Something for My Time

I just found out that I won't have any more classes for the rest of my time in Japan. I am still struggling with this concept, but yes, it appears that I am done (mostly).

So, per my previous post about vacation time, I am thinking about things to do with my July (and now, the end of my June, too). I don't have a lot of money but I would like to do something interesting with my time. So this is what I am going to do: I am going to throw out one of those "out of the way" places that everyone should get a chance to see while they are in Kyushu (but don't always get a chance to get to). I would appreciate it if some other people could take the time to do the same. What I am really looking for are suggestions for places to get away to that one might not really think to travel to or know is worth taking the time to see. Directions and costs associated with the trips would also be helpful. Depending on responces I will try and go to the places throughout the month and I will try to report back through some weekend posts on the blog. But, please, lets try and keep costs cheap and locations close enough that they can be enjoyed as a day trip.

Here's mine:

Kurokawa Onsen in Kumamoto-ken
Regardless of whether you are an onsen master, or have never been to an onsen before, every foreigner that visits Japan should be required to go to Kurokawa. It is a small mountain town that is quite famous for its many onsens. And, by many onsens, I mean literally dozens of onsens from private ryokans, to family onsens for couples, to traditional single sex onsens. The water is spectacular, taking advantage of its close proximity to the volcanic Aso region, to get highly rich minerals and trace metals in the water. You will come out of the baths only wanting more.

Ideally, you should stay at a ryokan, although a day trip is a definate possibility. From Saga you can take the nagasaki expressway and be there in an hour and a half. A ryokan will cost you from 12,000 yen per person for a night. But, just taking a bath is anywhere from 600 yen up depending on where you go. Plan on going to a couple of different baths (you can get an onsen map from the police boxes) and enjoy.

For those of you inclined, you can also work up a sweat by going for a hike in the area. Also, the roads during the week tend not to be too crowded, so a (tough) day of biking is also not out of the question.

But if you go for the day, share expenses with a couple friends for the car ride down, go for a hike, then a couple onsens with food and beers, you can have a nice day for 5000 yen or so. Of course, if you stay at a Japanese style inn it will be more, but these usually include dinner and breakfast. Hope you enjoy!