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 .
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.
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.
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!)