On the very clear and fine day of February 26, 2019, we drove a car from Wakayama city to head for Ki-nan (=southern part of Wakayama prefecture).
Kawayu Onsen and Yunomine Onsen
The main purpose of this short trip was to visit and enjoy “Sennin-buro”, the famous Rotenburo (open-air bath) at Kawayu Onsen (hot spring) which is available only during winter from December to February. Hot water wells up by digging at the riverbed, creating an exclusive Rotenburo. This massive hot spring with a capacity of nearly 1,000 people can be entered when wearing a bathing suit. However, the river Onsen was unfortunately already over and closed due to the heavy rain that hit the area just a week ago. The riverbed was dug up by several heavy machines and looked like a construction site.
Nevertheless, we enjoyed the Ashiyu (foot bath) set up on the riverbed and delicious lunch at a small restaurant there.
Then, on the way back, we decided to drop in at Yunomine Onsen, anther nearby hot spring resort known to tourists. Yunomine is a quaint little collection of inns tucked into a small valley deep in the heart of the sacred mountains of Kumano. Yunomine Onsen was discovered about 1,800 years ago, and it is thought to be one of the oldest hot springs in Japan. Tsuboyu is a small cabin by the creek that runs through Yunomine Onsen. People can privately bath in this small stone lined Onsen for up to 30 minutes. As we had to wait for a while to bathe in Tsuboyu, we took a bath instead at the nearby public Onsen facilities.
To be continued to Part 2