Kurokawa Onsen is one of Japan’s best hot spring areas, with forested outdoor spas. Come see 3 top notch places among them.
One thing every visitor to Japan should do is visit a hot spring (Onsen) at least once. They are all over the country, and there are a few resort areas – Kurokawa onsen (黒川温泉) is one of the finest in Japan, with many outdoor baths and a true escape from the rat race.
There are actually 30 or so different Japanese inns (ryokan) with hot springs you can go to. All of them are a splurge though, with an overnight costing a few hundred bucks. For those on a day trip though, you can experience several onsen inexpensively. You can buy a meguri tegata which costs ¥1300 and lets you visit 3 different onsen during the daytime. A normal a la carte day visit normally costs ¥500-800. This video shows you 3 different places, a few of which are the most famous and best in Kurokawa. Yamamizuki has one of Kurokawa’s best outdoor baths (rotenburo), with a river and waterfall next to you. Yamabiko is another, with several beautiful gardens and its own private bridge over the river.
Please note that Kurokawa Onsen has no rail access – you have to go there by car or bus. Bus frequency is only a few times a day. There are buses from Fukuoka, Kumamoto, Beppu, and some other stops.