[Kyushu 100] Kumamoto Hot Springs Inn/Hotel Top 25

“Kyushu 100” is the project to introduce the fascinations of 100 spots representing Kyushu chosen by traveler’s review. In order to let you know more fascination of Kyushu beyond 100 spots, we introduce the spots for “Eat” ,”Play” and “Stay” of 7 prefectures in ranking order.

Kurokawa Onsen is a nationally renowned hot spring town with spa hotels lined up along a river valley. Visitors hop from bath to bath while enjoying a pleasant walk around the quiet and relaxing town. Not too far from there, the base of the active volcano Mt. Aso is also dotted with hot spring areas. Among them is Uchinomaki Onsen, which features a wide variety of baths. Allow us to introduce our ranking of hot spring hotels in a region full of great ones, Kumamoto Prefecture.

Takefue (Minami Oguni Town)

A hot spring hotel with 23 different baths. No water is artificially added or heated, this is 100% spring-drawn hot water. Each bath has its own unique atmosphere, “Chikurin no Yu” is surrounded by bamboo trees and autumn foliage, the gentle sound of a small waterfall echoes at “Oku no Yu”, “Doukutsu Rotenburo” (outdoor cave bath) feels like a secret-hideout, just to name a few.

Photo by toshi23

Photo by Isaac_Lee_HK

Takefue is truly a class above any other ryokan or hotel – everything from location, food, service to facilities was top-notch. It’s a couple hours from Hakata by bus, but don’t let that deter you, because Kurokawa Onsen is a beautiful and peaceful town with numerous nature walks and charming shops to explore. Our family took two rooms, both of which were spacious, comfortable and extremely well-furnished. Breakfast and dinner, both of which were delectable and formidable spreads, were served to us in the room. Each room has an onsen of its own, but the ryokan allows guests to reserve one of their few shared baths, so you can have a relaxing yet private soak in a beautiful outdoor onsen. It’s lovely, especially in winter when snow is falling.Review from clairesU1339KE
The No. 1 Ryokan in Kyushu . I have been to here three times . Every time is like enjoying in the paradise ! It has different feels , tastes and zen in different seasons . If you haven’t been to any ryokan ( with private hot spring baths) before , please don’t stay in Takefue first or Takefue will make all other feel like under par !
Only 11 villas ( every villa has a private indoor hot spring and some even have private foot bath and outdoor hot spring ) in 33 acres of land situated on the slope and surrounded by bamboos ! The tranquility , tastes , zen and feels are all different in different times of the year . Once you are there , you just don’t want to leave ! Review from StephenSC26416

Okyakuya (Minami Oguni Town)

This historic inn opened approximately 300 years ago, at the end of the Edo Period. It has five baths, including outdoor, semi-outdoor, and indoor baths, and the outdoor baths are open even to visitors who do not stay at the hotel. Enjoy a dip in this hot spring while also soaking in up the classic Japanese-style ambience.

Photo by おおもりみかん

Photo by ryobi11t

I believe lots of travelers have recommended this hotel for its hotspring, cuisine and hospitality. I would like to let those who are interested know that: Even it’s a hotel with 300 years history, they hire young staff and the staffs in this hotel speak English. They will introduce every cuisine in English and of course the operation hour/noteworthy details about hot spring. Women and men will switch public hot spring every day. Review from jesuistina

Fujiya (Minami Oguni Town)

Located in the center of Kurokawa Onsen, “Fujiya” is an onsen hotel that also feels like a traditional ryokan. The wood interior is warm and welcoming, and there are plenty of interesting options for bathing including expansive communal baths, standing baths, mist sauna, and bedrock baths. The two family baths are both outfitted with rock baths.

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Photo by nicegroove

Unfortunately I only stayed one night at this paradise Ryokan.The service was perfect and the half board was just a dream, with delicious traditional Japanese meal.The room, also traditional, was just perfect for one person, with all the comfort that you need: TV, air-con, amenities, free tea, fridge.The onsen in the Ryokan is just amazing, and you can also have a private one. For the one outdoor, you have to walk 5 minutes to another ryokan, but also there beautiful.Plus the hotel is right at the center of the city, so just perfect.And for you to go to dinner or onsen, you get a free Yukata, and feel like a real Japanese.In one word: highly recommended Ryokan. Review from Keprive
Fujiya is the best inn that I have ever stay in Japan. They offer single room reservation which is not popular in kurokawa onsen. Price is not cheap but it is wellworth it. The dinner is absolutely luxury and full of Japanese culture. it is more like artwork than food. Service is jsut 5 stars with no complain! Rooms is well decorated in Japanese style. the onsen is located in their sister hotel which is 10 mins walking distance away. Fujiya is a truely gem and I will never forget my stay here. Review from bari_ttc

#4 Oyado Noshiyu (Minami Oguni Town)

The sister hotel to #3’s “Fujiya”, Oyado Noshiyu features a lineup of various types of rooms, such as an annex room with its own hot spring, a room with a semi-outdoor bath, and more. Day trip visitors are welcome to enter the “Notenburo”, an open-air bath with a splendid design that takes advantage of the hotel’s natural geography.

Photo by tomomy

This small hotel is an experience of a lifetime. Nestled among trees in a small village, it is what you may picture in your mind of an earlier time in Japan. The property is small but has many nooks, sitting areas, & picture opportunities. Our room was large with a balcony & we had our own hot springs tub with widows that opened wide so you felt like you were outdoors. They have public but also “family” hot springs so you can enjoy soaking in privacy. Dinner was in a semi private rooms with many courses, all delicious.Review from Doreen O

#5 Ryokan Sanga (Minami Oguni Town)

Taking advantage of its natural surroundings, this ryokan is built on a plot land nearly 10,000 square meters in area with seven baths scattered throughout, each one gear towards a different preference. The hotel is host to two different springs, a pure sulfur one called “Yakushi no Yu”, and a sodium bicarbonate sulfate spring “Bihada no Yu”. Some of the baths are also open for visitors who are just stopping by.

Photo by AB7005

My family had a wonderful time at this ryokan. It is within walking distance to the shrines. The staff spoke very little English but were extremely nice and accommodating. The dinners were amazing; the meal we had on the first night had 8 or 9 courses (we lost count). One of our family members is a vegetarian, and the vegetarian meal was also excellent. Please be warned that if you are a vegetarian they need at least a days’ advance notice to prepare special food. Review from TGH56003

#6 Yamashinobu (Minami Oguni Town)

The local cuisine like basashi, red cattle beef, and river fish served here has a simple yet exquisite savor. What’s more, the water of the seven bathing areas is of the highest quality, and is full of the skin-beautifying compound metasilicic acid.

Photo by CoCo1124

We chose to end our trip with a splurge, staying in a traditional Ryokan. They knew we were Canadians and doubled our futons without being asked when they made up the beds. The staff spoke VERY little English, but with our VERY little Japanese and pointing, we made ourselves understood.The dinner and breakfast were both excellent, although it would have been nice sometimes to know what we were eating (they do serve horse meat – optional – which was my first time to try it). There were a lot of dishes and they came at a nice pace.If you stay, one of the private onsens has natural rocks and open to the sky, surrounded by bamboo. Make sure you look for and use it as it was the nicest (not that any were bad). Review from Mark B

#7 Hozantei (Minami Oguni Town)

“Hozantei” is located far east on the Kurokawa River, making it the most up-stream hot spring in Kurokawa Onsen. The appearance and scenery of the hotel bursts at the seams with charming, rustic beauty. Each of the 11 guest rooms are in their own separate building. The river runs right next to the mixed-gender bath “Tengu no Yu”, as well as the women-only bath “Sennyo no Yu”.

Photo by Adachikus

Everything was exceptional here. Nice rooms, each with private outdoor onsen overlooking the creek. One could tell the lady owner put all her heart into the place: lots of wonderful touches all around, impeccable service and wonderful folks, wonderful design, preparation and presentation of our meals, and a special selection of sakes and beers. She came around every meal to make sure things were done perfectly and all guests were very happy. Congratulations to her!! Review from JPDallas

#8 Dormy Inn Kumamoto (Kumamoto City)

This hotel is conveniently located just a two minute walk from Karashimacho Station, which is just three stops away from Kumamoto Castle on the Kumamoto City Tram Line. Despite being a business hotel, guests can soak in a natural onsen drawn from a spring right below the hotel. There is also a sauna for you to rest your body after a long day of business or sightseeing.

Photo by 夏みかん缶

Best 3 star hotel I’ve stayed in. Free ramen (9.30pm to 11pm), free beer (7.30-9pm), free transfer to JR station, free coffee and tea (all day), nice, well-maintained onsen which is free for guests – what else can one ask for. We didn’t have breakfast at the hotel because of timing issues – really wanted to – but for JPY1,200, it was a steal especially with the spread available – we had a peek.It’s near the city tram station – about 200 metres, not far from the JR Station and also near the Kumamoto Castle. It’s not right smack in the centre of Kumamoto but not very far off the centre – 5min walk. The rooms are however small (about 17 sq metres) but they are very clean. Had to ask for an extra pillow which they very kindly gave as the one they provided didn’t result in a good night sleep the first night. Review from Shrek-loves-Fiona

#9 Yamamizuki (Minami Oguni Town)

This hot spring hotel is tucked away in the overgrown woods upstream on the Kurokawa River, right by its rushing waters. There are separate outdoor and indoor baths for men and women. Enjoy all the delights of these free-flowing natural hot springs, from the sound of the river heard from the outdoor bath to the sight of the great outdoors seen from the large windows of the indoor baths.

Photo by 温泉渡世人17

This hotel has 2 hot springs, and these were clean and beautiful hot spring. Especially we loved hot spring out side. Aside from 2 hot spring, we can go to hot spring in Myojinkan and Miyama-sanso for free. We bath 5 hot spring in this stay. As for food, the food was quite delightful. Nothing to compare. Wi-Fi is available at the lobby only. I felt it’s inconvenient first, but I change my mind and it’s good for us after all. We can forget about email and twitter during the stay. Review from Ellie_in_Tokyo

#10 Happouen (Tamana City)

Active for over 1300 years, this Tamana hot spring’s water is crystal clear and has the nice slipperiness of a pure radium spring. This is a premium onsen which features an outdoor bath facing a garden that is beautiful in any season, as well as the “Tatami no Yu” which has tatami mats on the floor of both its shower rooms and bathtubs.

Photo by ユッチー

We have visited here repeatedly more than 5 times. The best cost performance in terms of everything. The dinner is delicious and filling one using carefully selected ingredients. You can also enjoy local sake. The guest room is a bit old, but renovated open-air bath is very clean and spacious. While bathing, you can watch beautiful foliage in autumn, and fresh green in early summer. The staff is taking care of us warmly. Review from yukiyuki888

#11 Sotaroan (Minami Oguni Town)

A tiny, hidden inn with just four guest rooms. The dinner here consists of basashi, stone-grilled Japanese beef, and river fish. The final course of zarusoba is a “Sotaroan” tradition. Each of the five reservation-only baths shines with its own personality, from outdoor to rock to hinoki cypress.

Photo by BeeChan2016

The appearance of this inn was something like an old house, but the Japanese-style guest room was clean and good atmosphere surrounded by comfortable garden which makes you relax. There are several types of the private baths and you can enjoy a course meal dinner featuring local specialties. Review from mono

#12 Yamabiko Ryokan (Minami Oguni Town)

This sodium bicarbonate sulfite in the water of this spring feels extraordinarily soft and supple on your skin. Another special feature is that guests can come stay with their pets. There is a special building with dog cages called “wanpakutei”, and even a hot spring for dogs!

Photo by fycj

Impeccable service and hotel staff are very friendly.Japanese style room with breath taking view.Staff are able to speak simple English.EXQUISTE food are beautiful presented in all their meals.They will assign a same staff to serve the meals every day.The one who served us were extremely friendly though she speaks little English. She is always very cheerful. Ryokan come with indoor and outdoor onsen.There are rooms for relaxation and table tennis game.
A place you should not miss.Review from Soh A

#13 Shinwaen (Aso City)

A hot spring hotel on Uchinomaki Onsen at the base of Mt. Aso. The atmospheric outdoor bath is accessible from the main building by taking a tiny path through the woods. Take a relaxing dip in this sodium-sulfate spring. On the way out to the bath, there’s even a rest area with a sunken hearth.

Photo by nieunsfs

Perfect place to relax.Its feels very homy and comfortable.The wifi is available which can be useful. The breakfast its a must try as well, all the food is produced by the owner’s family. If you want to relax and feel Japan in many different ways (Food, ambience, facilities) this is a must try. Review from Manuelsommelier

#14 Oyado Nonohana (Minami Oguni Town)

Hidden away in a saw tooth oak forest not far from the hot spring hub of Kurokawa Onsen, is this Japanese-meets-modern-style hotel. The white water of the outdoor bath “Kinnezu no Yu” twinkling in the sunlight, as well as the smooth rocks of the comfortable tubs of the indoor bath “Hiwada no Yu” complete a locale where guests can fully enjoy the wonderful free-flowing natural springs here.

Photo by JoshWen

We had a room on the second floor of the main building with a private bath – which was awesome! The room was very traditional, yet extremely spacious, with the tatami mats. The futon was set up in another room, so no need to put it out yourself. Lovely garden view from the window. Down some rustic stone steps was out beautiful bath room – a huge private area with a vanity room with mirrors leading into a fully stone-lined wet room and massive, steaming stone bath. A window next to it so you can look out to the garden.The dinner was particularly delicious – about 8-10 courses of the most beautifully prepared kaseiki morsels, with some pretty reasonably priced wine too.Review from emmajane20152015

#15 Seifuso (Minami Asomura)

Seifuso is almost synonymous with the Jigoku Onsen of Minami Aso. In the “Suzume no Yu”, feel the spring bubbling right beneath your feet, and soak in the freshly flowing water which has no water or heat added. You can smell the sweet fragrance of the onsen of old, at this quiet and composed hot spring.

Photo by matsu1016

One of my best onsen experience in Japan. The famous mixed bath is superb! Slightly cloudy, onsen water is gushing out of the bottom of ground and it has womens’ only time in the evening if you are shy.
The bath house is old but well taken care of cleanliness. The access can be challenging but worth trying even you are not particularly planning to go to Kumamoto/Aso area.The Japanese restaurant was another highlight of the stay. You get ingredients to be grilled on your own table. The waitresses are kind and helpful showing what to do.I will definitely would go here when my foreign friends visit Japan! Review from H3DMSM

#16 Ogasawara (Aso City)

A luxurious inn where every room has its own, 100% pure and free-flowing onsen. Guests are welcome to stay with their pets, and there is even a dog run. In addition, the dinner menu here focuses on basashi and mountain vegetables, for a feast which pairs perfectly with some wine or local sake.

Photo by レック

Those who want to travel with a dog should come here. Every room is separated from each other and we could enjoy the pleasant time with our dog. The comfortable hot spring of bathroom is coming from Mr. Aso. Dinner and Breakfast featuring the local vegetables and meats are so tasty.Review from rosco

#17 Yumerindo Hanadomari (Minami Oguni Town)

“Yumerindo Hanadomari” sits atop a plateau looking down on Kurokawa Onsen Town. Featuring not only the mixed-gender bath “Rindo no Yu”, but also separate men and women’s baths both outdoors and in, guests can go onsen-hopping from the comfort of their own hotel. The sulfite spring water feels great on your skin and is even safe to drink.

Photo by まみ し

This was one of the most memorable stays we ever had. Amazing location, I think it was brand new when we stayed there, spacious room, Japanese style, great wooden hot-spring bathtub, friendly young owners, they will come to pick you up at the bus stop; impeccable Japanese courtesy and service.Ideal for anyone wanting to experience true Japanese hospitality and hotsprings.It is very renowned in Japan and probably one of the best locations in Kyushu for those who enjoy “Onsen”. Review from DanielDP

#18 Tarutama Onsen Yamaguchi Ryokan (Minami Asomura)

The mixed-gender outdoor bath here, “Taki no Yu”, is located in the waterfall basin of the majestic, 60 meter fall “Kinryu no Taki”. Few hot springs let you feel the spray and hear the sound of a waterfall while bathing like this one does. Other features include the enchanting, semi-outdoor bath with a thatched roof known as “Kajika no Yu”, and “Ama no Yu”, which looks out on mountain scenery that is beautiful in any season.

Photo by ゴルゴ130

Driving there was a bit exhaustive, but the remote location gave us space and silence and retreat. Hospitality was perfect, the bathing pools were relaxing. The waterfall was unique and phenomenal. The building was so old and likely to collapse, but we love it. Review from Enzo C

#19 Ayu no Sato (Hitoyoshi City)

A Japanese-style hotel built on the shore of the Kumagawa River, one of Japan’s three largest rivers. The place is famous for the stunning views from its outdoor baths. “Yamanami no Yuya” (the “mountain belt bathhouse”), offers an unbroken view of the mountain ranges Southern Kyushu, while “Kura no Yudono” displays the Hitoyoshi Castle Ruins and the Kumagawa River.

Photo by miyama1643

Our room had a balcony with a foot spa and a beautiful view of the Kuma river and the Hitoyoshi Castle ruins. There are 2 hot spring bath areas to choose from and each one has a different theme with indoor and outdoor baths of different sizes and temperatures. The breakfast buffet was wonderful with western and Japanese choices and we also had dinner at the French restaurant in the hotel, which was fantastic!! Everything was just perfect. The staff were amazing, very helpful and polite. Even though many of them did not speak English very well there was almost always someone available to translate, and when she was not available, the staff improvised by searching words online and doing everything they could to help. There are also many good restaurants and the shochu factory is just around the corner. If I ever get a chance to visit Japan again I would make sure to book a few nights at Ayu no Sato.Review from Isabella H

#20 Kono-yu (Minami Oguni Town )

All nine rooms at Kono-yu are “separate buildings with outdoor baths”, so you can enjoy a long, relaxing soak and not worry about being disturbed by other visitors. Each room has its own unique type of bath, including a stone-hewn bath, a cave bath, and a standing bath. The jade color comes from the alkalescence of the spring water.

Photo by trnmnwndrgrls

I stayed at Ayu no Sato Hotel in Hitoyoshi, with my parents and sister (and would also recommend the hotel for young couples), for 4 nights and that was not nearly long enough!! Our room had a balcony with a foot spa and a beautiful view of the Kuma river and the Hitoyoshi Castle ruins.The breakfast buffet was wonderful with western and japanese choices and we also had dinner at the french restaurant in the hotel, which was fantastic!! Everything was just perfect! Review from Isabella H

#21 Nanjoen (Minami Oguni Town)

Standing in the center of Kurokawa Onsen Town, “Kurokawa Onsen Nanjoen” is a cozy little ryokan with 11 rooms. A wide variety of wonderful baths are available, including a foot bath surrounding a sunken hearth, and the outdoor and semi-outdoor baths “Hoshi no Yu” and “Tsuki no Yu”, which alternate between being for men and women’s use on a daily basis.

Photo by じーさん熊本

This is of a few dozen traditional inns at the Kurokawa hotspring resort. Very friendly staff and excellent food. We bought an onsen-hopping pass and tried several of the nearby hot springs before checking in at the hotel in the evening. The room is a small but the efficient use of space the floor turns from dining room to sleeping place while you go take a bath in their own hot springs. They offer two gender separated baths and three private baths to which you gain access by picking up they key at the front desk. Review from Ilmo A

#22 Iyashinosato (Minami Asomura)

The vantage point looking down at the grandeur of Aso is the allure of this hotel, with its rooms attached to outdoor baths and large communal bath. The water here is a greenish light-brown due to the sodium and magnesium sulfites that filter through its copiously flowing water. The water in the family baths is drained and replaced before each new guest enters, so you’re guaranteed to enjoy a fresh, top quality bath.

Photo by おじシーサー

When I was there, walking from the tourist info office is almost impossible. You need to have your own transportation or have them pick you up. The staff were really polite. The room was clean and the food was good, although I didn’t know much about traditional Japanese cuisine.The onsen might be a bit far from your room but that would be because the whole place is quite large. The view from lounge was nice and it should look even nicer if trees and mountains around were greener.Price was quite expensive. But for me, it was worth it. Review from tozenter

#23 Ryokan Konomama (Minami Asomura)

An open and calm space in which a Japanese interior is interwoven with modern touches. Each guest room at this luxury inn has its own, free-flowing hot spring. The water is drawn from a spring located 600 m below the ryokan, and is slightly viscous to the touch.

Photo by sze man w

They have it at: the location, the view, the rooms… And it’s a great success. The welcome is warm and sincere, and you can feel a true sense of excellence in service and care. The food is exceptional and plentiful, while,common areas are extremely pleasant and well arranged. The sense of details is pushed that far that painting on walls are changed every nights. Personally, I loved the place and would recommend it to anyone visiting Aso, the price is fully justified. Review from Marc-PhilippeG

#24 Sozankyo (Aso City)

Sozankyo charms its guests with its elegant facilities, and rooms including not only charming old-fashioned Japanese ones, but also designer rooms with their own outdoor baths, special rooms with indoor baths, and so on. The source of the spring water is right next to the large communal bath, so water flowing from it goes straight into the tubs.

Photo by Vicky A

We were in a roomy traditional tatami room with a view of the small, pretty garden, with very attentive hospitality. We were served an excellent kaiseki ryori meal in the room, different dishes on each day, with standout Tai fish and miso aubergine.There were public and also two small private onsen baths that were bookable. It is located in a small village, a short bus ride from Aso train station, also a bus ride from Aso-san volcano, so a little out of the way, but not bad.Great value, not the most elegant surroundings in the public areas in the Hotel/Ryokan, but for the price and the food a really excellent stay. Review from Paul C

#25 Kurokawaso (Minami Oguni )

A hot spring hotel located just before Kurokawa Onsen on the way up the mountain, in a tranquil spot right near the flowing mountain river. The accommodations are separated into the pure Japanese-style main building and the distinctive, thatched-roof “Nukumori no Yado” annex. The annex is like an old-fashioned single-family house with a tatami room and a sunken hearth, so that guests here can be briefly transported back to a simpler past.

Photo by 温泉入道

Beautiful resort with spacious tatami room. The premise is immaculately clean and the courteous staff with excellent service level from shuttle pick-up, through meal serving shows how much the Kurokawa So team take pride in their hospitality. I love the large outdoor onsen that is set amidst the boulders, facing a vertical cliff, relaxing in nature is truly an excellent experience for the body and the soul! Dinner was an elaborate, 2-hour course. The food was beautifully decorated with great attention to details. Chef Akira must be so proud of his creation in the kitchen. Every dish was so oishi that our stomach was filled to the brim. Review from WoodyXY

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Ranking method:”Kumamoto Hot Springs Inn/Hotel Top 25″ was aggregated by the unique algorithm based on the review evaluations in Japanese posted during July 2015 – June 2016 in terms of Hot Springs Inns/Hotels in Kumamoto.

*The information about the facilities that are closed as of August 2016, is also included. For details such as re-opening time, please contact each facility.