Places to Go
Kawayu Onsen: Wakayama Onsen

Kawayu Onsen: Wakayama Onsen

Added In: Places to Go › Onsen (hot springs)

Brad Towle

Kawayu Onsen is a geological wonder located close to the World Heritage grand shrine, Kumano Hongu Taisha. “Kawa” means “river” and “yu” means “hot water”. Here, hot spring water bubbles to the surface of the river. If one digs a hole in the gravel river bed, hot water percolates in, creating an onsen bath! You can regulate the temperature by diverting cold water from the river into the mix. From November 1 to the end of February, a giant bath is created in the river having approximate dimensions of 50 meters by 14 meters, and a depth of 60 centimeters. It is called Sennin-buro, which has two interpretations. Sennin means 1000 people, alluding that it is so large that 1000 people can bath at the same time. Sennin also means mountain man, or immortal mountain hermit, a mysterious character that lives far in the mountains. One of the best ways to enjoy Kawayu Onsen is to soak in the soft evening light while watching the warm mist from the river rise slowly into the clean countryside air.

Featured Accommodation
Fujiya is a modern hotel with traditional ryokan roots. All guest rooms have a beautiful view of the crystal clear Oto River pocketed with hot spring pools. The other side of the river is a steep forested mountain side. The deep green is soothing to the eyes and the murmuring of the river calming to the soul. All but three of the rooms are Japanese style. These three have recently been renovated with the themes of paper, bamboo and wood. These modern western style rooms all feature private outdoor baths, perfect for a romantic get-a-way.

Train from Nagoya to Shingu (~3 to 4 hr depending on train, 6,680, unreserved seat)
Bus from Shingu to Kawayu Onsen (~1hr, 1500)
Website: (English)
Price: 16,150~

For more information contact:
Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau

Kawayu Onsen: Wakayama Onsen
Kawayu Onsen in the river
Kawayu Onsen: Wakayama Onsen
Fujiya Ryokan