The first thing you see upon arrival is an uninspiring parking lot in uninspiring surroundings, but after you walk under the stone torii gate you soon find yourself in the middle of a forest, with birds chirping and quick stream running alongside the path. A short walk takes you to the source of the stream, the Shirakawa spring. Here the surprising amount of water (60 tons per minute, they say) gushes out of the ground forming a pond. The pond becomes a creek, the creek later becomes Shirakawa river that runs through central Kumamoto.
There’s an area where you can fill up your bottles, a souvenir shop and also a shrine nearby called Shirakawa Yoshimi.
The visit to Shirakawa Suigen probably won’t take more than 30 minutes, but it makes for a nice quick stop in Minami Aso. I drove (this was the second day of my Aso road trip), stopping here on my way to Takachiho, but it’s easily accessible by public transit (right off the Minamiaso Shirakawasuigen station on Minamiaso railway Takamori line).