Snow and ice in Kurokawa and area, February 2017

 

UPDATE: ( February 18) Snow and ice cleared quickly,but cold conditions may return later this month,so please do check the weather forecast before setting out .

Kurokawa and area look absolutely stunning today (February 9th) after a few cms of snow during the night….but please do take care if you are driving. Temperatures drop considerably at night, and there will be icy patches in the early morning ,especially on the roads to and from some of the ryokan a little way out of the center of town. Winter tyres or chains may be necessary,if in doubt please ask the inn staff before you leave,or the car rental clerk before you set off on the drive to Kurokawa. Coaches use tyre chains in the snowy conditions,and are not usually badly affected.

Take great care if you are driving from Kumamoto on the `Milk Road`!

Of course….if the worst comes to the worst,Kurokawa has got to be one of the best places to be snowed in for a day or two!

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Light snow,a photo from mid January.

 

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View from a Ryokan in central Kurokawa this morning (February 9th)

 

 

 

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!