When I told my friends that I’m about to visit Japan again, none of them looks surprised, “Where is your destination this time, uh? Tokyo? Osaka or Hokkaido?” To be honest, I didn’t have any idea where I should go to this time even though I have planned this trip for a long time. I only knew that I have to go to japan and seems like it has become something ritual and routine for me hahah. At first my friends and I were planning to visit Hokkaido for the summer festival, but then after checking our schedule and the flight, we decided to visit Kyushu, the southern part of Japan which is famous for the mountains and the spectacular landscape. Due to the active volcanos, Kyushu is also renowned for the hot spring villages such as Beppu, Kurokawa and Yufuin. This time we were basically travelling around the mountains of northern Kyushu: from Fukuoka to Kumamoto, then from Aso to Yufuin.
Aso & The Kurokawa Hot Spring 阿蘇&黑川溫泉
The first time I noticed Kurokawa was in 2016 when I was planning my winter Japan trip. There was a local Japanese website recommending all those “secret/hidden” hot springs around the country, and Kurokawa, a small village with over 20 hot spring ryokans hidden in the mountain was highly recommended by the website. However, to those who cannot drive in Japan, those hidden hot springs are definitely not easy to get to. There are only 2 buses travelling from Kumamoto to Kurokawa a day and the journey takes 2 hours. On the way to the hot spring village, the spectacular landscape emerged with the summer green, during the whole trip we were surrounded by the endless greenery of the mountains.
The spectacular mountain view of Aso. (@Fashionmimo)
In the Kurokawa Onsen area, there are ryokans, restaurants and souvenir shops alongside. (@Fashionmimo)
Taking half-board stay in Ryokan Sanga with multiple hot spring options (outdoor, indoor, private & public), a hidden wonderland in the mountain. (@Fashionmimo)
A small town located at the Oita, here has the most fascinated & peaceful country view I have seen . Also, Yufuin takes a good balance between the flourishing tourism and local community, so it’s a common scenario here that lots of tourists walking along the street during the day time, but when it turns to the evening, the town shifts back to a local area where people chatting and drinking in the Izakaya (japanese bar).
Peaceful and idyllic, just like any Japanese village in Haruki Murakami’s book. (@Fashionmimo)
Family-style Izakaya, everything is designed to be tiny in order to fit in the space, tiny but tidy 🙂 (@Fashionmimo)
We met a lovely local lady who took us to her friend’s 60s retro-style Whisky bar, a very-tiny space where everyone sit by the counter and sing Karaoke together. (@Fashionmimo)