I was in the Hongu area, but I didn’t visit any of the three hot springs that the area boasts. 😢
1. Wataze Onsen
Wataze Onsen is the largest Rotenburo, which means open-air hot spring bath, in all of western Japan.
2. Kawayu Onsen
Kawayu Onsen is a geological thermal wonder situated on the Oto River, a tributary of the Kumano-gawa River. At Kawayu Onsen, hot spring water effervesces to the surface of the crystal clear river.
From December to February, nature forces are adapted to create a bath so colossal that one thousand people 😱 can bathe at the same time and therefore the bath has a name, Sennin-buro.
Visitors can dig their own hot spring bath at Kawayu Onsen!
Tsuboyu, a small cabin by the creek that runs through Yunomine Onsen, is the only hot spring that we can bathe that is registered as UNESCO World Heritage! One to two people can privately bath in this small stone lined hot spring bath for up to 30 minutes. I guess that’s why it is very popular with couples.
I visited Wataze Onsen and Yunomine Onsen on 14 May. Though I didn’t have time to soak in Tsuboyu bath and other hot spring baths in Yunomine town, I think it’s a MUST to visit Yunomine town if you are in the Hongu area! The tranquillity of this quaint hot spring town in the evening (about 6 to 7pm when I was there) and the air of antiquity that I felt… AH~ IT’S SO FANTASTIC! As I was typing this, I was closing my eyes and immersing myself in the wonderful memory I had… AH~ I’m missing my 90-days solo trip in Japan again.
I wish I’m in Yunomine town now staying in either a traditional Ryokan Inn or family run Minshuku guest house and experiencing the Japanese culture. I feel life is so busy in Singapore until I wish the time can stop and pass whenever I want it to be!