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Driving in Kumamoto Pref N Kurokawa Onsen

asia
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Driving in Kumamoto Pref N Kurokawa Onsen

Would I be able to cover Takachiho Gorge, Kurokawa Onsen and Aso in a day? Thought of doing a combination of car rental for a day and purchasing the Kyshu Rail Pass - to save time. I will set off from Kumamoto.

Or if time constraints, then I'd skip Aso.

I am keen on the Rotenburo. If my friend does not want to go for onsen, are there things that can be done while I am having the onsen? Thought of buying the 1200 yen bath pass.

Edited: 6:54 pm, December 02, 2012
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1. Re: Driving in Kumamoto Pref N Kurokawa Onsen

Hi gemsy

Nice to see you here again. Haven’t heard from you for quite some time and I thought you have given up your Kyushu plan, especially last time you were contemplating on a Nov trip!

Are you saying you want to do a 1-day self-drive from Kumamoto to Takachiho, Aso, Kurokawa and then return to Kumamoto for the night!? The drive from Kumamoto to Takachiho Gorge is about 2 hrs; from Takachiho to Mt. Aso it is about 1 hr 15 min; from Aso to Kurokawa Onsen it is about 1 hr and from Kurokawa to Kumamoto it is about 1 hr 40 min. So roughly there is altogether 6 hrs of driving. If you want to pack all the above in a day, there is very little time for sightseeing and onsen experience, not a very good idea for a relaxing vacation especially if it is your maiden road trip.

When are you planning to go as the time of visit will have some bearings too? During winter time daylight time is shorter; access up Mt. Aso maybe closed; approach down Takachiho Gorge could be difficult as the road is steep, narrow and winding.

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2. Re: Driving in Kumamoto Pref N Kurokawa Onsen

Thanks William! Truly appreciate all your help! Planning to go in Feb. I might just skip Aso if it is too tight or maybe just rent a car for 2 days.

But maybe driving to Kurokawa onsen may not be a good idea since I have never driven a car with chains or in snow conditions. Read about it. Hence, thought of staying overnight in Kurokawa at one of the onsen ryokans. Any suggestion? Prices seem quite steep there, about US$220 per person per night.

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3. Re: Driving in Kumamoto Pref N Kurokawa Onsen

Spreading it into 2 days is indeed a wise decision for a more relaxing trip. The only concern is driving in winter. I’m not sure whether I’d mentioned it to you before but when we drove around Aso and Takachiho area we still encountered snow in March. So Feb is more likely to have snow, and without winter driving experience it is not advisable to embark on a self-drive road trip especially if it is your first time doing it.

We too travel on a budget and after staying in an onsen ryokan in Yufuin we couldn’t afford another stay in Kurokawa so we just went for a daytime dip. A friend who had stayed there recommends the following.

www.yamamizuki.com/english/english.html

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4. Re: Driving in Kumamoto Pref N Kurokawa Onsen

great minds think alike! ..........that was the ryokan that I wanted to book. But might be above my budget. How did you do a day trip? You went from Kumamoto via bus? then to the rotenburo and back?

My Japanese friend told me that there is no snow in Kyushu, so I was keen to drive. but no worries I shall check things out on road conditions before deciding on driving.

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5. Re: Driving in Kumamoto Pref N Kurokawa Onsen

Last time we went to Kyushu we used a rental car. After Yufuin we drove to Kurokawa and continued to bed down in Aso Farmland.

Though not much there is snow during winter time in Kyushu. Snow was recorded this Feb in Mt. Aso.

…jma.go.jp/obd/stats/etrn/view/daily_s1.php…

And as I said before we encountered snow during the month of March during our stay in Aso Farmland and also while driving from there to Mt. Aso and Takachiho Gorge. Scenery was beautiful but not desirable for driving. The following are some of our “snowy” trip photos.

…google.com/WilliamCWP512/Kyushu#54522889441… (Aso Farmland)

…google.com/WilliamCWP512/Kyushu#54522889619… (Aso Farmland)

…google.com/WilliamCWP512/Kyushu#54522891357… (Takachiho Gorge)

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6. Re: Driving in Kumamoto Pref N Kurokawa Onsen

Thanks William for sharing your photos! Nice pics!

Btw, I thought of renting the car for 3-4 days and drive from Kumamoto to Oita.

My general itinerary is as follows:

Kumamoto - Takachiho Gorge - Yufuin ( stay overnight)

Yufuin - Beppu Hell Valleys - Harmonyland - Usuaki (stay overnight)

Usuki Buddhist Stones & Cave - Kumamoto

If Usuki is too far from Kumamoto, then I'd probaly rent the car for an extra day.

Also, if I am intending to head from Kumamoto to Saga etc, woiuld it be feasible for me to buy the 3 days northern Kyushu Pass?

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7. Re: Driving in Kumamoto Pref N Kurokawa Onsen

For a more logical driving loop from Kumamoto consider the following route: Kumamoto – Takachiho Gorge – Usuki Sekibutsu Stone Buddhas – Oita – Beppu – Harmonyland – Yufuin – Kurokawa Onsen – Mt Aso – Kumamoto. Of course you can do it the other way around.

I think I have forwarded to you through PM the following scenic route along the Yamanami Highway between Kumamoto and Beppu.

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e4571.html

To buy the 3-day Kyushu Pass or not really depends on the rest of your itinerary. What other places do you want to go in Saga Prefecture and are you flying out from Fukuoka?

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8. Re: Driving in Kumamoto Pref N Kurokawa Onsen

yes, William...........sorry I was so sleepy last night that I just replaced Mt Aso with Takachiho Gorge. And also partly coz I have already booked a ryokan in Yufuin.

Thinking of........after returning the car, heading down to Amakusa for a quick stop then to Saga, visiting Yoshinogari National Park.....have you been there? Is it worth the trip? How about Huis Ten Bosch....I was thinking only of visiting part of it , not keen on the rides.

Yes, flying out of Fukuoka. I figured, the Shinkansen is already almost 5000 yen for 1 way, I might as well buy it and explore other parts of Kyushu. Won't be back till many more years later. Coz while planning for this trip.....i still prefer Izu. Though I'd say surprisingly..........Kyushu is so much cheaper than Izu.

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9. Re: Driving in Kumamoto Pref N Kurokawa Onsen

Thanks for that link. That's awesome! So much shorter and faster. Any idea whether there are toll charges? And how much is the toll?

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10. Re: Driving in Kumamoto Pref N Kurokawa Onsen

I don’t think the Yamanami Highway is an expressway so there shouldn’t be any toll charge. Unfortunately our driving route didn’t involve driving on it last time. Hopefully one of these days we can go back to Kyushu and enjoy the vista there.

Haven’t been to Amakusa, so couldn’t comment – another good excuse to go back to Kyushu and if we do we will seek YOUR advice then! I like history and archaeological stuff so Yoshinogari Archaeological Site/Historical Park is my cup of tea. But my wife was bored – no shopping nor Hello Kitty for her there. So be warned as I remember you are another shopping-mania, lol. If you want some shopping in Saga region, there is the Tosu Premium Outlet which we read is the largest outlet mall in Kyushu. We didn’t take any ride neither in Huis ten Bosch but we loved the flower scenes. The colourful tulip fields were gorgeous when we were there. The only concern is that if you go in Feb there won’t be any flower. BTW, I thought I had forwarded our Kyushu trip photos to you through PM; didn’t you have a look at them!?

It is indeed wise to do some calculation of the travel cost before going and decide whether a rail pass can work to your advantage. Numbers and figures give me a headache and we love the freedom and flexibility of a self-drive road trip, hence we opted for a rental car. A combination of both can be a perfect match.

Interesting to hear that you still prefer Izu; any particular reason for it!? Your positive feedback makes us itching to plan for it again. But that has to wait – right now we are planning a spring trip next year to Tohoku for cherry blossom.

Cheers

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