Local Train Station: Unazuki From Tokyo: Take the Jyoetsu-Shinkansen to Uotsu station. At Uotsu. Transfer to the local Toyama train and get off Unazuki station. Then, catch the tiny Kurobe Kyouku Tetsudo line and get off Kuronagi station. Travel Time: Tokyo to Uotsu, 3 hrs. Uotsu to Unazuki station, 30 minutes. Unazuki to Kuronagi station, 25 minutes. Total travel time approx. 4 hrs.
Price: Y9,000 (including breakfast and dinner); Y4,000 without meals. Days Closed: none, however wintertime snowfall will sometimes temporarily close down the small train that provides access to the ryokan Day Visit Option: Y500 (8:00am - 9:00pm)
Onsen Specifics: One large outdoor bath (mixed-bathing) and two indoor baths. Water Good For: Womens' health problems, stomach ailments, joint pain, nervous disorders. Water Composition: Alkaline
Of all the ryokan in the area, Kuronagi is the oldest, so part of its charm is that the buildings are all quite simple in style -- and all conform to a traditional architectural style.
The ryokan is located high in the Japan Alps making it a spectular site to visit but sometimes difficult to get to during the winter months.
Two fun factoids: the inn has only a single television (that receives only one channel), and no radios, meaning the only sounds you are likely to hear come from the the nearby river; and the prices of the ryokan are kept intentionally low as the owner is said to run the business as more of a hobby than purely a money-making enterprise.
[Thanks to Mr. Nidaira for use of the top photo.]
Watch out for the horse flys in summer. And be forewarned that both heavy rains and severe winter snow can sometimes close down the railroad line that goes from Unazuki to Kuronagi station.
This ryokan has an interesting food option: you can bring your own food and cook it in a communal kitchen. You'll miss out on the ryokan's cooking, but save substantially on your costs.
Web reports praise the laid back atmosphere of the place: guests are more inclined to communicate with other guests. All reports give the waater high marks for "softness" and its hot temperature.
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