If you are not that keen on onsen-hopping (or perhaps want to get some exercise in between those long soaks in the bath) and are looking for something else to do in Kurokawa then pick up a copy of the English version of the `Map for Hikers` from the Visitor Center and explore the surrounding area!
Hiking trail map in English,follow the footpass!
There are three routes starting from near the Visitor Center,which are all approx 4km (ONE way).
Start of Hitotsuya nobori,Kurokawa Walking Course 1
1. Hitotsu-ya nobori (ひとつや のぼり） Green and shady course,moderate climb.
2. Maruba nobori （まるば のぼり） Steeper course,leading up out of the valley.
3. Warabi nobori (わらび のぼり) Following the course of a mountain stream near paddy fields,moderate climb.
You can probably walk the course quite easily in trainers,as quite a lot of the paths (at least on Route 1) are tarmac. Take a drink with you on a hot day,as the path soon leaves the center of town and there are no vending machines once you are on your way.
A short way into Course 1.
The three courses all seem to lead to the spectacular Hirano Dai Viewpoint (also known as `Lover`s Hill 恋人たちの丘）,which should definitely not be missed on a clear day… The printed map is a little confusing,but is still useful as the points of interest are described in English and the routes are clearly signposted. Although we started off on Route 1,after reaching Hirano Dai viewpoint it seemed the natural thing to do to walk down the slope to join up with Route 3 and then complete a nice circuit ,rather than simply walk back along the path we had just climbed.
Heading towards Hirano-Dai viewpoint.
We were back in central Kurokawa after about 2 hours,and this is where route 3 brought us eventually,which was then just a short walk from the shops,cafes etc for refreshments!
End/starting point of Hiking trail 3 `Warabi nobori`.
Or of course,you could rent electric bicycles from the `Bechin-kan` just behind the Visitor Center if you don`t quite have time for a lesisurely walk but would still like to see the breathtaking view from Lovers` Hill….
If you`d like to try one of these routes with a group of people there is a walking event in Kurokawa on Sunday May 31st.