Did I mention that Kyushu is basically a wafer-thin chunk of land separating humans from boiling water? We tested the limits of our rentacar the day after Beppu, taking it through tiny mountain roads that are only the width of a single car (if someone comes the other way, either car has to reverse until you find a spot wide enough to pass); across rolling hills of rice paddies and tiny farming villages; to the top of a volcano; and finally through the forest to the onsen-lover's paradise that is Kurokawa. Here's what it would look like on a map.
And here's some of the scenery on the way to Mt Aso, an active volcano. Apparently it was closed for a while when it erupted, killing a few tourists and destroying the cable car. Good times!
The crater itself was pretty impressive... I don't think I've seen anything like it before - at least not that I can remember. I'm no geologist, but the colours and formations on the inner walls of the crater were amazing, as of course was the steaming pit itself.
In the afternoon we showed up in Kurokawa Onsen to stay at the awesome Shinmeikan. We figured that we could excuse a little accommodation luxury for one day of the trip. It was worth it. Neverending meals of fish, pork, chicken, beef, horse, vegetables, rice, dessert, beer... and some excellent onsens. If you like onsens, Kurokawa is the daddy of them all. Wait 'til you see the one we went to before leaving the next day!
Kurokawa is a town full of onsens like this one.
Nick is a boy full of meat and vegetables like these ones.
Rotenburo at the Shinmeikan.
From this bath, you could look onto the main street of town.
Unfortunately, everyone walking on the main street of town could look onto you too!
The Shinmeikan Inn.
A nightcap bath. HOTTEST ONSEN EVER!
I thought I would pass out and melt.