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.
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
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!
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…
Since the middle of January a new type of shared onsen-hopping pass （シェア入湯手形 sheya nytotegata) has been on sale at the Visitor Center in Kurokawa.
Ideal if you are visiting with a group of friends the pass costs only ¥2200 and allows a total of 6 entries to the baths.
(Single entrance to a bath is usually between ¥500 and ¥800,so you could easily save at least ¥800) here are some sample combinations for your shared pass!
-A group of six could enter one choice of bath once
-A group of three could enter a choice of two different baths once
-A couple could enter a choice of three different baths once etc etc
The pass is valid for 6 months from the date of purchase and is undergoing a trial period. It is the same size as the regular onsen-hopping pass,but just has more stickers on the back. (One sticker will be removed per person per bath entrance)
So if you are visiting Kurokawa with a group of friends in the near future,please give it a try!
My intention this bright and sunny morning was to pop up to Kurokawa Onsen and pay a visit to Okunoyu (奥の湯 number 6 on the English map),but I took a wrong turning and spent most of my time photographing the autumn leaves and scenery alongside the ` Warabi Nobori ` walking course instead… Later I realised that the Chinese character 奥 translates as `at the far end` or `at the back of` , so to help anyone else trying to find it,it`s located up a narrow ,winding road (one car width) at the back of Nishimura Ryokan,about 15 minutes walk from the Visitor Center.
But then even when I did eventually find my way to Okunoyu I still spent more time taking photographs in and around the grounds than actually relaxing in the bath….
Looking up from the women`s bath,this was the view….
Okunoyu offers mixed bathing in a cave bath as well as in large and small riverside baths ,the latter of which is lit up at night. Women may have exclusive use of these three baths between 20:00 and 22:00 or the women-only bath at any time. Do check the sign or ask at reception in case this information should change…..and be careful!
Excellent facilities all round,warm changing rooms (with toilet),lockers, soap and shampoo,drinking water,resting area etc. Staff at reception spoke a little English and provided a very useful map of the extensive grounds.
And I`ll leave you with this……
In summary…beautiful riverside autumn scenery
Would I visit again? Yes,I`d like to see the baths lit up at night
Staff: Helpful and spoke some English
Exploring a fairly new hot spring complex on the outskirts of Kurokawa today, Iromomiji （彩もみじ, not yet on the English onsen-hopping map,but tucked up a hill just a stone`s throw from Konoyu,which is number 23 on the map). The receptionist explained that they opened last October,but were forced to close for a while after the April earthquakes and just reopened this September.
It`s a fairly long walk from the visitor center,a steep climb at the end but apparently there is a shuttle bus (although I`m not sure if you have to phone for the bus ,possibly you do need to as I didn`t see it shuttling anyone backwards and forwards this afternoon….) Parking space may get a little tight at busy times,as there is also a soba restaurant next to the main outdoor bath and a mini village of at least six private family baths dotted in amongst the rocks and trees. These can be rented for a period of 50 minutes for between 1000 and 1500 yen and did look very attractive. But today I`m here for the purpose of outdoor onsen-hopping,so here`s the entrance…..
Lovely wooden interior,shiny dark wood floors and comfortable changing rooms with lockers and everything you need…. a flight of stone steps leads down first to a spacious indoor bath….
….pause for the view….
….and then to the bubbling jacuzzi-style outdoor bath….which is actually quite unusal for outdoor onsen hop bath tubs!
Also offered within the shiny and new onsen-hopping designated area are a sauna and a medicinal herb tub.The main bath is quite hot today and whoops….I forgot to look up what type of hot spring waters flow here….it`s not a sulphorous smell,I`m guessing a mild alkaline,which is good for all skin types and said to smooth the skin.
Next door to the bathing area,behind a huge,imposing wooden entry gate, is the newly-opened (10/10) Gekkoju Ryokan （月光樹） which offers 8 very private,tastefully decorated bungalows complete with private indoor and outdoor baths and amazing views…start saving for a stay here.
In summary……squeaky clean and new
Would I visit again? Yes,anytime!
Staff: Very polite and helpful,litle English.