From Ryokan Shinsen in Takachiho, himself drove 1.5hrs to Kurokawa So 黑川莊. Along the way, there are shops selling farm products if you need a toilet stop. There are eateries but nothing spectacular. The popular driving route would be from Fukuoka to Kurokawa.
But we enjoyed the fields of golden brown and tall pine trees in late autumn with the Aso mountain in front. Very pretty.
Public transport check here:
Make sure you don’t carry much. If you’re not staying for the night. Kurokawa is hilly and an old town. I don’t see lockers for your luggage. Very narrow drive ways from building to building. But the Japanese can manage quite well. So glad we are staying at Kurokawa So which has a decent car park space.
We took a walk around the onsen village. Shops close at 6pm. There’s not much to see or buy. Most people come here to bathe at the onsen. You can get a bath entry pass to hop around the onsen. We only tried the ones in our Ryokan. Males and females use separate baths and on alternate days they are switched.
At the Ryokan Kurokawa So, there are 3 onsen: two open air and one closed door. We took a walk around the village, returned to have an onsen. Nap and had a kaiseki dinner in the room. This is my first time and I recommend not to try it as the smell of the miso paste is still lingering. After dinner, the same staff put out our futon bedding for our night’s sleep.
One of the courses in our Kaiseki dinner. Houbayaki (朴葉焼), a regional food from Gifu and Naga, fish marinated in miso paste, with green shallots and mushrooms cooked over dried magnolia leaf on a stove.
So far I’ve not seen a plate or bowl repeated twice.