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Is Kurokawa worth it for a 14 day Tokyo trip? 2020/8/7 00:34
Hello,

I am wondering if it will be worth it to add Kurokawa to a trip I am currently planning to Japan for me and my girlfriend. It will be our first to visiting Japan, and we are planning on arriving in early March (assuming it is safe to travel by then). We will be staying for 14 days and flying into and out of Tokyo. From what we have researched we know that we will want to spend time in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, as well as a traditional onsen town. We have been looking around and Kurokawa appears to be exactly what we want. We have seen other interesting onsen towns, like Kinosaki and Hakone, but none seem quite as appealing as Kurokawa. However Kurokawa does seem quite out of the way and I'm not sure if we'd even have enough time to dedicate to much else in the Kyushu area. The final thing we were worried about would be that my girlfriend has many prominent tattoos, though I found a site that indicates at least some onsens in the area accepted tattoos.

Anyways, I was hoping for any thoughts or opinions on whether it would be worth adding Kurokawa to our trip or if it would be better for us to visit a different onsen town instead.

Thank you for taking your time to help.
by Sikuh  

Re: Is Kurokawa worth it for a 14 day Tokyo trip? 2020/8/7 09:09
In my opinion I think that it's a long way to travel for an onsen town - even though I love onsens. It really depends on why you want to visit an onsen town. Here are some things to consider

(1) Most onsens are gender segregated (if that's important for you)
(2) Most public onsens don't allow tattoos and most people go to onsen towns for the public onsens (eg - Kinosaki)
(3) Kurokawa is hilly and remote - it's best to travel by car but car parking is not that easy to find.

Personally - I think it would be better to find a nice traditional town in Chubu (between Tokyo and Kyoto) and stay there a few nights. There is often also nice hotels with private onsens available as well. For some reason - Nozawa Onsen and Kusatsu Onsen comes to mind. Both have good quality water which is an important decision for me. For example - Kinosaki's water is like boiled water, while the other two are quite different. Others might have other suggestions of nice onsen towns and hotels with well priced private onsens in the Chubu/Kanto/Kinki region.
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Is Kurokawa worth it for a 14 day Tokyo trip? 2020/8/7 11:39
Thanks so much for the advice! We really loved how rural and remote Kurokawa seemed but, like you said, it is a little far. I'll definitely take a closer look at the Chubu region. I think we are interested in an onsen town where we can hop between multiple onsens(preferably outdoor). Hopefully we can find a traditional style area that would be accepting of tattoos.
by Sikuh rate this post as useful

Re: Is Kurokawa worth it for a 14 day Tokyo trip? 2020/8/7 12:36
Have you thought about Hirayu onsen and the Okuhida region? It would be pretty easy to plan a 2 week trip to Japan going from Tokyo to Kyoto via Hirayu and the Okuhida region and then you can go back from Kyoto to Tokyo the more conventional route.

I would looks for places with either a free or a rentable family bath since that is generally the best way to go when tattoos are involved or splurge and stay somewhere with an attached private onsen. A friend with a lot of tattoos went that method and stayed in Shibu onsen. She paid extra, but it was her big ryokan splurge.

if you truly have your heart set on Kurokawa, it might make sense to fly from Haneda to Kumamoto airport, rent a car and go to Kurokawa and then fly from Kumamoto to Itami, which But even with discounted fares it will add around 40,000 yen to your trip outside of the rental car and you will need to overnight at Kurokawa or nearby. I'd also make sure Kurokawa is really OK with tattoos. I think most are not unless you rent a private bath other than this particular one: https://tattoo-friendly.jp/property/kurokawaonsen-ryokan-ichinoi/ and possibly Wakaba.

If you're not used it:
https://tattoo-friendly.jp/property-type/hotel-ryokan/

Might be a helpful website for finding tattoo friendly baths.

Good luck!

by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Is Kurokawa worth it for a 14 day Tokyo trip? 2020/8/7 14:55
Too far away.

Try Minakami 2 hrs north of Tokyo.
by H (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Is Kurokawa worth it for a 14 day Tokyo trip? 2020/8/7 16:53
There really inst much to do in Kurokawa except bathe. We are relatively relaxed travellers and 3 nights there was too long for us, although the ryokans we stayed at were spectacular and I'd say one of them is the best that we have ever stayed at. It is very charming though.

Shuzenji is much easier to get to from Tokyo and while it isnt as rustic, it has a livelier town.

If you are looking for something that is like stepping back in time, consider Fukumuziro Ryokan at Hakone. It is nestled in a foresty village (Tonosawa) which you'd think was in the middle of nowhere even though it is a shortish walk from Hakone Yumoto township, the ryokan itself is amazing, like a museum. It only has one room with its own bathroom and toilet, but that room overlooks the river and has its own onsen. It was probably my favorite ryokan stay out of dozens over the years.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Is Kurokawa worth it for a 14 day Tokyo trip? 2020/8/7 18:13
Just wanted to confirm - you will not find a rustic Japanese town with multiple public rotenburos that will allow sizeable tattoos that are not fully covered.

The link given above by someone else will be helpful but I also wanted to be realistic.

If you stay in Shuzenji - make sure it includes meals as when I visited (almost a decade ago) restaurants were rare for dinner and english menus were non existent. They also had written menus which makes google translate difficult.
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Is Kurokawa worth it for a 14 day Tokyo trip? 2020/8/7 19:00
Yeah we struggled finding places to eat in Shuzenji when we were there (last year) because all you see are sweets places, but there actually are a few good ones, down the bottom of the township, including a spectacular place that serves the river fish, and as snacks you get deep fried fish skeletons which were amazing.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Is Kurokawa worth it for a 14 day Tokyo trip? 2020/8/7 23:57
If your instinct attracts you to Kurokawa, why not just focus on Kyushu instead of coming to Tokyo? You can also consider doing Kyushu Region and Chugoku Region (like Shimane, Tottori etc).

Because, cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto are not really getting any safer at the moment in terms of the corona virus. Meanwhile, Chugoku Region as well as Kyushu (apart from maybe Fukuoka) had always been relatively safe (keeping in mind that people do wear masks and keep social distances).

The two regions are much more relaxed, the food is super, and the historical attractions are even older than Kyoto. A lot of onsen in Kyushu are very popular among the Japanese, and a Japanese friend who travels around the world chose Yufuin for her honeymoon. The Seto Inland Sea is also in the charts of internationally popular locations for tourists.

Have fun thinking!
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Is Kurokawa worth it for a 14 day Tokyo trip? 2020/8/8 02:02
What is it exactly that you seek?

If Kurokawa offers what you seek, then you will eventually want to pay a visit.
With 2 weeks duration, and depending on the rest of your itinerary, Kurokawa is not out of the reach.
But remember, there are thousands of other Onsen places in Japan.

I visited Kurokawa for 2 nights. As someone else mentioned, there is not much else to do in Kurokawa. I like Onsen, but twice a day (morning and night) is enough for me. I want something else to do in between.
by O92 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Is Kurokawa worth it for a 14 day Tokyo trip? 2020/8/8 05:00
Thanks everyone for your advice, there really are so many onsen to choose from. From some of your suggestions, Fukumuziro Ryokan and Minakami looked really nice. But ultimately I think we are going to try Kinosaki. It should be an easy trip to make from Kyoto and we discovered that they are tattoo friendly: https://visitkinosaki.com/plan/visitor-info/guides/tattoos-in-kinosaki...

by Sikuh rate this post as useful

Re: Is Kurokawa worth it for a 14 day Tokyo trip? 2020/8/8 12:15
Kinosaki is not my favorite place for onsens in Japan and I also see it as having some of the most mediocre waters in the entire country. However, the streets are photogenic at night. Izushi is a nice half day trip from there is well....

https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-2241
https://www.japan-guide.com/community/mfedley/report-2242
by mfedley rate this post as useful

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