Onsen-hop # 4 `Sanga`

This is one of those inns in Kurokawa where a map of the grounds (and just one or two English signs, pretty please) might be useful!

The grounds are beautiful,a shady leafy lane runs down from the car park to the main entrance of Sanga Inn and then various paths branch off to the men`s and women`s indoor and outdoor baths (Onsen-hoppers may use both the indoor and outdoor baths).

The shady path to Sanga

The shady path to Sanga


The men`s outdoor bath here is spacious and doubles as the mixed bath (混浴),if you dare,or you could actually reserve one of the several private `family` baths (家族風呂) here at Sanga for a charge. These private baths seemed to be quite busy,although my visit was late on a Friday afternoon so many new guests had just arrived. From the beautiful photographs in the pamphlet I was given (nice souvenir too) I liked the look of the semi-outdoor large round wooden tub♥ …..but,back to my Onsen-hop for the day!

After bumping into a Swiss couple who were equally lost, we teamed up and  eventually found the women`s outdoor bath located towards the far end of the grounds and pretty much built on the riverbank.


Bathing next to the river..


Once we ladies were inside the outdoor bath changing area however we realised two things,showers and toilets were back up the other end of the garden…..easy enough if you came in a yukata,but not if you have to put clothes back on again!

So this was my first Onsen-hop with a companion to chat with in English and perhaps for that reason I stayed in the bath a bit longer than usual and overheated…in fact,my face remained quite a bright shade of red for an hour or so after. I  wondered if this was due to the properties of this particular hot spring ,and a quick check on the `What`s in the Water? section of the  English Onsen-Hopping map  does indeed confirm that a saline spring (such as the one at Sanga) helps the body to retain heat,so I will probably save this and similar ones in future for winter visits. That`s if Sanga can even be reached in the winter, at least probably not without tire chains and expert driving skills if it snows…


One  thing we chatted about in the bath was the complete lack of signs in English…the Swiss lady had previously burnt her shoulder by sitting too near the pipe where the often scalding hot spring water gushes into the bath. In most baths there is usually a sign in Japanese warning of the danger,but nothing in English. It was also confusing as to whether it was OK to drink the hot spring water as all the signs were in Japanese only. I explained that if there was a small ladle hanging up somewhere nearby a water spout thingy it indicated that the water was drinkable, but neither of us was sure if it was OK to drink the (cold) water out of the cheap and ordinary-looking  tap at foot level,so we didn`t…

NB.The hot spring waters can have have various `effects` on the system when ingested,so best not to drink too much in one go!


A scoop for rinsing the body…



Ladles for drinking water (taken at Kurokawaso)


















In summary…

One word:  RIVERSIDE

Would I visit again?  Yes,but in winter.

Staff: Friendly and speak just a little English

Note: A few discreet English signs would be helpful!






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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!

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