✈️九州 16/9 WEDNESDAY DAY 3
08:00 Checked out of our hotel 酒店出發。 熊本→黑川
08:15 離開Richmond Hotel. Nearly boarded the B bus, luckily the driver stopped us and told us he doesn’t pass by JR station.
辛島町 → 熊本站前 (熊本市電Ａ系統, 5 個停靠站) 步行約 5 分
08:45 熊本站 → Aso 阿蘇站 (JR Shinkansen)
09:23 Announcement was made thanking everyone for taking JR line, that we have arrived at Higoozu station 肥後大津駅. A lot of people got off at this stop but apparently it makes a 1 minute stop then carries on.
09:37 Another announcement was made to change trains to Aso line. That’s unnecessary as the train goes backwards a little, and heads off again.
08:43~10:08 熊本 → 阿蘇(JR豐肥本線 Hōhi-honsen,17 stops, approx 85minutes, platform 0A,0B 號月台)
For those interested, there is also the Limited express Aso Boy, which is heavily decorated by the train mascot Kuro and travels between Kumamoto and Miyaji. It has 4 cars and each has a different style/theme, all with Kuro as the main attraction, and the 3rd car is a family oriented children’s playroom. Take note that it only has 4 trains back and forth, and usually only runs on Saturday and Sunday. For schedule and further info please check their website: https://www.jrkyushu.co.jp/english/train/asoboy.jsp
10:09 We arrive at Aso station 阿蘇駅. At Aso station you’ll find Stationmaster Kuro’s office where you’re welcomed to Aso and to take pictures with this cute little pup!
Mount Aso 阿蘇山 is the largest active volcano in Japan and its most recent eruption, 09:43AM 14/9/2015, yes, hours before our flight to Kyushu! So yes the crater was also closed and we couldn’t go anywhere near it.
Japan Meterological Agency: http://www.jma.go.jp/en/funkasokuho/index.html
10:23 Sanko Bus station 産交バスのりば🚏
10:32 There appears to be a lot of onsen and ryokans nearby Mt. Aso.
Right outside the station lying on a piece of grassy land is a cow. Probably something love-related, as there’s 3 Cupid’s arrow pointing at it. More likely, it’s Aso Akaushi あその赤牛, one of four types of wagyu beef 和牛, that is richly marbled in fat and very flavorful.
10:41 After purchasing our bus tickets, we still had quite some time left, so we decided to take a look at 「ASO田園空間博物館総合案内所」which is opposite Aso station.
☎️TEL 0967-35-5077 / FAX 0967-35-5085
There’s free wifi access here. There’s also baggage storage services 存放手提行李 for ¥540, but upon coming in from the slight drizzle, our travel mates just abandoned their luggages at the left of the door, wanna know why? See what they’re doing?
Yep, there’s stamps here as well. 😄
On the left is a rest area / restaurant. On the right is a garden area that has a canvas overhang, but because the drizzling was picking up, we didn’t go outside.
The main area carries a lot of bento boxes, ready made food and drinks, Kumamoto souvenirs and Kumamon products.
11:50 Aso station 阿蘇駅 → Kurokawa Onsen黑川溫泉 (Sanko Bus 産交バス)
11:40-12:28 九洲橫斷巴士 (3號) ¥990
12:33 Arrived at Kurokawa station.
12:37 Kurokawa 黑川 → Ryokan Wakaba 若葉日式旅館 (酒店巴士 hotel shuttle). The shuttle came early to pick us up. The driver had parked around the corner, but was waiting at the bus stop, came up almost immediately to identify us and help unload the luggage. He whisked our luggages away, stopping only to help us take photos. The drive in was very short, even walking would have only taken 5~10minutes.
12:41 Ryokan Wakaba 若葉日式旅館。Upon entering, slippers were laid out just for us to change into. After checking in, we were seated around this fireplace, which would be so great during winter (obviously it wasn’t lit right now), and served tea and wet napkins. A lady gave us a welcome in English, and an orientation to the ryokan including where the baths were, how to book the private bath, where to go for dinner (between 19:00-20:00) and breakfast (between 07:00-08:00), we chose the later times (apparently we couldn’t have it in our room). Then we were led up to our room. Upon entering, we had to take off our slippers before walking onto the tatami. In the middle of the room was a large table and 4 L-shaped chairs. There’s another small coffee table and two chairs overlooking out the window on the left. The toilet and wash basin is also on the left. There’s no bath or shower in the room.
There’s also a cabinet at the back of the room which has yukata 浴衣👘, light sleeveless jacket, and a small bag with a small towel to bring to the bath. Unlike traditional kimonos, yukata has a sizing chart, pick one that falls to just about your ankles. And remember “leftover rice, left over right!!”
Upon the quick scan of the room, we had turned back to the doorway, the host had not only slipped out the door, but our slippers were rearranged so neatly for when we leave the room!! Their service is ghostly quick!!!
13:20 We head out for a stroll around Kurokawa and for lunch.
13:33 田の原川 丸鈴橋
わろく this Japanese cafe across the bridge by the river is famous for its croquettes, curry and yam flavoured. Inside is a table where u can dine with kumamon.
13:50 Ate Patisserie Roku cream puffs, they put cream inside the puff fresh on order, I guess this ensures the puff remains crunchy. We enjoyed the one puff between the four is us, on a bench right outside the shop. We found it a bit sweet and had cream leftover even though it was shared by four because we wanted to leave space for a big lunch, but it’s definitely worth a try and tastes good!!
14:09 とうふ吉祥 豆腐料理，在後藤酒店旁 (10:00-17:00) ¥4,590
15:18 Walked around Kurokawa Onsen 黑川溫泉 in the rain. Huddled under shared umbrellas, the experience was much more special.
17:00 Heading for our first onsen today before dinner. 這應該是我第一次正式泡日式溫泉。穿上浴袍，帶著附帶的小包包，我們四個一起到樓下的溫泉。先進去脫光光，然後進去一個洗澡區域，把外面的髒兮兮洗乾淨後，只能拿著一條小小小的毛巾進去溫泉。輕輕踏進去，水溫溫和不難接受。坐在這個舒適的溫泉裡，外面雖然吹起冷風，但一點也不冷。跟朋友一起泡還可以邊聊天，真的很自在很舒服啊。
18:30 Dinner at Ryokan Wakaba. 晚餐很健康也很豐盛。有燻鮭魚沙拉，天婦羅、最後碳烤和牛雖然只有三塊，不過很營養豐富的一餐。聽說還有馬刺身的，不過我是沒有看到啦😤
20:30 Back to our room. 床舖已經在我們吃飯期間全部補好了。房間原本的東西都收起來，行李箱和桌子都被推到旁邊去，但是房間依然很寬大。我們的就這樣邊看日本電視邊在床上滾來滾去聊天說笑。感覺真好！
Ryokan Wakaba 旅館わかば
📮869-2402 Minamioguni Manganji 6431
869-2402 熊本県阿蘇郡南小国町 黑川溫泉 6431
💰¥47,520 (¥32,000 + ¥2,560 tax + ¥12,960 包4人晚餐)
Check in: 15:00-18:00
Check out: 11:00