Onsen-hop # 1: `Kurokawaso`

So….. this morning I thought I`d better get to work on trying out some of the outdoor baths or rotenburo ( 露天風呂) and decided to start with an old favourite,Kurokawaso (黒川荘). The Inn is number 3  on the English Onsen-Hopping Map (available at the Visitor Center,reception desk or click on `Onsen Map` at the top of this page) and boasts one of the largest baths in Kurokawa .

You NEED this too!

You NEED this too!

Set just a  short distance from the main road it is easily accessible,yet quiet and secluded As it`s a ten-minute walk if you are coming from the Visitor Center , and is now a very popular bath with tour groups,you may want to call ahead and check with reception to make sure it is not busy. Mid-afternoons sometimes bring a coach load of bathers,and you may be asked to wait for a while. Luckily I had the bath to myself for almost 20 minutes …the temperature was just right and the colour was a beautiful pale,milky blue.


Milky blue waters at Kurokawaso

Like many inns,the baths at Kurokawaso are swapped over  daily so that guests can try the two different baths at some point during their stay. Be sure to check that you enter the correct changing room and bath!  (At Kurokawaso a red curtain for the women`s side,blue for the men`s).

There`s no mixed bathing at Kurokawaso and no private bath hire. For Onsen-hoppers the indoor and outdoor baths can be used between 8:30 am and 9pm (although a tour group will take priority….but believe me they are in and out pretty quickly!).  When you have finished bathing,follow the  `OUT` sign to the large lounge where you can relax for a while and cool down with a drink.

After-bath lounge area.

After-bath lounge area.






In summary….

One word:   SPACIOUS

Would I come again?   YES,would like to try a late evening dip.

Staff:  Exceptional,some English spoken

To note:  Avoid clashing with a bus tour splash en masse

(Note to self….mind that big step down into main bath,almost missed it without my glasses on!)



Don`t pull out the plug!

Don`t pull out the plug!














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Teacher at フレンズ英会話 "Friends"English Conversation School
Resident in Kyushu for over 20 years and fortunate to be living in this beautiful corner of Aso close to a number of onsens including Kurokawa, which I love to visit with friends or my guests from overseas. Keeping this semi-official blog in English for the Kurokawa Onsen Ryokan Association now gives me the perfect excuse...I just HAVE to try all the (public outdoor) baths I possibly can!

3 thoughts on “Onsen-hop # 1: `Kurokawaso`

  1. Hello, would like to seek your advice on the best five onsens to visit in Kurokawa as we will have limited time and can’t visit all. Also, have you tried Yamashinobu? Thanks advising! Helen

    • Hello,
      I will get back to you a little later today! Difficult to choose the best five!

    • Hello again,
      You might want to try a variety of baths,rather than the ‘best’ 5 ,so I would say Sanga or Yamamizuki for a natural,riverside location (Sanga would be the quieter of the two),Shinmeikan in the center of Kurokawa ( so you can say you bathed in a cave),Kurokawaso for the lovely spacious baths,possibly San-Ai Kogen hotel baths for the wonderful view on a clear day ( but this is located a 10 minute drive from the center) and then….well maybe hop into the almost hidden baths on the hillside behind Yamanoyu right in the center of town or just stick a pin in the onsen-hopping map for the 5th one! Make sure you pick up an onsen-hopping pass to save a few hundred yen if you plan on trying several baths,there’s a new ‘shared’pass too for upto six baths which will save you even more! Also there is a free shuttle bus from Kurokawa center out to Yamamizuki,just hop on and off.
      Yamashinobu is not actually in Kurokawa,but nearby in Ota onsen area. I’ve never been there myself,but it does seem to have very good all round reviews.

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