Third and final day in Kumamoto : a day divided between a kawaii morning and afternoon in a more traditional atmosphere.
|Kurokawa Onsen's shrine|
I hesitated until the last moment on the place to go. I thought about going to Kikuchi Gorges, but they are closed in the winter, or in Yamaga city but I wanted to go later for its lanterns festival. By dint of thinking I felt asleep and woke up the next day without knowing where I wanted to go. I really wanted to go again to Mount Aso but the weather was not great : fog, clouds and rain for the whole day. A place with indoors activities was required. Eventually I opted for ... Aso Farm Land! yes I managed to go finally !
The morning took place quietly. I went into the small zoo / farm, walked along the Dream Zone, a small enclosure with full of all cute themed houses like strawberry, watermelon, tree or Kumamon (unfortunatly, I wasn't able to get closer since people can't enter without a reservation). Then I bught some souvenirs before try a senbei (せんべい, rice cakes) making experience and eat a hot bowl of ramen.
The zoo / farm was very nice: we could feed the animals and they seemed well-treated. The senbei making experience was fun but like everything in his place, a little expensive (1200 yens) for what it was. We can also make cookies and a traditional Japanese sweet called hagi (おはぎ) and these two workshops seemed more worthy. When I will come again I definitely want to try the different leisure and sports activities.
|My giants senbei|
|I collect regional Hello Kitty socks|
The way to Kurokawa was rather pleasant, passing through places where I had never gone before. Icing on the cake: the bus went through the top of Mount Aso, where it was heavily snowing. I couldn't see very far but it was funny to see places where I was the day before covered with snow. A few kilometers later and I arrived at Kurokawa Onsen.
Because of the rainy weather, I didn't want to have to undress or having to dry my hair. It's a shame to be in a place like this and not take a dip but my (very) chilly part of me took over (and as it's much more fun to spend a night...). So I settled for a walk around the village. Wooden buildings, river, the small shops, the smoke pouring out of the chimney and baths, all contributed to make this place magical. The only unfortunate thing was that vehicles are actually allowed in the village. Shuttles hotels and personal cars driving at high speed in the small streets were unpleasant. Shame to have such a framework and not make it a fully pedestrian area ...
|Finally arrived at Kurokawa Onsen|
Finally, let me make an assessment of this time bus trip. I loved traveling by bus. It is economical, fast and comfortable. The buses have huge and fluffy seats, you would feel immediately at home even though I found it was cold enough to wake up anyway. We see many landscapes and discover new places that are not necessarily written in the guidebooks (I saw a beautiful sanctuary in the Minami Oguni village for example), each trip was almost like a visit itself.
Calculating the different buses fares, the SunQ Pass was profitable for juste around one hundred yens. I think it is more for people who want to move prefecture to prefecture rather than for people doing a trip that focuses on one area where fares are not very expensive.
I would buy again this pass for my future long trips. If everything goes well, the next will be in March.
ACCess and useful informations
Aso Farm Land (阿蘇ファームランド)
Access from Kumamoto by bus:
Download the timetable of this two lines