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“Unique experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Ryokan Sanga

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Ryokan Sanga
Certificate of Excellence
Shanghai, China
Level Contributor
24 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Unique experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 30, 2012 via mobile

Of all the kurokawa spas, Sanga Ryokan seems to have the best setting... isolated from the rest around 10min drive from town. Huge rooms, impeccable service and the most memorable dining experience I had in Japan.
Just the dinner experience was worth the stay.
I think only one of the ladies that comprise the staff speaks English. But that didnt hinder communicating effectively with the wonderful ladies that serve as hosts.

Stayed April 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank ColoColo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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273 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (35)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Spanish first
  • Thai first
  • Any
English first
Burlingame, California
Level Contributor
41 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 10, 2012

Kurokawa Onsen is a town dedicated to rotemburo (outside Japanese baths in a natural setting - stone baths surrounded by natural foliage or next to a small creek). The baths are heated by the natural volcanic hotsprings. We arrived at Kurokawa in the early afternoon and after checking in at our inn, the Sanga Ryokan which is rated #1 by Trip Advisor, they stored our luggage while we went "onsen-hopping". At Sanga, we purchased a token to visit 3 different onsen ryokan hotsprings (the hotspring/onsen are part of the inn), but if you're only staying one night, you will probably only be able to handle 2 hotsprings in addition to the one at your inn (so simply purchase single bath at the particular inn you want to visit) . The receptionist at Sanga will give you an English map which describes each of the different ryokans/inns and the features of their bath. We also asked for a towel from Sanga for use at the other baths. (Details below.) Then it was back to Sanga Ryokan to check in and try out Sanga's rotemburo. Sanga has a beautiful small outdoor natural bath set in stone and surrounded by trees. We then had a wonderful dinner feast - over 20 small courses - fish and beef (and even the speciality of the Kumamoto area - horse meat - which was served "raw" as in steak tartare. Although, I felt a little uncomfortable eating horse meat, I decided that when traveling you have to absorb the local native culture. It tasted like beef. I finished the evening with a private bath which you can reserve for you and your spouse/SO/family. Sanga is rated #1 by Trip Advisor because it is a wonderful place and more reasonably priced than some of the other inns - and when you consider that the dinner feast that they feed you would probably cost $100-$150 per person alone, it really is a deal and experience not to be missed.
If you are shy about bathing naked in front of strangers, most of the baths are empty in the morning. So, you could time your arrival so that you stay overnight, first, and visit the other rotemburo baths in the morning when you will probably have the entire bath to yourself from 9am to 11am).
Details on some of the other baths my family visited: Yamamizuki (which has one large outdoor bath - which was for "men") and a smaller one for women. Yamamizuki's charm is that it is next to the river. It has a charming/rustic front garden area. The "men" likeed Yamamizuki's large riverside bath the best. But, the best rotemburo for me was the one at Yamabiko which had a large outside bath for women with several large stones to sunbath on. (I'm not sure if the inns alternate which bath is for women vs men.)
Final note, Kurokawa Onsen is probably best visited by rental car. ). From Kumamoto we rented a car (through ToCoo discount car rental - excellent price and service) to travel to Kurokawa Onsen. Be sure to get GPS and have the rental car company teach you how to program the GPS - otherwise you'll be totally lost because the "street maps" in Japan are very difficult to figure out ! (We rented a car from Nissan through ToCoo - a Nissan Special Bargain rental for a van.) Sanga (and all the inns) are difficult to find (GPS only got us to the center of town, not to Sanga) so be sure to stop by the Information Center - can't miss because they have large Parking Areas next to them and get a map. Once you familiarize yourself with a map, navigation is not difficult, however.

Room Tip: The sleep quality is average because as an American, accustomed to feather beds and down comforters...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank Chris N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Darwin
Level Contributor
27 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 15, 2012

Wow, this has to be described as one of my best hotel experiences ever. My hubby & I booked 2 nights at Sanga based on other trip advisor reviews. We booked using Japanese Guesthouse website, but the Jalan English website had more photo's. We wanted to see traditional Japan. The best way to get to Kurokawa Onsen is to drive. It was our first time to drive in Japan and was a lot easier than we expected using google maps. Because no trains go to Kurokawa it has kept it's charm beautifully.
We were met in the driveway and they greeted us by name and walked us to the door of the ryokan where they unloaded our luggage and took our car keys for the duration of our stay. The weather was miserable and raining (middle of winter, we were hoping for snow), but the whole experience was so wonderful that we hardly noticed the bad weather. Despite not speaking Japanese check in was a breeze and we were shown around the property and escorted to our room where tea was prepared for us. We had only booked a standard room but it was lovely and classical Japanese with fresh flowers and a view over the river (a great sound to fall asleep to). I had brought plenty of warm clothes but the room was warm enough that we were fine wearing the hotel supplied yukata (dressing gown), jacket & socks. We decided to brave the indoor onsen first which was lovely & relaxing before returning to our room where we were fed an absolute feast involving too many courses to count, before the table was cleared and our futons laid out for us. Had a wonderful nights sleep followed by breakfast in the restaurant then we braved the outdoor onsen (freezing to strip off but the water is beautiful and hot, by the time you get out you wont notice the cold). We then got dressed and were driven (free of charge) to the town of Kurokawa where we visited 3 other onsens (following the advice of a Sanga staff member who spoke excellent English). They were all lovely but I am glad we stayed where we did as being out of town they had more beautiful gardens and outdoor onsen rather than just open air. We had a lovely wander through the town, there is some shopping and a wonderful pastry shop. The helpful staff at the visitor information center then caled Sanga who came to pick us up. Dinner on the 2nd night was even better than the first (if that is possible). We had a few more soaks, an in room massage the slept in and missed breakfast (but complimentary coffee is offered in the foyer after breakfast). When we left they had dried our shoes & umbrellas, brought the car up to the door without being asked and it seemed like all the staff came to wave us off.

Room Tip: There are no bad rooms in this Ryokan, but if you are worried about bathing in public (same sex only...
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Nood75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
113 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 23, 2012

Family experience in onset for first time, excellent venue, nice kaiseki dinner and v friendly service staff

  • Stayed January 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Bwkuah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
60 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 20, 2011

The onsen is a fair distance from the bus stop n town centre. We called the hotel on arrival n a driver arrived promptly to pick us. As it was too early to check in we dropped off at the info centre in town n bought passes to visit other onsens. The info centre staff insisted on calling Sanga n the same driver again promptly delivered towels to u; what fantastic service! We had a room overlooking the river. The outdoor family bath also has a beautiful view of the cascading river flow. The next day the staff recommended a walk to a scenic lookout point. The route passes through farms, forest n rivers. A lovely 3hr leisurely hike before relaxing in the onsen again!

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
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Helpful?
1 Thank TanSS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Honolulu, Hawaii
Level Contributor
73 reviews
48 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 21, 2011

My family of 3 stayed at Sanga Ryokan for 2 nights in Sep 2011. This is by far the best ryokan my family has experienced in all our travel to Japan, which include ryokans in Hakone, Takayama, Matsumoto, Nyuto Onsen, Naruko, Yufuin, Beppu, and Takachiho.

Our attendent was Takenaka (Akiko)n san, an elderly lady. She personally saw to our every needs. On the second night, the proprietress offered to upgrade our room at no additional charge. This was a bonus we did not expect. The upgraded room has separate sitting area, sleepig area, bathroom, lanai, and to top it off, a priviate onsen overlooking the Kurokawa river.

The ryokan is situated about 15 minutes walk from the Kurokawa village, where all the other ryokans are located. To my family, this is a benefit rather than a disadvantage. The ryokan offers a shuttle service (less than 5 minutes) to the village on demand. This makes it convenient to visit the village. Being away from the village offers it own charm, given the small campus setting of Sanga Ryokan. At night, the soft lighting of the Japanese latterns make walking around Sanga Ryokan's many different baths and small buildings a magical and surreal experience.

The staff offers exceptional service from our arrival to our departure. What little Japanese my family knows, or how little English the staff knows, made very little difference in how the staff treated us. Mayu san at the ryokan also has an excellent command of English and she helped us with our day trip to Hita and Onta, made bus reservation for us from Beppu to Fukuoka, and provided some guidance to Mt. Aso upon our departure.

The meals for both nights were mutli course affairs with the second dinner more elaborate than the first dinner given the upgraded room. The dishes were light, well-balanced, eye candies, and delicious.

Room Tip: If you don't mind spending a little extra, would definitely recommend getting a room with a priv...
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Travelbug96825
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NSW Australia
Level Contributor
13 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 21, 2011

My daughter and I arrived in Japan (Osaka) the day after the disaster. We were not sure what to expect but it was business as usual from Osaka south and east. Our travel was not impacted by the quake/tsunami at all. Japanese people are very concerned about how tourism will be affected, so please don't cancel your trip; go and enjoy all that Japan has to offer. Japan is hospitable and beautiful and I can't wait to return.

Sanga Ryokan is surrounded by bubbling streams and forest. Onsen are everywhere, large outdoor natural hot pools, smaller onsen for feet and our room had a private onsen as well. All was heavenly! If you are a couple looking for a secluded, relaxing, romantic stay, Sanga Ryokan would be just perfect.

We booked through Japanese Guesthouses which provided excellent booking services for this and other ryokan accommodation in Japan.

We had a female 'butler' who looked after our every desire. She was friendly, attentive and helpful and ensured that our stay was wonderful.

The kansei meal was terrific and huge! Breakfast was also massive and very tasty.

Sanga Ryokan is a bit of a way from the village (which I liked) but they sent a driver to collect us from the bus stop as soon as I rang. You can be driven to other onsen and to the village as you desire. We wished we had had more time to explore all the cute looking shops in the village.....ah well, there's always next time!

The room was wonderful and offered many accessories such as yakata robes, toiletries, etc. Try the sweet potato sake, yummm!

If you go, do stay more than one night. We only stayed for one night and it was not enough! I really did not want to leave. Sanga Ryokan is in the most perfect setting; it is heaven in a forest.

Room Tip: book a room with a private onsen
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  • Stayed March 2011
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank ozjo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ryokan Sanga

Property: Ryokan Sanga
Address: 6961-1 Manganji, Aso-gun, Minamioguni-machi 869-2402, Kumamoto Prefecture
Location: Japan > Kyushu-Okinawa > Kumamoto Prefecture > Aso-gun > Minamioguni-machi > Kurokawa Onsen
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in Minamioguni-machi
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Minamioguni-machi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Ryokan Sanga 4*
Number of rooms: 16
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Ryokan Sanga Hotel Minamioguni-Machi
Ryokan Sanga Japan/Kumamoto Prefecture - Minamioguni-Machi

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