Kurokawa Onsen is on many peoples ‘must visit in Japan’ lists… part of its great charm is its isolation, so the big question for many is how to get there. Well the good news is that getting to Kurokawa Onsen village is possible and it can even be visited in a day trip from Kumamoto. Read on to find out some more.

By car

Kurokawa Onsen is situated in the north of Kumamoto Prefecture in the Minami Oguni area around 30 minutes drive from the Aso caldera. The easiest and quickest way to reach Kurokawa is by car. From Kumamoto City take Route 57 towards Aso then follow the Milk Road around the edge of the caldera until you come to Route 212, follow this road to Oguni where you turn right on to Route 442. Continue on this road several kilometers, once you have gone through a tunnel you are almost there.

Kurokawa Onsen EntranceWhen you see this sign opposite the gasoline stand, you have made it to Kurokawa. Just turn off the main road and follow the road down to the left into the village. If you are visiting for the day the good news is that there is plenty of parking and it’s all free! The main car park is where you will find the visitor center and bicycle and yukata rental service.

If you can’t rent a car and want to make the best of your time consider taking a private tour to Kurokawa Onsen.

Travel time: Around 2 hours

By bus:

From Kumamoto

Take the Kyushu Odan Bus from Kumamoto City directly to Kurokawa. There are 3 buses a day.

Kumamoto Station dep. 08:04   –   arrive Kurokawa Onsen 10:44

Kumamoto Station dep. 09:04   –   arrive Kurokawa Onsen 12:28

Kumamoto Station dep. 12:15   –   arrive Kurokawa Onsen 15:39

To find the departure times for other places in Kumamoto check this link.

Return trip:

Kurokawa Onsen dep 10:35  – arrive Kumamoto Station 13:28

Kurokawa Onsen dep 15:20  – arrive Kumamoto Station 18:40

Kurokawa Onsen dep 16:25  – arrive Kumamoto Station 19:18

To find the arrival times for other places in Kumamoto check this link.

Travel time: Around 3 hours

Fare: 2060 Yen one way

Please note the bus needs booking in advance, it can be booked up to 19:00 the night before. Call the Sanko Bus Center on 096 325 0100 for bookings. If you need help with your booking please contact Explore Kumamoto.

From Yufuin

If you are travelling the opposite way you can get from Yufuin to Kurokawa Onsen on the bus for 2370 Yen one way. There are 2 services a day:

Yufuin dep. 09:00 –  arrive Kurokawa 10:35

Yufuin dep. 14:50 – arrive Kurokawa 16:25

There is only one service from Beppu, it leaves at 08:09 every day and arrives at Kurokawa at 10:35.

By train:

Unfortunately, you can only get part of the way to Kurokawa by train. From Kumamoto take the local train to Aso Station. To find train times  click this link. The travel time will be between 70 to 90 mins. The fare is 1,100 Yen one way.

From Aso Station you can either take a taxi approx. 8000 Yen and a 30 to 40 minute journey. Or get the Kyushu Odan bus at either 09:56, 11:40 or 14:51 which will take around 50 minutes. One way costs 990 Yen. Please note the bus needs advance booking, it can be booked up to 19:00 the previous day. For bookings call the Sanko Bus Center 096 325 0100. There are local Sanko buses that you can take but the route involves changing buses in either Minami Oguni or Oguni town and will take considerably longer.

Total travel time: Approx: 3 to 4 hours depending on transit times.