From the Kami-Arita station it is about 3 stops to Takeo Onsen station. From here it is about a 30 minute bus ride to Ureshino.
Ureshino is a small town with lots of onsen (hot springs) and many tea farms.
According to a legend, Empress Shinko stopped at Ureshino after a battle. She saw a white crane soaking its tired wings in the river and flew away looking refreshed. The empress told her soldiers to bathe in this river. They discovered that the hot springs in the river healed their wounds. When the empress saw this she exclaimed "ureshino" which means "I'm happy" in Japanese. And this was how this area got its name.
This area is located along the Ureshino River and is one of the most popular hot spring resorts in Kyushu.
The ryokan we stayed at was called Chagokoro no yado Warakuen (which literally translates to Tea Feeling, but I think it means Heart of Tea).
What intrigued us was that this property had a rotenburo cha-buro (outside tea bath), the bath water has brewed tea in it.
Another nice ammenity of this ryokan was that they had wifi in all rooms and on all floors.
Our welcome drink was a black tea with konpeito (these tiny candies are influenced by the Portuguese, I thought I had written up about them before, but can't find it in my archives (it might have been pre-blog!), Satoshi's classmate makes konpeito in Kyoto and to make one batch can take up to a week to make!).
And when we were shown to our room, we were also served matcha (green tea) and a yuzu sweet.
In the room, there was "incense" burning...it was actually tea roasting...nice!
In the main bath areas, they also had tea bags for you to massage yourself with in the bath. Tea is supposed to have healing as well as deodorizing properties.
Dinner was served in our room, kaiseki-style and there were many dishes.
There was also dried green tea which the server told us to grind with the mortar and pestle and sprinkle on the different foods, like furikake...different but delicious!
We ate and ate and ate!
After all that eating we used the rotenburo (outside bath) in our room and relaxed a bit.
Our trip was coming to an end, but there was still one more day ahead.
Chagokoro no yado Warakuen
33 Shimono Ureshino-machi