This is a review of our stay at Kurokawa Onsen Gosyo Gekkoujyu.
We visited Kurokawa Onsen in the early summer season with beautiful fresh green leaves. We decided to stay at Yamamizuki on the first day and at this ryokan on the second day. To get straight to the point, our stay at Gosyo Gekkoujyu, with its special time, was a memory that will last a lifetime. We were immersed in a sense of contentment and happiness for some time after returning home.
We checked out of Yamamizuki around 11:00 a.m., took a walk around Kurokawa Onsen town, had lunch, and were picked up by the ryokan staff just before 3:00 p.m. We boarded the shuttle bus and drove for a while until we came to a gate with a magnificent kayabuki roof like a samurai residence in a dense forest, and the gatekeeper opened the massive door. The ryokan is located in the mountains, a short distance from the village along the mountain stream, at the highest point of a river. It was a hot spring ryokan nestled in the forest on high ground, built with the intention of creating a ryokan with the most beautiful view of the moon in Japan.
As our shuttle bus passed through the gate and entered the grounds, the tranquility that resides deep in the Aso forest was even more intense. We got off the shuttle bus and, listening to the sound of running water in the tsukubai, walked up the stone steps to the main building, which was tucked away in the trees. The building was a massive wooden structure with thick beams overhead. While many ryokan are nowadays exploring modernity, the space where the traditional beauty of Japan was recreated was extraordinary, and it was as if I was going back in time. We checked in at the reception counter in the main building, sat on the couch, and enjoyed tea and yokan jelly prepared by the staff while gazing out the window at the beautiful fresh greenery.
Then after a short while, a staff member escorted us to our room. The property is about 4,500 tsubo (about 14,876 square meters) with only eight villas scattered on the slope of the mountain, all of which have wonderful private onsens. We took a resort cart to get to the villa where we would be staying. The grounds have been carved out of the mountain and designed to preserve the natural topography. We made our way to our villa amidst beautiful fresh greenery with streams flowing and playing with the light, while being soothed by the chirping of birds and the sound of water.
This time, we booked a villa called Izayoi. When we opened the black sliding door and entered the room, we found a large stone object, a sunken hearth table in the living room, a Japanese-style room in the back, and a bedroom with twin beds next to the Japanese-style room. Like the main building, it was a tasteful wooden structure with a high beamed ceiling. There was a spacious sunken hearth, and the interior decor based on wood and clay walls was somewhat nostalgic. Then in front of the bedroom was a large, spacious private onsen. This private onsen had a unique structure in which the inner and outer baths were connected. Between the inner and outer baths, there is a partition with a black lattice door that can be opened and closed. On top of that, we had a spectacular view from the room’s terrace.
We decided to sit on the terrace for a while, sipping the ryokan’s original beer prepared in the minibar, and enjoying the stunning view. We never tired of looking at the endless majestic mountains of Aso and the clouds floating in the endless blue sky. Once you have seen this magnificent sight, you will never forget it. By the way, the minibar had beer, milk, green tea, cider, CALPICO, water, etc., available free of charge.
After this we changed into yukatas and decided to go to a private family bath called Tenku-no-yu. The private family bath was located close to our villa. The view from the open-air bath, which was located at the highest point on the grounds, was also stunning and spectacular. It was just evening at the time, and we were simply amazed at the surprisingly beautiful sight of the bright blue sky gradually turning a pale red, then a ripe tomato color, and finally a light purple. After a while, the sun was already hidden by Mt. Aso, and the dark purple sky rapidly turned dark. *In 2022, another private family onsen in a cave was built.
After this, we returned to our room and the staff prepared dinner in the room with the sunken hearth. It is said that eating around the hearth is a traditional style in this region. Each dish was brought to our room one by one. Each dish was seasonally prepared with local ingredients and had a mellow flavor that brought out the best in the dashi broth. Particularly impressive was the beef steak of beef raised on Mt. Aso, which was grilled over charcoal. To our delight, the main course of horse meat and beefsteak was all-you-can-eat. This ryokan’s original sake was also delicious, with a fruity ginjo aroma and rich flavor. In addition, there was a wide selection of white and red wines. Dinner start times could be specified from 6:00 p.m., 6:30 p.m., or 7:00 p.m. You can choose to dine either in your room or in the restaurant.
Please note that as far as I know, there are no restaurants near the property. Also, the local stores close early, before 18:00. You may want to book a room with meals included.
After dinner, we decided to enjoy the private onsen bath in our villa. As we soaked in the spacious onsen bath and looked up at the clear night sky, we saw moonlight pouring down and countless stars shining. I couldn’t help but think how beautiful the moon was. Listening carefully, I could hear the chirping of bellbirds and the sound of leaves rustling against each other in the night breeze. The ryokan, nestled deep in the magnificent Aso, was filled with tranquility and peacefulness in harmony with the natural world.
After the bath, we took cider out of the mini-bar to quench our thirst, and the staff brought us some rice balls called onigiri for our midnight meal. After getting out of the onsen, we felt strangely hungry. On the terrace, we enjoyed the rice balls with homemade miso while gazing at the mountains of Aso in the moonlight.
The next morning, we woke up a little after 7:00 a.m. and decided to go out on the terrace to enjoy the spectacular morning view. The clear air and soft morning light surrounded us, and the chirping of birds echoed in the air. We were overwhelmed by the spectacular sight and at the same time felt the comfort of being surrounded by nature.
After a while, the staff prepared breakfast in the sunken hearth room. The dengaku, sausages, and salmon grilled over charcoal were especially delicious. Breakfast can choose to start at 8:00, 8:30, 9:00, or 9:30 a.m. As with dinner, you can choose where to eat, either in your room or in the restaurant. You can also choose between Japanese or Western-style meals, although Western-style meals are only served in the restaurant.
After breakfast, we again enjoyed the private onsen in our villa and checked out before 11:00 a.m. We were dropped off at the Kurokawa Onsen bus stop. When we checked out, we were given beef burgers as a souvenir and ate them on an express bus. They were very tasty.
Finally, we have completely fallen in love with the simple countryside atmosphere and beautiful nature that remains in Kurokawa Onsen. Next time, we would like to visit in the fall when the leaves turn red or in the winter when it snows.
Check Availability and Pricing for the ryokan on Agoda
Is the location easy to access?
It takes about three hours by express bus from Nishitetsu Tenjin Express Bus Terminal in Fukuoka City or Fukuoka Airport to Kurokawa Onsen Bus Stop. The express buses are equipped with Wi-Fi, power outlets, blankets, and toilets. The seats are spacious, so you can enjoy a comfortable bus ride. Please use this information as a reference.
Reservations are required for both of the above buses. The number of buses to Kurokawa Onsen is limited, so be sure to make a reservation in advance. In particular, buses arriving at Kurokawa Onsen Bus Stop around 15:00 are often fully booked.
Please use a free shuttle service from Kurokawa onsen bus stop. Inform staff in advance. It takes less than 10 minutes by car from the bus stop.
From the end of November to the middle of March, there is a possibility of frozen roads and snow accumulation. If you are coming by car, you will need to use tire chains or studless tires.
This ryokan is located deep in the mountains, 2km from the onsen town. The road width is very narrow, and a little steep, so you need to drive while sharing the road with oncoming cars. You may feel stressed by this.
How about toiletries & in-room amenities?
All of the amenities are taken care of including enough toiletries, pajamas, yukatas, bathrobes, a coffee mill with coffee beans, a green tea set, and a complimentary mini-bar. There are john masters organics amenities in the bathroom. Room service is available. Free WiFi reception was excellent in our villa.
Then there is no convenience store in the onsen town, but Goto Liquor Store is like a convenience store. You can buy local sake, beer, wine, milk, souvenirs, groceries, and daily necessities, etc. The store is open between 8:40 and 22:00.
Then this ryokan is child-friendly. Amenities for children, samue outfits, and meals are available upon request from the staff.
How about In-house Facilities?
The ryokan opened in 2016, so the amenities and appliances are up-to-date.
There is a universal design room called “Tensin” near the main building. Wheelchairs are available for borrowing. If you bring people with weak legs, you may want to inform the staff in advance. Each villa has wonderful private indoor and outdoor onsen baths, so once in the room, there will be no need to move around the grounds.
Then there are two amazing private family onsen baths called “Tenku no yu” and “Cave bath” which you can use for free. Advance reservation is required at check-in. The private family onsen baths can be locked and used completely privately during the reserved time.
There is a spa treatment shop near the reception. Reservations for treatment services need to be made at least one day in advance.
Check Availability and Pricing for the ryokan on Agoda
Info about Kurokawa Onsen Gosyo Gekkoujyu
|Luxury Onsen Ryokan
|Check-in and out times
|100,000JPY for 2 adults per room
|WiFi reception was good.
|Wheelchairs are available
Pets are not allowed
The free parking lot is available
|Kurokawa Onsen Gosyo Gekkoujyu’s MAP
|Free Pick-up service from Kurokawa Onsen bus stop
Need to book in advance
|Address and TEL
|6777-2 Oaza Manganji Minamioguni-machi
Aso-gun Kumamoto 869-2402
Tel +81 967-44-1717
|Kurokawa Onsen Gosyo Gekkoujyu’s HP
*All information above is as of the date that I posted on my blog.
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