Tuesday, December 9, 2008
day 342 - Yunomine
We travel by bus up steep mountain roads following the Kumanogawa River from Shingu to Yunomine.
It's hard to believe that this is the roof of a building registered by UNESCO as a World Heritage site!
Yunomine's Tsuboyu is the only World Heritage hotspring in the world that you can bathe in. It's one of the oldest recorded onsens in Japan.
The village grew from the onsen founded 1800 years ago. There are numerous legends about pilgrims who recovered from 'incurable' ailments while stopping here on their Kumano Kodo trek.
We soaked in the private spring just feet from the public onsen. (I wasn't allowed to post Lyn's photo.) Of all the times we've enjoyed onsen here, there are few photos. (Taking a camera in is pretty much frowned on. This one was for private use and had a lock on the door.)
The people beyond the prayer-notes are down at river-level waiting for their eggs and vegetables to cook in the hot-water spring. The slightly sulphurous water imparts a 'very desirable taste.'
Sulphur crystals form in an 'exhaust pipe' on the river.