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Kurokawa Onsen Okunoyu 黒川温泉 奥の湯

Kurokawa Onsen town

Kurokawa Onsen is situated in the middle of Kyushu, tucked away from civilisation, surrounded by lush greenery and forests. From there it’s 20 km to Aso town and 15 to the Kuju Mountains, which makes it the perfect gateway for exploring the area.

Because of its’ remote position and beautiful ryokans, this traditional onsen town is highly reputed. Many locals and foreigners find their way here.

The town offers a special onsen card including 3 visits to participating facilities for 1500 yen. This is a great way to discover the surroundings and different bathing / staying options. We went as far as Hosantei, one of the more expensive ryokans and soaked in the open-air bath adjacent to a small river. It was very quiet and relaxing.

The town is small, and food options are limited. While strolling, we found a small patisserie shop called Patisserie Roku. Their cream-puffs were absolutely exquisite :). There is one supermarket selling drinks and food.

Hosantei rotenburo in Kurokawa Onsen

Hosantei rotenburo in Kurokawa Onsen, © Rekall


There are many great places to stay in Kurokawa Onsen. Traditional ryokans in wood, with big rotenburo’s made of stone surrounded by thick forests. Your staying choice is more of a personal preference here.

Overall, staying in Kurokawa Onsen is not cheap. A mid-range ryokan will ask 270 euros for a night for 2 people with half-board included. The more expensive ones start at 400 euros per night. Nowadays it is also possible to stay overnight without breakfast or dinner. This of course kills a bit the atmosphere of staying in an old ryokan and experiencing traditional Japanese hospitality. We opted for a compromise: we didn’t take dinner the first night and took half-board the second night.


The choice for this stay was based on their well praised rotenburo’s and kitchen. We were not disappoint indeed. We slept in a Japanese style room with futon beds, overlooking the forest. Nothing fancy but clean and decent.

View from room at Okunoyu, Kurokawa Onsen

View from room at Okunoyu, Kurokawa Onsen, © Rekall


The open air baths were indeed fantastic. There was even an old wooden Turkish bath in between the inner onsen and the open-air ones. Outside there were 3 baths, 2 small ones and one mixed. All the outside area is surrounded by trees and rivers, far away from roads and other ryokans.

Mixed rotenburo at Okunoyu

Mixed rotenburo at Okunoyu, ©

Mixed rotenburo at Okunoyu

Mixed rotenburo at Okunoyu, ©

Rotenburo at Okunoyu

Rotenburo at Okunoyu, ©

Breakfast and dinner

We were served Kaiseki-style both for breakfast and dinner in a big room facing the garden. The food was very tasty. It is also one of the few places which offered homemade marmalade, yoghurt and muesli for breakfast :).

Kaiseki breakfast at Okunoyu

Kaiseki breakfast at Okunoyu, © Rekall

Kaiseki dinner at Okunoyu

Kaiseki dinner at Okunoyu, © Rekall

Entrance at Okunoyu

Entrance at Okunoyu, ©

Practical info

While staying at Okunoyu we visited the Aso caldera and the Kuju Mountains. Honestly, there is no better place to unwind in the hot onsen water and have dinner after a long day of hiking in nature. Dinner options are very limited in town, so if you decide not to eat in your Ryokan, take that into consideration.

We got to Okunoyu by car. The parking is free. Alternatively you can get to Kurokawa Onsen by bus which runs only once per day.

While coming to Kurokawa Onsen from Kumamoto, we stopped for late lunch in an Italian Pizzeria, 6 km from Kurokawa, called Pizzeria Tre Passo. The pizza was a wood-oven Napolitano style pizza. It was the real deal, delicious!

We last visited in March 2020.