Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

Onsen Hopping in Kurokawa Onsen

By Tuesday, October 06, 2015 , , ,

Onsen season has descended upon us once again and there's nowhere better to soak in minerals than in Japan and i swear that Kurokawa Onsen is the best place to do that. It's an amazingly beautiful town, and their onsens and ryokans are impeccable. From open air baths with a starry night sky view, or by the gushing river, or something in the middle of a forest, travelers are spoilt for choice here. 
If you stay at a ryokan, certainly they would have a hot spring for your use. Even still, you should, like the day trippers, go on a Rotemburo Meguri a.k.a. a tour of outdoor baths. Trust me, it's the only thing to do at Kurokawa onsen. Get your hands on the onsen pass for 1300Y which gives you access to 3 onsens, otherwise, the typical single entrance fee is 500Y. 
There are more than 20 participating ryokan and the pass is valid for up to 6 mths. It's a bit crazy to do all 3 onsens in a day but 2 days would be just right. You can get your pass at the tourist info center or at your ryokan. Too many onsens to pick from? Well I'm gonna highlight a couple of the really good ones that you could consider checking out. 

8.30am - 9pm
Accommodation: From 16,000 yen per person including 2 meals
Yamamizuki has one of the best outdoor riverside baths in Japan. It took us a while on foot, because i insisted on wearing the yukata and geta. It's a must ok. 
It's a long and winding road that took us through lovely forests and fields. It's surreal. 
The baths are mainly outdoors here and are separate gender baths. I was greeted with lush greenery and the sound of the running river. I could sit here and meditate to the sound of the rushing waters all day. 
After the really hot soak, take a walk through the rock path (also aptly called the naked path), which will lead you to the smaller indoor baths. 
The water isn't as hot inside so it was a little more comfortable. Plus you get to see a mini waterfall beyond the trees. 
Love this spot. The facilities are quite bare though with open wooden shelves for you to store your belongings and a simple onsen shower inside. Cool yourself down with some ice cream at their little cafe before heading off!

2. Hozantei
8.30am - 9pm  
Accommodation: From 16,000 yen per person including 2 meals
Another outstanding riverside bath you may want to check out is Hozantei. It's surrounded by forests and has a rustic atmosphere but the downside is that it's the farthest from the town center. I don't suppose anyone would want to be walking 3km in those clogs. 

I remember this as the starry night onsen because of its name and also their special mixed gender pool which is a wade out from the private pools. It's much closer to the trees and i'm pretty sure it would be dark enough for you to enjoy the starry night in the open. 
This is the female only pool. It doesn't look like much actually though the falling water is good for back massages. Stay here if you're not comfortable with naked bodies of the opposite sex. 
See that opening in the rock? That's the entrance to the mixed gender pool. It's quite a treacherous path and requires some maneuvering to get to. Did not get pictures outside because i was afraid of getting the camera wet. Anyway, the pool is quite deep so your modesty would still kinda be protected. HAHA.

Ikoi Ryokan is located in the city centre, just some flights of steps down from the bus stop. We first noticed it because it's next to our ryokan and it looks like a lovely place. We only visited because we didn't have enough time to visit another one that is far out and i was pleasantly surprised by their onsens.
Ikoi takes pride in their special pools, which are touted to give you better skin. Perfect for the ladies!
One of the deeper pools pools. The bamboo pools calls for some gymnastic action (only for vertically challenged ones like myself). I ended up doing some core workout on that. I'm not sure what's the actual purpose but i may just be right. 
There are many pools around actually and it's interesting because they are located on different levels. So yea, you gotta climb around a bit in the cold, naked and all but it's all fun! There are some steam rooms/sauna here as well. For in house guests, Ikoi has some pools that are reserved for them so there is some privacy as well.

So head on over to Kurokawa Onsen for the ultimate onsen experience in Japan. Trust me it doesn't get better than this. For more information on Kurokawa Onsen, you'd definitely want to read on here.


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