Yunomine Onsen can make for a perfect part of your Kumano Kodo itinerary, whether you are doing the classic Kumano Kodo multi-day hike or if you are exploring Kumano Kodo by bus!
Yunomine Onsen can be towards the end when you are doing things near the Nakahechi Route by bus.
One of the big reasons you want to stop by Yunomine Onsen is for the hot springs!
There really isn’t anything major to do in Yunomine Onsen, except the hot springs!
You can decide how you want to do the hot springs: public or private!
👆 Private outdoor onsen mineral hot springs bath in Yunomine Onsen.
Japanese language tip for onsen
Onsen means hot springs in Japanese.
Where is Yunomine Onsen?
Yunomine Onsen is located on the Kii Peninsula in the prefecture of Wakayama.
Where is Yunomine Onsen Japan: Explore the map.
You can make Yunomine Onsen a part of your route as you travel the Kumano Kodo in Wakayama prefecture.
It can make sense to go to Yunomine Onsen on your way to Nachi Falls if your Kumano Kodo trip is starting in Kii-Tanabe.
Best things to do in Yunomine Onsen
1. Tsuboyu onsen (private hot springs)
The Tsuboyu onsen can be a destination on its own.
It is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Tsuboyu is said to be the only UNESCO world heritage site that’s a hot spring that you can bathe in!
It can be found right along the Kumano Kodo trail.
If you are hiking the Kumano Kodo through Yunomine Onsen, you will pass right by it.
You can do a mineral hot springs soak in private.
There is only one Tsuboyu onsen which means it’s possible (and common) that you will have to wait your turn for it to open up.
It’s first-come first-serve, with each person (or couple) being requested to limit their time to 30 minutes.
👆 The Tsuboyu onsen is the shack on the stream. You can have a private onsen hot springs experience along the Kumano Kodo in Yunomine Onsen.
The ultimate Japan experience #1: You can read the reviews for watching sumo training!
The ultimate Japan experience #2: You can read the reviews for the samurai lesson at a dojo!
The ultimate Japan experience #3: You can read the reviews for the tea ceremony!
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👆 The bridge is a part of the Kumano Kodo trail. Just ahead of the bridge is the waiting area for the Tsuboyu onsen. You’ll take stairs down to the Tsuboyu shack for the hot springs.
👆 The stairs down to the private Tsuboyu onsen that is a UNESCO world heritage hot springs.
👆 Recognize this Japanese writing so you know what you’re looking for! It says “tsuboyu”
👆 Rinse off your body before you get in the onsen!
You will buy a ticket for the Tsuboyu onsen at the Yunomine Onsen public bath area.
Bring a towel if you want to do this!
2. Onsen eggs (hot spring eggs)
Cooking eggs using the heat of the hot springs is a thing in onsen towns, and you can see one way people do this in Yunomine Onsen.
Right near the Yunomine Onsen bus stop, if you look down at the river, you might see a bag of eggs being placed in the water.
They are making onsen eggs!
You can even make your own onsen eggs! There is a small shop nearby that sells eggs.
3. Yunomine Onsen public bath (public hot springs)
If you want a traditional Japanese experience, then Yunomine Onsen also has a public onsen too.
There is a women’s bath and men’s bath.
👆 You will see this in front of the Yunomine Onsen bus stop. Straight ahead is the Yunomine Onsen public bath. You’ll see a ticket machine to buy tickets for the onsen. This is where you will buy a ticket for the private Tsuboyu onsen also. This is also staffed in case you have any questions.
4. Foot bath
Many places in Japan that have hot springs have specific spots designated as a foot bath.
I did not see any official foot bath spot, but you can go down by the river for your own hot springs foot bath!
Well, the water was lukewarm when I went, but maybe it will be hotter when you go!
Bring a towel to wipe off your feet if you want to do this!
5. Hike the Kumano Kodo trail to Dainichi-goe
You can hike from Yunomine Onsen to Dainichi-goe!
Dainichi goe is not in Yunomine Onsen, but you can think of it as there being a Kumano Kodo trailhead in Yunomine Onsen.
The Kumano Kodo goes through Yunomine Onsen, and one direction that you can hike it is to Hongu. (You can also hike from Hongu to Yunomine Onsen.)
You can think of this as a solid day hike! You’ll want to give yourself a few hours for it.
You can also hike it one way, from Yunomine Onsen to Hongu, and then take the bus back. You can get a bus from Hongu to Yunomine Onsen.
Or, you can also first take the bus to Hongu, and then hike from Hongu to Yunomine Onsen on the Kumano Kodo, passing through the Dainichi-goe.
And this way, your “destination” can be “home”! (Because you will be staying in Yunomine Onsen, next!)
And, if you don’t want to hike as much, then the Dainichi-goe section of Kumano Kodo is closer to Hongu.
See more: Things to do in Hongu
Where to stay in Yunomine Onse: J-Hoppers Yunomine Guesthouse
If you want an onsen experience in Japan while doing the Kumano Kodo, the backpacker’s guesthouse of J-Hoppers Yunomine can be a perfect place to stay!
There are dorm beds (aka this is a hostel) and there are private rooms available.
The private rooms aren’t traditional hotel rooms. It is basically a room for you to sleep.
There’s a common area, including a living space and kitchen.
Everyone shares a bathroom, whether you’re staying in the dorm or in a private room.
You also share the shower and bath.
Most importantly, the bath is not like your bathtub at home.
It’s a mineral hot springs bath!
THE reason to stay in Yunomine Onsen at J-Hoppers is for the private onsen.
You can privately take a mineral hot springs bath available for your use 24/7!
You can take an outdoor mineral bath or an indoor mineral bath.
There are instructions for how to take an onsen.
The most important things to know for an onsen is to clean yourself before entering and you shouldn’t be wearing anything. (No swimsuit.)
It’s around 3800 yen for a dorm bed (less than $35), 10,000 yen for a private room for 2 people (less than US$100), 13,800 yen for a private room for 3 people (less than $130).
You’ll pay like an extra $1 for an onsen charge when you check-in, and this covers unlimited private onsen use.
The guesthouse is a few minutes walk from the Yunomine Onsen bus stop, and it’s also a few minutes walk from access to the Kumano Kodo trail that goes right through Yunomine Onsen.
A note on Japanese yen to USD conversion: For a quick and easy conversion in my head, I had always done 100 yen = US$1. But, the reality of late 2022 is that 100 yen is much less than $1. When I did this trip to Hongu in October 2022, it had hit 150 yen = US$1. 😱 So the approximate USD is actually much less than the above listed approximate USD figures! Of course, the amount you will pay will depend on what the exchange rate is when you go, but this can start to give you an idea. For easy conversion, you can simply type into google “8500 yen to usd” for example. When I checked just now on this October 2022 day, it said 8500 yen was less than US$60.
How to get to Yunomine Onsen
👆 Getting to Yunomine Onsen by bus. If you are already in the Kumano Kodo area, then you can get to Yunomine Onsen by bus. Otherwise, you can first get to the region by train. You may look at arriving at the Kii-Tanabe station or the Kii-Katsuura Station.
You can get to Yunomine Onsen by bus.
Yunomine Onsen is a pretty small town.
The main road goes through Yunomine Onsen, and the bus makes a stop here.
The bus stop is in front of the public hot springs of Yunomine Onsen.
The official Kumano Kodo tourism website has bus schedules, but it’s best to verify locally to make sure you get the most up-to-date schedule.
👆 Yunomine Onsen map: There’s a board with a map at the Yunomine Onsen bus stop.
Yunomine Onsen bus: General tips for taking the local bus to Yunomine Onsen (and most local buses in Japan)
If you are already in the Kumano Kodo area, there is a local bus to get to Yunomine Onsen.
You can consult google maps to guide your way! It makes knowing where to get on the bus and where to get off the bus super easy!
You pay for the bus as you get off the bus. You don’t need to buy a ticket ahead of time.
You will get on the bus from the back door, not the front. As you get on the bus, you need to look for a little ticket to grab. This will have a number on it, and it will allow you to determine how much you need to pay when you get off the bus.
Once your bus stop is the next bus stop, you will press a little button to signify to the bus driver to get off next. There will be an announcement, and there is a display sign at the front of the bus that will tell you the next bus stop.
Then, you will also look at the front of the bus to find out how much the bus fare costs. You will look for the number that’s on the ticket that you grabbed as you got on the bus, and that is how much you need to pay for the bus fare.
Once the bus arrives at your bus stop, you’ll go to the front of the bus. You’ll put exact change into the fare box. There will be no change given to you.
If you need smaller change, it is also possible to break a 1,000 yen bill in the coin machine at the front of the bus. You can do this as you get off the bus. You cannot break a 5,000 yen bill, so be sure to have coins and/or 1,000 yen bills for the bus to Yunomine Onsen.
More about how to take the local bus to Yunomine Onsen
For the visual: here is how to take the local bus in Kyoto, which is similar to how to take the local bus to Yunomine Onsen and other local buses in Japan.
How to get around Yunomine Onsen: WALK!
The best way (only way? 😜) to see Yunomine Onsen is to walk!
They do rent bikes at the J-Hoppers guesthouse!
Aside from a general walk through town which really doesn’t take long at all, you can take the stairs down to the hot springs river.
And that’s a bit about Yunomine Onsen to go to Kumano Kodo hot springs!
I went to Yunomine Onsen in October 2022. Your experience may vary!
HAPPY TRIP TO YUNOMINE ONSEN!
NEXT UP: HONGU!
NEXT UP: SHINGU!
NEXT UP: NACHI FALLS!
NEXT UP: ISE!
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