Onsen-hop #19 Okyakuya

Unusually it took three goes today to find an outdoor bath that was open….two others that I still haven`t got round to trying  were both closed for cleaning,although this wasn`t mentioned on the `Daily Onsen Updates` page of the Kurokawa Ryokan Association English website. So…by the time I decided on Okyakuya (御客屋 12 on the English guide map) I was cold,damp and ready to warm up in the bath on this dull,rainy afternoon. It`s quite easy to find,central and just a stone`s throw from Ikoi Ryokan.

 

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Entrance to Okyakuya

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Sign explaining that outdoor baths are swapped round once a day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once again a maze of stairs and corridors led down to the outdoor bathing area,which is situated very close to the river but doesn`t open onto it directly as in Yamamizuki. A member of staff led me downstairs to the bath ( popping up again just after I`d finished) helpfully showing me the way while explaining that the outdoor baths are swapped over every day at midday. The women`s bath at this time of day was designated as the smaller iron-rich rocky pool (luckily for me it was also partially roofed so I didn`t get rained on) while the men`s bath was the larger one up a further flight of steps.

 

 

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Rocky bath with iron-rich waters…

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Up the steps to the men`s bath (swapped over at midday).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The outdoor bath was simple ,but pleasant and not too hot. An indoor bath with an area for showering also offered various shampoos and body soaps. Signs in Japanese in the outdoor bath explained that showering after a bath is not necessary as it washes off the beneficial hot spring deposits on the skin, so I went home smelling rather earthy and metallic!

 

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No need to shower after a dip (left) and soap is not provided here out of consideration for the environment,particularly the river nearby (right).

 

 

 

Actually…this establishment really likes signs….image

but you can still get lost!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One very important sign on the wall in the outdoor bath explains that there has been an onsen here for over three hundred years,making it the oldest in Kurokawa. Obviously the building is a lot more recent,but the beautiful wooden corridors and stairs certainly give it an air of times gone by.

 

 

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Hope he enjoyed his bath…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In summary……historical

Would I visit again?  Yes,to try the larger outdoor bath next time.

Staff: Attentive,spoke some English.

 

 

 

 

 

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onsen-hopper

onsen-hopper

Teacher at フレンズ英会話 "Friends"English Conversation School
Resident in Kyushu for over 20 years and fortunate to be living in this beautiful corner of Aso close to a number of onsens including Kurokawa, which I love to visit with friends or my guests from overseas. Keeping this semi-official blog in English for the Kurokawa Onsen Ryokan Association now gives me the perfect excuse...I just HAVE to try all the (public outdoor) baths I possibly can!

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