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“First ryokan experience, was a great one!”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Kiyashiki

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Kiyashiki
Wisconsin
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“First ryokan experience, was a great one!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 June 2014

My wife and I stayed at Kiyashiki for 2 nights mid-late May 2014. We had a superb experience. Below are some of the bits that were more unique to our stay (since many aspects have been covered by better-written reviewers). Keep in mind that we have no prior ryokan experience to draw from, and I only have 1 other experience with onsen.

We made reservations via email, after calling to get their email address. I flexed my weak Japanese language muscles on the phone. The staff seemed to have some good English skills had I needed them. Once communicating via email, communication was excellent. They asked when my bus was arriving and arranged to pick us up.
As others have said, we had a couple of hours before check-in, and our bags were taking to the ryokan without us, and we were given towels since we planned to visit some onsen in the meantime. The visitor information center at Kurokawa Onsen contacted Kiyashiki for us when we were ready to be picked up.
Check in went very smoothly, the staff was very competent in English (far more than my Japanese!) While checking in, the staff handled our unusual dietary request (no rice, and gluten-free) as well as I could have hoped. We are not super strict with our dietary needs, but we didn't want bowls of rice to be thrown out every meal, and after trying to explain our situation, the staff would occasionally ask about an upcoming meal ingredient to make sure it was okay.

Regarding meals, we had 1 day's meals upgraded (to the Irori/Hearth cooking style), and it only took the quality from fantastic to sublime. Worth the upgrade if you have the funds, but don't feel like you're missing out if you don't. We tended to eat slowly, the staff was very patient. If we were making things difficult for them, they did not let us know at all. The serving staff did their best to explain what the food was to the best of OUR abilities to understand, and we appreciated the effort. Must not be the easiest thing, serving with the language barrier.

The ryokan's main baths are nice, but the standout bath for us was the large mixed bath. The surrounding nature was beautiful. While it may not have had the vistas or views that other places may have, since the ryokan is more isolated it didn't feel as though the scenery was just a facade for the sake of the bathers (unlike I sometimes have felt at other onsen). The mixed bath was a delight on the one day when it rained steadily, transforming it into a steamy beautiful area.
We reserved 2 of the family baths, one of the riverside baths and another one overlooking the trees below. Both were delightful. 45 minutes was far too short (only because it was so enjoyable), but we didn't try booking 2 slots consecutively - didn't want to be greedy! The river bath offers the better view of the two, but not nearly as hot water. That said, the other bath has a fantastic view overlooking the same trees and mountains as the bar, and at night it was quite a view!

While I cannot imagine that the ryokan is ancient, it had a better feel than some of the other locations we bathed at in Kurokawa Onsen, didn't feel like it had a newer annex that had recently been tacked on. The room was comfortable and clean (though being 6' tall, I did notice that the higher tiny ledges in the room weren't dusted nearly as frequently as the rest of the room, but that's completely understandable!).

I love the winding layout of the ryokan, the transitions from indoor check-in, to outdoor covered walkway, to winding garden, to another indoor lodging area, to the outdoor bathing area. It was so unique, and made getting from point A to B a joy, rather than simply navigating corridors.

At the end of our stay, we had about 3 hours from check-out time until our bus arrived. The staff held our luggage and arranged to drop it off at the bus stop 10 minutes before arrival. We were able to walk around Kurokawa Onsen unencumbered.

While it may not be the cheapest ryokan price point in Japan, Kurokawa Onsen is a beautiful town, and Kiyashiki seems to be in-line with the town's offerings. It's lovely, isolated, on the smaller size, and we will definitely be going back.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank GZekko
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Tokyo, Japan
Level Contributor
29 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 January 2013

My first few choices (Yamamizuki, Okunoyu and Hozantei) were full, but I have no regrets staying at Kiyashiki.

Kurokawa Onsen is a town with an amazing hot spring river running through it. There are countless onsen resorts in the town, each boasting different types of design and views. Kiyashiki staff picked us up from the bus stop (which seemed to be the only way to access Kurokawa Onsen) and came prepared with bath towels and plastic bags. We were dropped off in town with the complimentary towels to purchase a day pass and visit all the other hot springs while the pick up staff took our bags back to Kiyashiki. We made arrangement for him to pick us up again in 3 hours.

Location :
Kiyashiki is one of the few ryokans that were perched up on a mountain, away from the town and not quite walkable. The drive up was very pretty as fall was just approaching and the sight of gold and red colored leaves greeted us. I liked that we were staying away from the actual onsen town and the air seemed colder and fresher up above land.

Room:
Room was spacious and clean with a separate reading area next to the window, partitioned off. Meals were taken in the dinning area, which I actually prefer than having them served in rooms. Food was not bad, can't complain about it, except that if I were to nit picking, then 1) have had better ryokan meals 2) usually the Okami explains each dish and lets us know where the ingredients are from. Serving our meal was a young, Korean girl, who spoke good Japanese, had an infectious smile and friendliness, but provided little information about our meal, including how long to cook the meat over the mini grill for.

Onsen:
The public outdoor onsens at Kiyashiki do not have the best views (compared to certain other onsens in Kurokawa, but again, nitpicking, I am a sucker for hot onsens literally next to cold gushing rivers, rapids or waterfalls with a view of mountains or from higher ground) but it does not really matter as we onsen-hopped all day. They were interesting though, the main, mixed gender large bath had overhead running streams into the bath and a blocked view of the river.
There are many smaller baths in two separate areas. One section is for women and the other for men, they switch gender acceptance in the mornings. There was a small standing bath that I enjoyed.
Id say the private baths are worth booking for 1000 yen extra. It was a long, cold, dark, exciting walk down to the private onsen facing a gushing river with a separate private tea room next to it.

My favorite thing about Kiyashiki is perhaps its bar. It is strategically placed to have an amazing view of the mountains. I remember thinking that no expensive bars in cities compares to having a modern bar right smack in the middle of quiet nature facing colorful fall leaves covered mountain, slightly lit at night.
The room areas are separated from the onsen baths, dining area and lobby by a pretty zen garden as well, and made for a nice stroll with the relaxing sound of running hot spring stream along the way.

Although not my first choice, I left the ryokan thinking that it was worth the money (I think it was slightly cheaper than my first few choices) and that given the service, I would return here to stay while checking out the other onsens that I missed.

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Adele W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Taipei
Level Contributor
12 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 November 2012

Took my family on a 6-day tour of Kyushu with the hight-light being the visit to Kurokawa onsen. I originally planned an overnight trip to the onsen town. Because of the long bus ride from Fukuoka, we decided to spend two nights instead. It was the right decision.

After much research on the Internet, I decided on Kiyashiki. One of the weird deciding factor was the absence of English reviews on TripAdvisor. We picked Kurokawa because of our desire to visit where locals go. The same applied to our decision process when picking our ryokan. Without knowing any Japanese, our trip to and from Kurokawa went without a glitch...all thanks to the help of Sato-San from Kiyashiki.

We spent the first night at the main building which is their entry level room. The next night, we decided to upgrade to one of their stand-alone rooms with private onsen. At different price-point, both are worthy in their own right. The breakfasts and dinners were inclusive in their price. We opted for a fancier and more expensive dinner the second night. It was delicious...especially the horse sashimi. My wife and daughter squirmed at the fact. I ate all their portions. I truly unique experience.

One of the disappointments is the onsen. There is absolutely nothing wrong. There are better ones Kurokawa. We took the liberty of visiting various baths in town. After comparing them all, my favorite had to be the one in Yamamizuki. However, the private family bath at Kiyashika names, Umibijin (spelling?), was fantastic. You take a long trek down the property's valley. This private open bath is right next to the river...a view to remember. However, you have to pay an additional 1,000 yen to enjoy this facility.

I find all the ryokan's we visited in Kurokawa to be comparable in quality and service. Roaming amongst various baths and shops in our yukata transform us back in time. I am sure to be back for another visit.

  • Stayed November 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Diggaddidog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Kiyashiki

Property: Kiyashiki
Address: 6403-1 Manganji, Aso-gun, Minamioguni-machi 869-2402 , Kumamoto Prefecture
Region: Japan > Kyushu-Okinawa > Kumamoto Prefecture > Aso-gun > Minamioguni-machi > Kurokawa Onsen
Hotel Style:
#17 Top resorts Hotel in Minamioguni-machi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:3 star — Kiyashiki 3*
Number of rooms: 20
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Kiyashiki Japan/Kumamoto Prefecture - Aso-Gun

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