in this contest run by Kyushu Tourism. Currently,Kurokawa Onsen (Kumamoto Pref.) is in second place with 239 votes,a bit behind Yufuin Onsen (Oita Pref.) with 278….voting runs until January 15th ,2017 so there is still time to cast your vote and send the link to friends or relatives who have also visited Kurokawa Onsen. (Foreign tourists in Japan or overseas may vote,the contest prize is a pair of vouchers towards a one-night stay in an as-yet-undisclosed inn in Kyushu). Just click through on the heart mark of your chosen onsen (KUROKAWA ONSEN of course!) and that takes you to a second page to VOTE and enter your details if you would like to be entered in the prize draw.

PLUS,there is lots of useful information on the site on Kyushu Onsen,in English,Japanese and Chinese .Please go to the Welcome Kyushu website 

to cast your vote for Kurokawa Onsen!

 

Thank you!

 

 

 

 

UPCOMING EVENT: Morning Hike Sunday,November 6th 2016

Good morning!

Unfortunately a wet and cloudy one,but we expect better weather on Sunday,November 6th this year for our biannual hiking event.

This time,we are planning a course of approximately one and a half hours,uphill but not a difficult walk. Lunch,a bottle of water and free entrance to one outdoor bath is included in the price. At 1pm,after lunch,you are then free to return to downtown Kurokawa (on foot).

Date: Sunday,November 6th 2016

Time: 10am for a 10:30am start

Place: Meet at Parking area 1 (across from Nishimura Inn,5 mins walk from Visitor Center)

Fee: 1500 yen per adult, 1000yen  per child (children free if lunch is not required)

A packed lunch,water and entrance to one outdoor bath is included in the price

* Please contact the organisers at `Bechinkan` (an office located downstairs behind the Visitor Center) if you would like to reserve a place,as numbers may be limited.  Tel: 0967-48-813o

Japanese flyer follows