After an autumn morning spent exploring some of the hiking paths around`Sparrow Hell` (suzume-jigoku) and `The Forest of Crystal Streams ` (seiryu no mori) with a friend, nearby `Hozantei` (帆山亭、number 23 on the English map) was an obvious and indeed excellent choice. Easy to miss the entrance if you are driving though,those tall brown signposts dotted around Kurokawa can be just a shade too subtle sometimes…
This must simply be the best time of the year to visit Hozantei,and we couldn`t resist spending a while exploring the various nooks and crannies of the garden and its central pond before heading off to the baths.
Although this season can be busy in Kurokawa we were bathing around lunchtime,so there were few other visitors. Hozantei was well-equipped, with a fairly modern shower area,(shampoo,conditioner and body soap provided) lockers,hairdryer and a toilet in the changing room area.
The rocky outdoor bath is divided into three pools,pretty hot,warm and cold…a nice idea if you are not keen on a piping hot bathing experience or,as my friend commented,if you are with children or perhaps wanting to try bathing in the hot summer months. Also,the mildly acidic waters here are suitable for all skin types and may help fight fatigue and insomnia. The location by the river provides the prefect backdrop while you bathe.
In summary….perfect post-hike bath
Would I visit again? Yes,maybe very soon to catch some more autumn colours