Autumn in Kurokawa Onsen

Soak up the foliage while soaking in the hot springs

 By Mandy Bartok   Nov 13, 2013

There's no bad time to be in Kurokawa Onsen but autumn is a particularly attractive season to spend a few days in this tiny hot springs village just north of Mt Aso. Early to mid-November brings out a blaze of maple leaves, both on the town streets and around the outdoor baths (rotemburo) of the many ryokan (traditional inns). There is a definitely a winter chill in the air by this time of year, but what better way to warm yourself than with a dip in the hot springs? Weekends in Kurokawa can get fairly crowded, so come on a weekday and you'll find the place pleasantly quiet.

Photography by Mandy Bartok
Japan Travel Partner

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Mandy Bartok Photographer 3 years ago
A car does indeed make all the difference, Terrie. Even though you can get to Kurokawa Onsen on the bus that runs daily from Kumamoto to Beppu, having your own wheels can allow you to explore the region. We discovered some beautiful waterfalls and a few lovely cafes that you would never find by public transportation. It can get expensive but I do love how ALL of the ryokan open their baths to the public. So you can go bathe at the expensive inns for only 500yen to 800yen.
telloyd 3 years ago
Kurokawa onsen would be one of my favorite places in Kyushu to go, although the hotels can get a bit pricey in the on-season. You really need a car to see the area properly -- which is easily rented next to the airport in Fukuoka.
Mandy Bartok Photographer 3 years ago
Thank you! This has become one of my favorite places in all of Japan. My (rather lofty) goal is to try all of the 15-20 onsen ryokan here. Three down so far and have yet to be disappointed!
Sakura Watanuki 3 years ago
Great shots! The concept of onsens are so interesting to me because I am Japanese but have lived in America for the past 19 years. The autumn leaves are gorgeous, and the building is too! I'll have to visit in the future.