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“A Memorable Time”
Review of Ryokan Sanga

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Ryokan Sanga
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 15, 2012

There is little that I can add to the previous glowing reports. We stayed two nights and since it was over a week end in November there were lots of day trippers in town to see the fall foliage and visit onsens. We had an entire day to try out the rotemburos at three different ryokans as allowed with the nyuto tegata or onsen passport (1200 yen). Dressed in the yukata robes and sandals supplied by Sanga we wandered about town and from ryokan to ryokan. We were the only people garbed in yukata so we gathered lots of attention. We recommend that you put Yamamizugi Ryokan on your list of visits with the onsen pass - the rotemburo there is amazing. Of course so is the rotemburo at Sanga.

Q

Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
2  Thank fishnguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 28, 2012

The Sanga Ryokan was going to be our only true traditional Japanese experience out of our three-week journey.
I've done a lot of research (through the Ryokan Collection web site) and ryokans are extremely expensive. And even though, Sanga is far from being inexpensive, it is actually half the price of some other luxurious ryokans. (not necessarly in Kurokawa)

We had a car, so access to the ryokan wasn't a problem. The service was amazing even if the staff didn't speak a lot of English.
The location was beautiful and peacefull. The room was exactly what we had imagined with a traditional tatami room (turned into a bedroom with a futon at night), a little kitchen area and a bathroom separated by a toilet, a large area with sink and our own private semi-outdoor onsen bath with shower.
There was no bathtub or "indoor" shower area, so it gets a bit cold if you want to take a traditional shower.

I have previously stayed in a Japanese room so there are a few things to be aware of when you stay in one. First of all, a Japanese room may not be as comfortable as you may think if you are not used to it. After arriving, we quickly realized that there was no couch or bed to relax on. Just a couple of very low chairs and a tatami which is very traditional.
The mattress may also be a bit thin for people who are not used to it.
In other words, if you have achy joints, a bad back (fortunately the onsen baths will make you feel better) or don't have a very flexible body, you will be longing for a more traditional room.
This last paragraph wasn't meant to criticize the Sanga Ryokan but meant to give my opinion about Japanese rooms in general.

Diner and breakfast are also a part of the room package as well. The food was beaufully presented and there was endless courses. Each course looked like a piece of Art.
The service was superb.
However, that kind of "haute cuisine" is not for eveybody. There is obviously a lot of fish, pickles, raw horse meat "sushi", steamed vegetables and frankly, a lot of things that we just didn't know what they were.

Overall, the experience was amazing, even though I probably sound like I was complaining a lot.
We wanted a traditional experience and we got what we wanted, but I would say that one Ryokan for two nights was probably enough for us.
My dream of journeying through Japan in different luxurious ryokans has passed. I love a bed too much and I also prefer a good "Western" breakfast.
(Note that I love Japanese food but not too crazy for that kind).

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank bcgraph
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 23, 2012

We went there for a family trip and stayed in Sanga for one night. After that night, all other ryokans in our trip became boring and were difficult to surpass the quality, breath-taking and calming surroundings, of Sanga. We told the ryokan in advance that there would be two kids with us but the menu for kids were as luxurious and rich as for adults. The steak I had there is the best one I had so far.
Sanga in Chinese means "mountain and river". It actually located is in a mountain and there is a fast-running river beside it. There are 6 spring pools and private tubs but we only enjoyed 4 of them. We book the outdoor spring tub room for our family and had a wonderful time there, You could see the river right beside it and the landscape was so green and beautiful. Just staying in the spring tub and listening to the river running sound were the most relax experience I had in this trip.
Sanga is not a new ryokan but it is definitely not a problem. It is very clean, the room is big and comfortable. The feast was served in the room and there was a waitress stayed outside the room to reply any request you had. The privacy was out of question and you could actually enjoy a feast without being interruped or harassment.
The only problem I think is the transportation. You have to drive to access these small spring towns and those are always the ones to give you the biggest surprises. Comparing to Yobuin, Kurokawa is less commercialized town. The benefit is costing less but getting the best. Be sure to go to Jurokawa when you go to Kyushu and don't forget to stay in Sanga to enjoy the traditional Japanese Ryokan culture and excellent services.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank Regene
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 28, 2012

for english speakers, ask for mayu, she was able to quote us discounted rates as there is construction ongoing in the property- although we did not notice a thing during our sunday evening stay until our monday morning departure.

we booked a room overlooking a fast-running, roaring stream complete with indoor bath. the sulfur waters had a therapeutic effect on skin, smoothing out rough spots. service was always friendly, discreet and efficient. although there were several cars in the parking lot, we hardly noticed any other guests during our stay until we sat at the common breakfast dining area in the morning.

i had the chance in the early morning to use the shared outdoor bath. with no one else around, it was absolutely serene with a slight mist over the water and birds flying in the distance. a poetic experience not soon forgotten.

Room Tip: for the shy, rooms with private baths are a must although the public baths were all empty in the ear...
  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank tripsjourneys
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 16, 2012

We stayed here one night as our splurge for our holiday. We love hot springs and so decided to stay the night at Ryokan Sanga rather than in Aso (we went to see the caldera) before going onto Beppu to see the hells (don't bother, they were rubbish and Beppu is a hole). We drove over. The roads were very winding and thin. We were able to find the Ryokan Sanga because all the signs to the Ryokan had small english letters above the large kanji. However, it was still rather difficult. There was ample parking as the bottom of the steep drive way. You park and then walk down to the Ryokan entrance. The staff are very welcoming and speak great English. There was also a free lottery for stuff (I got a peach fizzy, the others got a gift pack of kurokawa bath salts and plastic geta).because we booked online through the english website.

I got the single room which was lovely and very swish. I had a separate basin and toilet etc with very nice freebies. There wasn't a shower with the room but given there was a shower and hot spring less than 50 meters from the room, I made the trip in my pajamas with my yukata over the top (lol).
The room was technically smoking but I had requested that they ?ozone vacuum? clean my room as I am rather sensitive to smoke. It was pristinely clean and smelt fresh and lovely. The very comfortable and warm futon, pillow and other bedding were kept in a cupboard. The main room was a large room with a table, tv, chair etc. There was also a side room with a wardrobe and a tea and coffee etc area including a little fridge.

The others got a shared room with their own bath. I used it before we rushed off to dinner and it was LOVELY! Definitely worth the extra money. This larger room had a separate sleeping room and sitting room.

This is pretty much the perfect onsen ryokan...except for the food. I am a rather fussy eater and I don't like japanese food for the most part. I hated my dinner and breakfast. I had requested a vegetarian meal but the things they'd done made the exquisitely carved carrot taste foul. I refused to look in one bowl at breakfast as my mum said it contained a raw egg and I couldn't face it that early in the morning. There is no option for self cater and the nearest takeaway food are the few snack sellers in the resort or Aso or Yufuin.

The service was wonderful. The baths heavenly (although I had to check the english map several times to check I wasn't trying to use the mens bath). We tried all of the private baths (Rokusyaku-oke, Hinoki and Kiriishi). They were very nice. The out door covered one is right next to the river and has a stunning view. I'd love to go again. I also tried the women's indoor bath 1st thing in the morning and it was sooooo hot. I think it'd just been cleaned and refilled and the cold water hadn't mixed in.

I fully recommend a visit but maybe secret edible food in your luggage or car.
Getting there was a bit hard. We took a train to Aso from Kumamoto (bit scary, no english signs, unexpected change of trains and then the 2nd train has to reverse and change lines at one point making you think you're on the wrong train). Driving from Aso was hard because we couldn't figure out how to enter the telephone number into the GPS and there were road works.

Nevertheless, I loved my stay and would love to go back.
If you're a couple, stay in the honeymooners Natsutsubaki with it's own private bath and separate from the other buildings.

Room Tip: The best you can afford but they are all 5 star.
  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank spiceg01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 9, 2012

I agree with all of the good reviews written before mine.

Travelbug 60982 hits the nail on the head with the statement that this may very well be their best ryokan experience in Japan. It certainly ranks up among the top 3 for us. This was my 7th trip to Japan and we have always rented cars and toured all over the countryside for 4-6 weeks at a time while staying in a very wide range of accommodation along the way.

This is a truly traditional style onsen (spa) ryokan (inn) and is really perfect in every respect.
Their location is off the beaten track, a little outside the village's small collection of ryokans and hotels, and is only a 5-8 min drive by car or shuttle bus. They provide a shuttle bus for those without their own vehicle wishing to experience Kurokawa's other baths. So their location brings no disadvantages, only quiet benefits with it.

Sanga Ryokan offers a wide range of bath options (2 men's, 2 women's, 1 mixed-bath as well as a number of private baths which can be booked ahead at the front desk at no extra charge) We were so thrilled with their selection, we never had a chance to try any of the other property's baths. Whether it is the baths, the forest location with the stream running through the center, the beautiful traditional collection of houses with their serene rooms, the outstanding Japanese food and excellent friendly personalized service, this really was a fairy-tale like fantasy come true. Everything one hopes for from an idealized by-gone era of Japanese traditions and architectural style/design combined with modern conveniences is wrapped into one in this inn.

Dinner is served in one's own room, while breakfast is enjoyed in one of the two common dining rooms. English is spoken very well by one lady, the daughter of the owner and perhaps the establishment's manager.

In summary, I can only recommend this inn to the highest degree. Anyone seeking a truly unique Japanese ryokan experience at its best will not be disappointed.

Room Tip: If you have the time and means to get there as well as can afford a stay, there are no bad choices o...
  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Albatross199
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 4, 2012

Ryokan Sanga was a top choice for us because they have an excellent website in English that you can book a room through. In fact, it was just about the only site in English we could book through that didn't go through a third party. At the ryokan they do have one girl who is very proficient in English. After talking to the friendly shuttle driver I found out she came to the USA for two years to learn English.

We stayed in a room with a private onsen. The room itself was a good size and right along the river so the constant rushing water sounds were very soothing. We of course used our private onsen and got a chace to use the private outdoor onsen that we reserved through the front desk. When we first got there we made a reservation for the onsen at a specific time at night. The next morning we just asked if any of the private onsen's were available and we got one.

We also took a short dip in the outdoor mixed bath for a little bit. We had it all to ourselves since we went during the first dinner service (we opted for the later dinner service time).

Dinner was quite elaborate. Just seeing the presentation and attention to detail that was put into it was a feast for the eyes. Since the menu is all in japanese we weren't exactly sure what we were eating half the time. Some were hits and some were misses. The horse sashimi for me was something I never thought I would eat, but when in Rome...It was ok, but something I never have to eat again.

Overall, Ryokan Sanga was a great stay and I would recommend it to anyone going to Kurokawa. It's nice to spend the day time in town and get lunch and then go back to Ryokan Sanga and have a relaxing night.

Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
2  Thank niseiinhawaii
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ryokan Sanga

Address: 6961-1 Manganji, Minamioguni-machi, Aso-gun 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
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Minamioguni-machi
Price Range: $289 - $550 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Ryokan Sanga 4*
Number of rooms: 16
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Also Known As:
Ryokan Sanga Hotel Minamioguni-Machi
Ryokan Sanga Japan/Kumamoto Prefecture - Minamioguni-Machi

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