Spring (2019) in Kurokawa

Time to get a group of friends together and explore  Kurokawa Onsen, where the the spring air is fresh,the hot spring baths well….hot and various colourful blooms and blossoms are returning!

 

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View across the bridge near Nishimura Ryokan

 

 

Don`t forget that for only ¥1,500 you can rent a yukata set (yukata,obi belt and warm hanten jacket) from Bechin-kan ,which is located downstairs behind the Vistor Center . Open from 10am it`s best to get there early to choose a yukata in your favourite colour and design. A member of staff can help you if you are not sure how to wear the yukata correctly.

 

A view of Bechin-kan

A view of Bechin-kan

 

Yukata Kurokawa style

Yukata Kurokawa style

 

Looking for somewhere to leave your bags while you stroll around town? For day-trippers with large bags there are coin lockers available near the Visitor Center as well as near the highway bus stop (near Cosmos gas station). For only ¥500 you can probably fit two suitcases in the largest size locker.

 

Coin lockers near Cosmos (No Parking!)

Coin lockers near Cosmos (No Parking!)

 

One important update is that Nanjyoen (名城苑) Ryokan,which was damaged in the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes reopened on April 15th after a major renovation that has taken three years, and is accepting bookings from the 18th. I`m looking forward to having a look around the newly-renovated inn and trying the baths soon!

 

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View of Nanjyoen Ryokan from the Visitor Center car park

 

….and finally for today, I just love the Kurokawa style bus stops!

 

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One of the prettiest bus stops around..

 

 

 

Onsen-hop # 12 ‘Ryokan Nanjyoen`

UPDATE (March 2017) Due to damage caused during the April 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes,Nanjyoen Ryokan and baths  have been demolished and rebuilding work is currently underway. Work is estimated to take almost 2 years from now.

Although today`s  Onsen-hop at Ryokan Nanjyoen (旅館南城苑 number 9 on the English Guide map) really was just  a  HOP across from the Visitor Center, it involved a lot of STEPS before I could finally  JUMP into the bath.( Hop,step and jump! Get it?!)  However it is ideal if you are milling around the Visitor Center and are perhaps short of time (as I was today) ,but want to take a quick dip nearby to warm up.

 

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Down the steps to reception

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Down more steps to the baths…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow the flight of stone steps that lead off from the car park down to reception,then once inside follow another flight of wooden stairs down to the bathing area. The men`s and women`s baths are swapped over daily,so today I was bathing on a kind of balcony that caught the rays of late afternoon sun beautifully.

 

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View of outdoor bath from the indoor bath

 

The water was a little hotter than other outdoor baths I have visited,but not unbearably so. There was also an indoor bath,washing area and simple shower with shampoo,conditioner and body soap provided. I had a try of the facial steamer on my way out,but simple instructions in English here would help to enable the correct use of what might otherwise prove to end up more like a means of medieval steam torture ! I think I was supposed to pinch my nose and close my eyes for a short burst (10 to 20 seconds) of steam,but instead I ended up breathing in the very hot vapours.I`ll admit that I`m not a great fan of saunas and such like,despite having lived in Sweden for a time when I was a student…

 

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Try the facial sauna…I dare you!

 

One of the known beneficial effects of the Chloride and Sulphate spring waters here at Nanjyoen is helping the body retain heat,and I did  actually feel a sort of inner warmth in the core of my body for several hours afterwards… I don`t think it was solely due to inhaling that lungful of steam out of the facial sauna tank!

 

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In summary….. very close to Visitor Center

Would I visit again?  Yes, to warm up on a winter`s day.

Staff: Polite,not sure if English is spoken. No signs in English,(apart from ` free WIFI`)