9 Best Onsen in Yunomine

If you travel out west in the U.S., you’ll find old mining towns where you can go visit and bathe in a natural hot spring. In Japan, they call their natural hot springs onsen and the one in Yunomine is believed to be one of the oldest in Japan, dating back 1800 years!

Like many hot springs around the world, the Yunomine Onsen used to be a sacred place where people could go to cure their injuries and diseases back during the Edo period. Back then, there was little knowledge about how to cure diseases or even any medicinal effects of bathing in an onsen.

Over the centuries, people traveled from around the world to the onsen in Yunomine for its fabled healing properties and sacred rituals. Today onsen are part of hundreds of inns along the Kumano Mountain valley. Some folks come as part of a pilgrimage and perform rituals that go back a thousand years; a purification ritual before worshipping at the sacred Kumano Hongu Taisha shrine.

“For over 1,000 years emperors, aristocrats and humble pilgrims have walked the trails of the Kumano Kodo and now you can, too! Yunomine Onsen is a fantastic base to explore this stunning, sacred region” – Inside Japan Tours

For the most part these days, onsen are an attractive amenity for travelers – sort of like a day spa at a hotel, except much richer. You’ll even find the only onsen in Japan protected by UNESCO World Heritage that is open to the public but you have to book it ahead of time and you only get a half hour for a private bath.

In addition to enjoying a dip in the onsen, there are all kinds of other attractions, foods, and culture that will give you the most relaxing and rejuvenating vacation of a lifetime. Among the many Ryokan and Minshuku guesthouses where you could stay in Yunomine, we found the 9 best onsen in Yunomine for you to explore!

1. Stay near the Hongu Main Shrine at Adumaya Ryokan

Whether or not you are looking for an onsen in Yunomine for a spiritual pilgrimage, the Adumaya Ryokan is worth visiting for the history alone. The inn itself known as a ryokan is over 300 years old, built by a shrine priest in classic Japanese style with rooms named after indigenous flowers and trees like the cedar room (sugi) or the cherry blossom room (sakura).

Despite being hundreds of years old, this ryokan has held up extremely well over the years. The entire village is dedicated to maintaining the authentic Japanese onsen culture that has existed for nearly two millennia. On top of that, the inn provides a breakfast and dinner menu to die for!

If a spiritual journey is your mission, you are going to be glad you chose Ryokan Adumaya. It is only a hop, skip, and a jump from the historic Hongu Main Shrine. Before you go, you can partake in a spiritual cleansing in one of the oldest onsen in Japan. There are communal baths set up both inside the inn and outside.

Address: 122 Yunomine, Hongu-cho, Tanabe City, Wakayama Prefecture, 647-1732, 〒647-1732 和歌山県田辺市本宮町湯峯122

Website: http://www.adumaya.co.jp/english/

Contact: 303 952 0379 (T); info-usa@insidejapantours.com (E)


2. Enjoy river views along the Kumano pilgrimage trail at Kawayu Onsen Fujiya

One thing you have to be prepared for when choosing an onsen in Yunomine is that many of these places are very serious about maintaining the cultural and spiritual sanctity of their hot springs and the Kawayu Onsen Fujiya is no exception. Case in point – don’t choose this onsen if you have tattoos. You are forbidden from entering public baths here.

There are other rules, like the midnight curfew imposed on all guests. Once the clock strikes 12, you are no longer allowed to leave the premises. And if you don’t make it in at your check in time (6pm on the dot), you lose your dinner privileges – and don’t expect a refund either! On the bright side, there are huge indoor and outdoor hot spring baths and even private ones for a little extra.

Plus the rooms are fantastic! You get a gorgeous, up close view of the river above the Kumano trail, upscale meals that are served in several courses, and although the inn is historic, the accommodations are quite modern. There’s free Wi-Fi, flat screen TVs, and your choice of an authentic Japanese futon bed or a western-style bed.

Address: 1452,Kawayu,hongu-cho,Tanabe-city,Wakayama,Japan Zip 647-1717

Contact: (81)-735-42-0007 (T); info@fuziya.co.jp (E)

Website: http://www.fuziya.co.jp/english/

Closest landmarks:

  • Wakayama World Heritage Center – 1.8 miles

  • Kumano Hongu Taisha – 1.9 miles


3. Relax in modern accommodations at Watarase Onsen Hotel Yamayuri

Some who come to Yunomine come to experience ancient Japanese culture. They hike the Kumano Kodo trail without modern trappings and participate in sacred rituals performed at many of the onsen in Yunomine. Others come for the pleasure of experiencing traditional Japanese pampering with all the trappings of modern life.

That’s what you get if you choose to stay at the Watarase Onsen Hotel Yamayuri. Technically it is a ryokan located about 10 miles from Yunomine but that gives you easy access to the pilgrimage route and it’s less than an hour from the Kansai Airport. The hotel also offers free shuttle rides to the pilgrimage route.

You’ll love the modern accommodations at the beginning and end of your journey. Each room comes with a flat screen TV, air conditioning, and a kettle for making tea or coffee. You will however have to share a bathroom with your neighbor. But you have your choice between dipping in the public bath and soaking in a private open-air bath. Meals are easy – there is a highly rated restaurant on-site.

Address: 647-1733 Wakayama, Hongu, Hongūchō Wataze 45-1, Japan

Contact: +81735421185 (T); info@watarase-onsen.jp (E)

Website: https://wataraseonsenhotelyamayuri.book.direct/en-us

Closest landmarks:

  • Wakayama World Heritage Center – 1.5 miles

  • Kumano Hongu Taisha – 1.6 miles


4. Visit the famed Kumano Hongu Taisha Shrine from Onsen Minshuku Oomuraya No.1

Water, water, everywhere! Maybe that’s why this site was chosen to build Onsen Minshuku Oomuraya No. 1. Water has a purifying significance in many cultures, not just Japanese, but it is part of what makes staying in Yunomine so special. It gets you the closest to the Kumano pilgrimage, but with limited accommodations in these remote villages, you may have to stay in villages a little ways away.

For instance, this ryokan is located in Tanabe – about 16 miles from the Ryujin hot spring and a 10 minute drive from the Hongu Taisha Shrine. By bus, it could take you over an hour and a half to get to Yunomine Onsen so why stay there? The scenery man – it is an incredibly scenic area – and a river runs through it!

The on-site hot spring bath only complements the open-air bath on the banks of the river. When it comes to your stay, you will enjoy many of the modern accommodations western visitors expect: free Wi-Fi, flat screen TV, and air conditioning. The shared bathroom though may take some getting used to.

Address: 647-1717 Wakayama, Tanabe, Hongucho Kawayu 1406-4, Japan

Contact: +81 906 245 8887 (T)

Closest landmarks:

  • Wakayama World Heritage Center – 1.7 miles

  • Kumano Hongu Taisha – 1.9 miles


5. Beautify yourself at the Ryujin Onsen Kirari Ryujin

For those looking for a blend of Western and Japanese hospitality, the Ryujin Onsen Kirari Ryujin is the place to be! This onsen is a little different from the others in that its hot springs are advertised as “beautifying” as opposed to healing or spiritual.

Beauty is everywhere you look here. Set along the Hidaka River, you get fantastic views from each room. On-site there are both indoor and outdoor onsen that are decorated with ornate stones and closed in by bamboo fencing. You’ll also find a sauna and an open-air bath.

Out of the 57 rooms, you have your choice of staying in an authentic Japanese style room or a modern western-style room. The on-site restaurant and café serves both genuine Japanese cuisine and western-style buffets. Just 80 miles from the Shirahama and Shionomisaki onsen, you can turn this into a multi-stop trip!

Address: 189 Ryujin, Ryujinmura, Tanabe City

Contact: 0739-79-0331 (T); 0739-79-0555 (F)

Website: https://s.jalan.net/2tElLed


  • Ride the Ryujin Bus from JR Kii-Tanabe Station and get off at "Kirari Ryujin"

  • Access by Car: From the Arita-Minami Interchange on the Hanwa Expressway, take National Route 424, 425, 371 towards Ryujin for approximately 59 km.


6. Book a stay at the most famous Onsen in Japan at Ryokan Yunomine-so

Don’t go looking for nooky at the most famous Japanese spa at Ryokan Yunomine-so. Sex in the hot springs is frowned upon, even though in the U.S., private spas are a big part of romantic hotel getaways. Here the spa waters are drawn from sacred hot springs that are used for purification.

That said, you’ll find several private baths on-site and two huge outdoor and one large indoor bath. You can even book one of ten rooms with a private onsen en-suite. Watch the clock so that you don’t miss your chance to take a dip in the public baths. Their hours are restricted to the early morning for four hours and after 4pm until 11pm.

Expect to enjoy modern comforts like TV and air conditioning, plus each room comes with a phone and a refrigerator. This is an ideal spot to stay if you are planning on hiking the Kumano Kodo trail. It is just a few hundred yards from Yunomine Onsen Village.

Address: 437 Hongucho Shimoyukawa, Tanabe, Wakayama Prefecture 647-1734, Japan

Contact: 0735-42-1111 (T)

Website: http://www.yunominesou.com/ENGLISH/Eindex.html

Access: Busses run daily to Yunomine Onsen from Kii-Tanabe Station, Shingu Station and Gojo.


7. Enter the Kumano Pilgrimage trail from J-Hoppers Kumano Yunomine Guesthouse

If you are coming to Yunomine for a true spiritual retreat, you are going to pilgrimage along the Kumano Kodo to Hongu Taisha. If that is the case, you will definitely want to make J-Hoppers Kumano Yunomine Guesthouse your temporary home for the journey. It is located right at the gateway to the Kumano path.

On-site, you have every opportunity to pamper yourself before you start your trek. As one of the newest onsen in the area (built in 2017), you’re going to love the accommodations. There are three different private onsen on-site – two outdoor open-air baths and one indoors.

Each room is equipped with air conditioning but when you have to take a dump, you have to do so in a communal bathroom – there are no en-suite bathrooms. That shouldn’t be a problem for adventure seekers. And you still have Wi-Fi access and a nice big, spacious room for sleeping.

Address: 6471732,161 Hongu-cho Yunomine, Tanabe-shi, Wakayama

Contact: +81735297666 (T) / 0735-29-7666; yunomine@j-hoppers.com (E)

Website: https://yunomine.j-hoppers.com/index.php

Access: 2 minute walk from bus stop "Yunomine Onsen"


8. Take a soak any time of the day in the 100% natural onsen at Minshuku Yamane

Talk about natural beauty, the Minshuku Yamane onsen goes above and beyond to incorporate nature into its décor. Like the refreshing and lovely wisteria trees that put on a real show in April – some of them are even a century old. Add to that the untouched 100% natural hot spring water that flows directly to this onsen and you are looking at a truly resplendent atmosphere.

This onsen is quite small so make sure you book it well in advance. There are only six guest rooms on-site, so the max capacity is just 18 people. Despite the fact that it is so tiny, this onsen is in high demand because of its use of the hot springs.

No water is added to the spring water and all homemade meals are made using it. Thus, a stay at this onsen is believed to have medicinal benefits due to the chemical makeup up the natural spring water. It is believed that drinking the water (and eating the food prepared with it) can alleviate gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, gout, arthritis, dermatitis, and more.

Address: 647-1732, 171 Yunomine, Hongu-cho, Tanabe-shi, Wakayama-ken

Contact: 0735-42-0113 (T)

Website: http://www.minsyuku-yamane.com

Access: Busses run daily to Yunomine Onsen from Kii-Tanabe Station, Shingu Station and Gojo.


9. Come see the longest living onsen in all of Japan at Ryokan Iseya

Last but certainly not least on our list of the best onsen in Yunomine is the Ryokan Iseya, believed to be the oldest onsen in the country. This onsen is known and has been made famous for its healing properties. Located in the heart of Yunomine Onsen, these 100% all-natural hot springs are chock full of mineral salt.

You can take a dip in the onsen any time of day but don’t plan on enjoying them together with your mate if you are different sexes. Men and women do not share baths here which shouldn’t be too much of a problem – you shouldn’t be having any hanky panky in an onsen anyway!

Although there are only 14 rooms total, it has a 60 guest capacity. All rooms come with a private western-style toilet en-suite and Bento-style breakfast and dinner is prepared and served by Minshuku Omuraya. There is also free air conditioning in each room where you will sleep on an authentic Japanese futon. And there is free Wi-Fi but only in the lobby area.

Address: 102 Yunomine, Hongu-cho, Tanabe City, Wakayama Prefecture, 647-1732
〒647-1732 和歌山県田辺市本宮町湯峯102

Contact: 0735-42-1126 (T);

Website: http://www.yunomine-iseya.com/pc/index.html

Access: Busses run daily to Yunomine Onsen from Kii-Tanabe Station, Shingu Station and Gojo.