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Kumano Hongu Onsen Guide: Japan’s ‘Fountain of Youth?’ Step Into an Anime Fantasy On the Kumano Kodo

In the village of Kumano Hongu Taisha, one of the three major shrines of Kumano, is a hot spring district called Kumano Hongu Onsen Village. Many travelers past and present come here first to rest up from the long journey and cleanse their bodies before visiting the mountain shrine, and the village is undoubtedly designed to welcome such visitors warmly.

Kumano in Wakayama has been known as the “Land of Rejuvenation” since ancient times. Word has it that those who overcome difficulties while taking the difficult pilgrimage path in Kumano will see rejuvenation after having their souls cleansed.

This seemingly simple place of interest has been receiving more and more attention from foreign tourists in recent years, and our comprehensive guide to the charms and comforting power of Kumano Hongu Onsen Village will explain in detail why that is so!

Main image credit: Kumano Hongu Tourist Association

Getting to Kumano Hongu Onsen Village

The village is located in the eastern edge of Tanabe City, which is a town in southern Wakayama. Simply take a special express train on the JR Lines from Shin-Osaka Station or Kansai International Airport to Kii-Tanabe Station, the gateway station to the area and you’ll be all set.

■Shin-Osaka Station on the JR Lines → Kii-Tanabe Station on the JR Lines (special express Kuroshio, about 130 minutes): 5,170 yen (including reserved seat fee on the special express)
■Kansai International Airport Station in the JR Lines → Kii-Tanabe Station on the JR Lines (special express Kuroshio, about 90 minutes): 4,280 yen (including reserved seat fee on the special express)

From Kii-Tanabe Station, transfer to a local bus. As soon as you leave the station, you’ll see the Tanabe Tourist Information Center on the left (9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., open daily), where English-speaking full-time staff are ready to help you with unfamiliar bus routes and make the rest of your journey more smooth and pleasant.

The bus route is called Kumano Hongu Line. Take the bus heading towards Hongu Taisha Mae bus stop and you’ll reach in about 120 minutes. There are altogether 7 buses a day running between 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., operated by either Meiko Bus or Ryujin Bus.

■Kii-Tanabe Station → Wataze Onsen / Kawayu Onsen (1,930 yen each) → Yunomine Onsen (1,980 yen) → Hongu Taisha Mae (2,100 yen)

Note that while Ryujin Bus will stop at all stops, Meiko Bus doesn’t pass through Yunomine Onsen or Kawayu Onsen. If you’ll be using Meiko Bus, go all the way t…

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