One of the most popular hot-spring resorts in Japan, KUROKAWA ONSEN (黒川温泉) is made up of twenty-odd ryokan, which lie higgledy-piggledy at the bottom of a steep-sided, tree-filled valley scoured into the Senomoto Kōgen plateau (瀬の本高原), some 6km west of the Yamanami Highway. The village is completely devoted to hot-spring bathing and most of its buildings are at least traditional in design, if not genuinely old, while yukata-clad figures wandering the lanes add to its slightly quaint atmosphere. The village is particularly famous for its rotemburo: there are 24 different locations in total, offering rocky pools of all shapes and sizes. Out of the main tourist season, when the crowds have gone, it’s well worth making the effort to get here, and Kurokawa makes an excellent overnight stop, if you don’t mind paying a little extra for accommodation.

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