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Yunomine Onsen featured in Munchies

I Ate a Meal Cooked in a Stinky Hot Spring
Text: Elyssa Goldberg
Published by Munchies
Dec 4, 2014

"A pack of shrieking Japanese macaques, endowed with red testicles and red faces, crossed the road in front of us, distracting us just enough to miss the last bus to our lodging in Yunomine Onsen. When we arrived, we were greeted with the stench of sulfur that rises out of Yunomine’s hot spring, the onsen that made the place famous.

We had been trekking the Kumano Kodo, an ancient Buddhist pilgrimage route across central Japan’s Wakayama Prefecture, and we were exhausted. After speed-hiking the first half of the Nakahechi route, trying to make up for the two days we lost to the over-hyped Typhoon Vongfong, our legs were weary. We hiked a mountainous 22.1 kilometers that day.


Yunomine Onsen, a one-street town that’s built along a creek in rural Japan, is credited as the country’s oldest spa. It may be the world’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site you can soak in, and it’s blessed with a 93 degree Celsius (202 degree Fahrenheit) public hot spring in the center of town that has been healing travelers’ achy legs for 1,800 years.

Located just beyond Kumano Hongu Taisha—one of the holiest of the 99 shrines, or oji, that line the Kumano Kodo—Yunomine’s hot springs were the sites of Japanese Buddhist ablution rituals, purification rites for pilgrims who traveled the arduous journey to visit the shrines. Towns were built along the Kumano Kodo to support the pilgrims, and the trails now weave in and out of rural villages like Yunomine."

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NEW Ise-Kumano-Wakayama Area Tourist Pass

NEW Ise-Kumano-Wakayama Area Tourist Pass
This is an easy way to do a loop of the Kii Peninsula.

From July 15, 2016 (Friday)
PRICE Adult 11,000 yen Children 5,500 yen (Children 6 to 11 years old)
NOTE: This pass is not available for purchase in Japan.
VALIDITY PERIOD Five consecutive days
AREA ●JR conventional lines: Nagoya-Shingu-within Osaka City (via lse Tetsudo Line or Kameyama, via Kisei Main Line/Hanwa Line) ●Nagoya-Kameyama-Nara-within Osaka City (via Kansai Main Line) Taki Toba (Sangu Line) ●Kansai International Airport-Hineno (Kansai Airport Line) ●Bus routes for accessing Kumano Kodo, Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Nachi Taisha (Only Kumano Kotsu Bus); and Select bus routes
TRAIN TYPES ●Unlimited use of non-reserved seats on ordinary cars on all JR conventional line trains in the subject section. ●Reserved seats can be used up to four times on ordinary cars of limited express and rapid trains. ●Only non-reserved seats can be used on the limited express "Haruka' between the Kansai Inte…