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“Just excellent!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Ryokan Sanga

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Ryokan Sanga
Certificate of Excellence
Bern, Switzerland
Level Contributor
35 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Just excellent!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 16, 2013

While travelling in Japan, we wanted to spend some time in a real ryokan to get this experience. Sanga Ryokan was recommended in our guidebook, therefore we gave it a try. Right from the very beginning, just WOW! What a beautiful lounge area with views directly into the forest. Warm and welcoming staff and just a great room with our own onsen.

We tried several baths in the ryokan and we totally felt in love with the one up in the forest, the views from this private bath down to the river is just breathtaking. Furthermore, the shared bath is also a real stunner!

The best at the end: The kaiseki served in the evening was one of the best dishes we had all around the world. If you're a gourmet, don't miss this!! As I'm a vegetarian, i asked for this what was no problem at all. The sake they recommended to the dishes was amazing.

All in all, a great experience!!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank KorianderundZimt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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269 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    192
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    11
    6
    1
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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 (34)
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
Singapore
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 7, 2013 via mobile

Sanga Ryokan perhaps is one of the few ryokans that has a website in English. My friend and I drove to this ryokan in November last year. It was very deep inside the Onsen village. Since we went by car, it wasn't a huge problem for us. Upon arriving, we were warmly greeted and our luggages were brought to our rooms while we settled the check-in. The staff is fluent in English. We were then led to our rooms, a standard Japanese Tatami room. The service attendant made us a pot of green tea and prepared some mochi, then we were asked what time we would like to have our dinner.
It didn't me long to like this place. The outdoor baths were clean, the Onsen was therapeutic to the body and soul. We could also book provide baths, limited to an hour each booking. Since it was Autumn, the red foliage provided a dramatic backdrop to the whole Onsen experience.
But what was even amazing was the dinner that was waiting for us. An authentic Japanese dining experience I would say. My friend and I were certainly impressed with the presentation of the food, and felt the accommodation costs which included the room, baths and two meals were really worth it.

  • Stayed November 2012
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank wayne-alice
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shanghai, China
Level Contributor
141 reviews
141 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 5, 2013

I cannot ask more for an onson ryokan in Japan. Ryokan Sanga exceeds all of our expectations and we have a great time there.

We stayed in room Honoki. The room is with living room, bed room, a seperate making-up room, coffee&tea area, washroom and our private onson. The room is large and we like the table with warm system in the winter. The private onson in the room is 24 hours available and we can enjoy it anytime. Other Onsons in the ryokan is also nice and you can enjoy the public onson or reserve a private onson from the reception. But the other Onsons are not 24 hours available (which is common in Japan) and you can follow to the time schedule on the ryokan's instruction book.

The dinner and breakfast in the ryokan is very nice. We can enjoy the local specialities. The lady who serves the dinner also introduce the food in English to us, nice feeling. You can also buy local drinks, cosmetics and other specialities from the Ryokan.

Since the Ryokan Sanga is a little bit far away from the Kurokawa town center (more than 1KM). The Ryokan provide free car transportation between Ryokan and the Kurokawa tourist information center. Contact the Ryokan beforehand to inform them your arrival time and they'll pick you or your luggage up from the bus station.

The Ryokan staff speaks English and we can communicate without problem. They're hospitality, considerate and helpful.

Cannot except more from a ryokan. Love this place.

Room Tip: Select a room with private Onson and you'll not regret for the money you paid.
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Luca_Luo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, UK
Level Contributor
16 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 2, 2013

We just return from staying 2 nights at Ryokan Sanga and really enjoyed our experience there!

As other mentioned, Kurokawa is a bit off the beaten path. We took the train from Kumamoto to Aso station via one of the special/retro trains, was a lovely ride! Our connection didn't make the Odan bus, so we took the local bus instead which took a bit longer but was interesting to see the rural area. (tip: you have to get a ticket when you board either of these buses, and you can see how much you have to pay on the screen at the front of the bus according to the stop number on your ticket) We informed the ryokan via email which bus we would take, and the shuttle bus was there to pick us up! Like others have said, the shuttle bus also takes the guests into the village and bus stops, very useful and efficient.

The ryokan is away from the main village bit of Kurokawa Onsen, and we only went into the main part once (tried the onsen at one of in town) as we felt like we had enough to do at Sanga since we had an onsen en-suite, plus we also booked one of the private family outdoor baths. There were a few other baths there, but since we didn't want to go to the single gender ones and had our own en-suite, we didn't feel the need to try out more. I did try the foot bath one!

The property is lovely and very well maintained, had a lot of nice features inside the garden/public area. Most front desk staff seemed to speak a bit of English, but we managed to communicate anyhow. Service was nice and efficient. Our room was good size, with a small sink counter/entrance way, wash room, toilet and onsen/shower attached. We were there to relax, so the en-suite hot stone onsen served us really well. I think it's normal that you only get the heating in the main room (which kept us warm), but it's fine if you are going to jump into hot water soon anyhow! There is a fridge, kettle/ hot water warmer and tea in the room too. Every day we got some freshly made Japanese sweets, which was a nice gesture.

We asked about getting vegetarian food before booking, and also we were slightly unsure when we sat down for our first dinner, it was all sorted out, and no problem at all! The restaurant staff spoke a little bit of English, but then again we got on fine. We both love Japanese food, so had no problem with the offerings for dinner and breakfast, really enjoyed the generous amount of food that were given to us - really good for setting us off for sightseeing in the day, especially when it's more difficult to find vegetarian food in more remote places! The food for both days were different, so we got to try a range of things in our 4 meals theres (2 dinners, 2 breakfasts). Food was definitely one of the highlights here!

We managed to squeeze in seeing Mt Aso while we were there. The front desk staff helped us with which bus to take there and which bus to return on, and the ryokan shuttle was ready to pick us up. It would take a few hours with the travelling, but we enjoyed just taking it easy and looking at the rural scenery (including seeing the Aso cows) so it's not a problem. If you want to be less rushed or constrained by the bus schedule, you probably need a car. We had enough time to go to one of the onsens in town before dinner still, so it's still not really rushing around for us. But if you want to spend more time trying the other onsens/baths, then maybe you would need more time there and do Mt Aso separately.

We didn't really see any Western tourists when we were in the area, though there were Japanese and some Chinese and Korean tourists. We left Kurokawa via going through Yufuin and had a few hours there. Yufuin is also a popular onsen spot, which is much bigger and had a lot more shops and restaurants (supposedly more popular with women/office ladies). I think we made the right choice to go to kurokawa because we wanted a more relaxing and unique experience. Ryokan Sanga definitely made it happen! :)

Room Tip: We emailed a few times before booking, and we got prompt replies, very helpful! We had an onsen insi...
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Wantmetochange
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 15, 2013

Sanga Ryokan is a bit of a way from the village, but they sent a driver to collect us from the bus stop as I had sent them an e mail to let them know our bus timetable. The ryokan was lovely. It was a hidden paradise in Kurukowa Onsen. You are met with hospitality like most ryokans in Japan,hot tea upon arrival, and wonderfully pressed and arrange yukatas (cotton kimono robes) already in your room. The kaiseki dinner was wonderful and fantastic service. We really enjoyed dinner here.

Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank pandy2026
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 1, 2013

I'm truly disappointed to have to give this an average rating. My husband and I had very high hopes for this ryokan off the back of a magical stay at yoyokaku ryokan in karatsu.
The ryokan itself is a couple of km from the centre of town. If you do know exactly which bus you are coming in on and you advise the ryokan, their lovely staff will pick you up in their shuttle van. It seems to do trips back and forth all day which is a very helpful service.
There are quite a number of onsen. We booked out and tried the cypress, stone and open air bath during our two night stay, the latter being our favourite. In fact it was really nice to be able to reserve these baths to bath together and the round timber open air bath overlooking the waterfall was really rustic an majestic.
So the food... it was a struggle for us. It was all immaculately presented but there was just too much and a lot of it was quite challenging to the western palette. Enough has been said about the horse sashimi which really wouldn't have been that bad if it had been thinly sliced. we ate it in a curry in a local cafe and it was delicious. We dreaded each meal after the first dinner, especially the breakfast. As other reviewers have stated it is uncompromisingly Japanese. I would have loved a piece of toast or bowl of cereal on the second morning or even a simpler dinner on the second night but there are simply no options. The table next to us seemed to be enjoying it by the sound of their slurping, lip smacking an groaning though :)
Also the toddler staying in the room next to us (very thin walls) and seated a few tables up from us seemed to be having a ball. Unfortunately they were not serving dinner in rooms at this time, contrary to our japanese guest house booking and other reviews here. We were sorry to miss out on that unique and luxurious experience.
I think the other big reason we felt this wasn't worth the ¥66,000 for 2 nights was the lack of attention to detail and service that we have come to love and expect in Japan. For example:
- No soap and hand towel in the toilet, just water from the sink on top of the toilet. There is a separate sink in the little annex room.
- No amenities in the onsens other than shampoo, conditioner, body wash. There were no tissues, ear buds, hair brushes etc. Looking under the sink for a tissue I actually found a pile of dirty sinky cleaning rags).
- On arrival no one greeted us. There were 3 or 4 ground staff or cleaning staff in the lobby however we waited at the reception counter for a few minutes before anyone came over.
- We added an extra mattress to our beds which was not replaced the next night.
All in all a pretty disappointing experience.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Milli W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
36 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 14, 2013

Like others have said, there's really little else that needs to be said. It's a truly amazing place. We had high expectations on our honeymoon for our very first ryokan stay, and it surpassed all of our expectations.

And I would like to add that staying here is not expensive at all, as a kaiseki meal would cost US$200 a person in most parts of the world (if one can find one).

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank rkkwan
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:
Ranked #2 of 51 Hotels / Ryokan 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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