Kuju, a "hidden village" with hot springs dispersed among the mountains. Enjoy Kurokawa-onsen Hot Spring with atmospheric inns and beautiful streets.
Situated on the northern side of Mt. Aso-Kita-gairin-zan (somma) in Kumamoto, Kuju of Oita Prefecture has a high density of hot springs. A one-and-a-half-hour drive on the Yamanami Highway from Yufuin in Oita, numerous hot springs are found at a height of 1,000 meters. Stretching across the Iida-kogen Highlands, the Kuju Mountain Range and Oguni-go Village, Kuju is truly a "hidden village," where tourists can take a comfortable and relaxing bath in silence that is surrounded by nature.
Situated at the foot of the Kuju Mountain Range, Kuju has many hot springs along the Yamanami Highway, and the Nagayu-onsen Hot Spring is the largest. Edo-period local lords visited in days gone by, and now many writers visit. Naoiri-machi town maintains friendly relations with a hot-spring town in Germany, and Oguni-go Village in the center of Kuju has crystal clear streams, deep foliage, and high-quality hot springs such as the Tanohara-onsen Hot Spring, where one of the popular "Tora-san" movies, a comedy series loved by many Japanese over a long period, was set. The Mangan-ji-onsen Hot Spring with its noted Mangan-ji Temple and the Oda-onsen and the Tsuetate-onsen hot springs are here, as are all types of hotels, inns, and bathing facilities for day tourists.
The Kurokawa-onsen Hot Spring is popular for "outdoor bathtub tours." The number of hotels and inns including annexes is less than 30, and most have fewer than 20 rooms. There are no large-scale, gorgeous hotels and no expensive room rates or meals. However, the luxury lies in the sound of the streams and the beauty of the fresh green leaves. A "must-do" when here is outdoor bathing. Tourists are issued a "Bathing Pass," and they can then select three different outdoor bathtubs. The high-temperature water is excellent for outdoor bathtubs, and the quality and abundance of the tubs are unsurpassed.
The townscape is maintained by a preservation project that bans overly flashy signs, and stresses unity among the buildings, which makes the Kurokawa-onsen Hot Spring well maintained and nostalgically attractive.
From Tokyo :
[Air] 1h 45 min from Haneda to Fukuoka Airport, and 15 min from the airport to Hakata Station by subway.
[Rail] 4h 50 min from Tokyo to Hakata Station by JR Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Line. 2h from Hakata Station to Bungo-Nakamura Station by JR Yufu-DXExpress, and 25 min from Bungo-Nakamura to Iida-kogen-kyoku-mae (Kuju) by Nishitetsu highway bus.
2h 43 min from Tenjin Bus Center (Fukuoka) to Kurokawa-onsen by Nishitetsu highway bus.