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Kurokawa onsen - Yu no hira

05/24/2009

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I don't have much time to write today, therefore I will just introduce two small onsen towns located in north Kyushu. Both have an authentic atmosphere, are a little isolated and uneasy to reach...Welcome to Kurokawa onsen and Yu no hira.

Kurokawa onsen

I went there with my aunt a year and a half ago, during my usual stay in Hita for the year-end holidays. Kurokawa onsen is a cute little village located a little south from Hita. A car is definitely necessary to get there, something that did not prevent it from becoming very popular, in fact it was even ranked among the country's top onsen towns. The only public transportation to get there is a bus. Due to the small size of the village, it's unlikely you'll find large hotels like in other places of Japan and like those manchester hotels in the UK. Instead you can reserve a room at a Japanese Ryokan( a traditional Japenese inn) to have a truly authentic trip. I usually tend not to trust "official" rankings, often ruled by vile marketing concerns but in this case, Kurokawa onsen is actually a very good choice. Surprisingly though, it wasn't affected by mass tourism.

Built on a slope, the village itself is really pleasant to stroll, but it is the quality of its onsens that really sets it apart. I only managed to try two of them due to lack of time, but I would definitely have stayed longer to enjoy more.

The first bath I tried, located right by a river at the edge of a wood, was absolutely gorgeous! This picture shows the layout:

As you can see, the onsen is at the right and slightly above the river level. It is a real wonder, especially in winter to warm oneself.

Some other shots:

The second bath was also amazing, yet completely different as it was located inside a cave! Unfortunately, you will only see the entrance, not the galleries inside, because it was impossible to take any picture due to the steam.

And here are some pictures of the village:

Yu no Hira

If Kurokawa onsen is not affected by mass tourism, I had the impression that Yu no hira is not even affected by tourism at all. Inside the tiny station hall, seeing the cat comfortably settled down made me think that visitors must not come very often:

And through the window at the right, you can see the only taxi that commutes between the station and the village...

The reason is actually pretty simple: Yu no hira is just an ordinary village, without any flourishes. Don't expect any breathtaking view or wonderful bath, there's just nothing visually attractive. On the other hand, it's the perfect place to experiment the authentic lifestyle of a countryside village built on a hot spring.

The public baths are extremely basic, limited to their primary function, and most of them only have a small box to collect the admission fee:

Here is one of the baths, nothing extravagant as you can see:

And here again, some pictures of the village:

Categories: Onsen - Kyushu

6 comment(s)

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Comments

By Jon on 05/31/2009 at 15:58:01

What beautiful towns! When I see towns like this, I just want to try living in one so much.

By cyril blondeau on 06/01/2009 at 22:26:31

J'ai été à Kurogawa onsen il y a 3 ans de ça, c'est vraiment agréable comme endroit.

By Jeesixk on 06/02/2009 at 20:32:21

Je veux aller la!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
C'est magnifique!

By Papa on 06/05/2009 at 14:18:58

Relaxation et détente garanties rien qu'en admirant tes images. Un Japon authentique et préservé, on a envie d'y aller. Bravo pour tes photos et tes explorations toujours plus intéressantes

By Steph et Gilles on 06/21/2009 at 01:07:38

Excellent! Hisashiburi! Urayamashi!
Ca me rappelle pleins de bons souvenirs! J'avais adore cet endroit!... et on s'en ferait bien un, la maintenant, un p`tit onsen! car au Nord du Chili ca caille bien!! (les geysers n'etaient qu' 33 degres, et il faisait -15! Alors on y a pas trempe un orteil!)
A+ besos!

By Emily Cannell on 05/07/2011 at 11:42:35

Hey Tarto-

I hope your'e doing fine- maybe you're in France? I just found your blog while looking for a picture of Kurokawa onsen. I have a couple of questions- first can I use your picture- I will credit you and link it back to your blog of course. Also, could I put your page on my blog roll? You have a great site! I love it! I'd love to highlight your resume page! I'm too old to have kids ready for that and don't have access to that stuff anymore... But it's so different from anywhere else and I think my readers would love to see your discussion- maybe it could be a guest post or something. I know this is all out of the blue- it's just so rare to find a good site with interesting reading material on a country.... Sorry to overwhelm. Feel free to ignore as well! Emily at Hey from Japan- Notes on Moving

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