Onsen-hop #17 Ikoi Ryokan

Ikoi Ryokan (いこい旅館 11 on the printed English guide map) is an established,  centrally-located inn very popular with Korean tourists,but luckily when my friend and I visited the baths today it was lunchtime and we had the baths almost to ourselves.

 

Entrance to Ikoi Ryokan

Entrance to Ikoi Ryokan

 

Lots of corridors, paths ,signs and stairs later we  managed to find the women`s bathing area,also known as `Bijin-yu` (beauty bath) which is described as one of the top 100 hot spring baths in Japan.

 

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Go upstairs to the women`s baths

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The polished path to `Beauty Bath`

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A word of warning….the women`s rocky pool bath down the steps was the hottest hot spring I have ever tried and although I wanted to get in quickly because it was cold, I could only lower myself in very slowly and gradually. A sign ,in English, warned that the water pouring into the pool was `boiling`,it certainly felt like it! Later,I found it much more comfortable to sit at the edge of the standing bath where the temperature was more like a normal bath. I must have missed the sign here (as well as the step) but this was also the deepest standing bath I have ever tried (in fact, come to think of it,probably too deep for most Japanese ladies of average height to stand up in comfortably!). Hold onto the bamboo grips at the side,and mind your step!

 

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Main rocky pool with boiling hot water spout

 

Feeling warmed and beautified after our dip we had a little bit of an explore and found there are several private baths here for rental for 800yen/adult/ 40 minute slot and also bathing areas which are only for use by the hotel guests. As far as onsen-hopping is concerned it is probably the men who get the better deal here as they may use three different baths, `Takino-yu` (waterfall massage) ,`Utase-yu` and `Hako-yu` (wooden indoor bath) AND apparently the large outdoor men`s bath is also for mixed bathing. (I must admit I`m never quite sure….and not being a fan of mixed public bathing….. I`ll give it a miss for today).

 

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Details of baths available ,including private baths.

 

We also had a look around the Inn entrance area,where there are Onsen eggs going for 50yen each,a foot bath if you haven`t yet had enough of bathing and a cosy seating area around a hearth where you can have a rest before continuing on your way.

 

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Foot bath

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Cosy hearth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In summary….hottest and deepest

Would I visit again?  ONE day I will be brave, return with my husband  and try the large mixed bath

Staff: Yes,very little English.

 

 

Onsen-hop #5 `Konoyu`

It`s the rainy season here in Kyushu,which usually means  a  lot of very heavy rain,torrential rain enough to bring floods and landslides in some areas……but so far this year it has rained relatively little. It has been cloudy  and thus (thankfully) quite cool and not as humid as expected. I don`t usually go to hot spring baths in July and August to be honest,but a few days ago I tried `Konoyu` (no 2  on the map,and a little way from the center of Kurokawa) with my `helper` who had finished school early for the day!

We were met by courteous staff with umbrellas and shown to reception.

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Reception and directions to `Mori no Yu`.

 

Luckily the outdoor bath had a roofed area as it started to rain a little heavier,also the shower/washing area was outside,but nicely protected inside a sort of outhouse . Ouch,the water temperature in the showers was hard to control though,comfortable one moment but scalding hot the next…. The main bath itself was rather hot today too,so I didn`t stay in too long.

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Mossy,green roof.

There were several areas to explore here,the main bath is quite big and one section of it is inside a sort of small cave. Also,there is a 130cm standing bath on the women`s side which was pleasant (and cooler),but I didn`t really know what I should do there apart from just walk up and down a bit! My helper informed me that the standing bath on the men`s side was a lot deeper, 160cm!

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Standing bath (on the women`s side).

It was quiet in Kurokawa today for a Friday afternoon..

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…so we wandered back to the center of town for our favourite `choux cream` cakes from `Roku` cake shop.

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In summary…. HOT!

Would I visit again? Yes,but after checking the water temperature first!

Staff: Helpful and some English spoken