Rainy season….free bathing day 6/26 (2018)

Onsen-hopping can still be an enjoyable pastime even during the rainy season,and not every day in June is wet and overcast! Several outdoor baths also have roofed areas,so you can take a dip without getting rained on  (Nishimura,Wakaba,Yumerindo and Yusai have a roofed section or try the cave baths at Shinmeikan or Waraku ,several inns also offer bathing at an indoor public bath and your onsen-hopping pass is also valid for these.

 

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COMING SOON!

Free bathing on June 26th,2018.

Every year in fact,in Kurokawa Onsen June 26th is designated as `free outdoor bath day`!  Day trippers to Kurokawa may use the public outdoor baths for free between 10am and 3pm,whereas if you are staying overnight as a guest at a Ryokan in Kurokawa you may use them between 8:30am and 9pm. Please  just make sure to pop into the Ryokan reception first before entering the public bathing areas.

 

NEW RESTAURANT in KUROKAWA

 

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Sakura-an (さくら庵) opened recently in Kurokawa,(moving into central premises recently operating as Fudo cafe) offering  Okonomiyaki and Yakisoba freshly-cooked on the grill,perfect for accompanying that cold glass of draught beer after your dip!

 

RELAXATION LOUNGE

Just a quick reminder that located  down the steps behind the Visitor Center there is a large air-conditioned tatami room which is available for use by visitors to Kuruokawa. It`s open between 10am and 5pm and is free. You may relax,take a nap and eat and drink here,but please be sure to be considerate to other users and leave the room in a clean and tidy condition.  Its the ideal place to cool down and recover after exploring the town on a humid afternoon…

 

 

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Kurokawa Morning Picnic

A picnic breakfast in Kurokawa,what a fun idea! Yes,a real picnic,sitting on cosy blankets outdoors in the early autumn air at Shinsui Park just a short drive from the center of Kurokawa. A minibus will even pick you up from the Visitor Center and drop you off again after the picnic finishes at 9am.

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Sitting pretty at Kurokawa Morning Picnic

Planned almost to perfection,with everything provided for your early morning picnic,just bring your  healthy appetite .  Pick your spot in the park area,set out the goodies from your picnic basket ( freshly-made bread,homemade jam,flask of herb tea,thermos of warming soup, salad dressings and homemade yoghurt)…..

 

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Just some of the picnic goodies….

 

….then pop over to these welcoming ladies to pick up your glass of locally-grown salad, an onsen soft-boiled egg and select a drink……..

 

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These ladies were up before dawn preparing….

 

…..then warm up your real, locally-made sausage (made by a Meister sausage maker who lived and studied in Germany) on the barbecue grill ,grab another coffee and relax and take in the view…..

 

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Autumn morning in Shinsui Park

 

As the picnic draws to a close,you will have the chance to jump in the minibus for a short drive to take in the breathtaking views from `Lover`s Hill` while you enjoy just one more cup of coffee…..

 

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Just one more cup of coffee….

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View of the `Sleeping Buddha` from `Lover`s Hill` lookout.

PLEASE NOTE:

Currently ,the Morning Picnic is only available for guests staying at ryokan in Kurokawa Onsen and will be held on the dates  below (2017). Pick up  from the Visitor Center by minibus is approx 7:20am,the minibus will then return after the picnic finishes at 9am.

-October 21 (Sat) and 28 (Sat)

-November 6 (Mon) and 7 (Tues)

Please be sure to ask staff at your ryokan reception to book you a spot,as places are limited.

The cost and menu may vary slightly,currently it is ¥3000/adult ( your ryokan  will deduct the cost of their ryokan’s  breakfast  and recalculate your bill)

Lap blankets are provided,but please wear warm clothes as early mornings are quite chilly!

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See you next time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!