Yunomine Onsen is one of the hot spring towns tucked into a valley of the mountains of Kumano in Wakayama, famous for the pilgrimage route known as Kumano Kodo. It is believed that the court elite used to travel all the way from Kyoto to the mountains of Kumano to search for heaven on earth. Discovered about 1,800 years ago, Yunomine Onsen is considered as one of the oldest hot springs in Japan. Its rich cultural history goes back significantly that one of the public baths, “Tsuboyu”, is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pilgrims would pay a visit to the hot springs to perform spiritual purifications as part of their religious process. A short distance away, there is also Yunomine Public Bathhouse that features two separate bath areas.
There are several ryokans in the area with hot springs that visitors can enjoy privately or in communal baths and bask in the views of the mountainside on open-air baths. One can even partake in a unique experience called “onsen tamago” or hot spring eggs where the eggs are cooked in a public hot spring cooking basin called “Yuzutsu”. In addition, the water that springs in the area is said to change color seven times over the course of a day, making it a popular destination for tourists. Yunomine Onsen can be accessed from Shingu Station and Gojo Station by bus.
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