These are not snow monkeys

Soaking in a rotenburo (open-air hot bath) is one of truly great Japanese experiences, and some way to finish a day. Don’t confuse us with the famous Jigokudani snow monkeys at Nagono. We are actually at Kawayu Onsen, a relatively remote village on the Oto-gawa in Wakayama Prefecture.


Spectacularly nestled under extremely steep mountainsides, the village is made up of around 12 accommodation places, from the upmarket to affordable. Hot mineral water percolates to the surface along the Otogawa, creating hot baths literally in the river.

A giant outdoor bath is created each winter (sennin-buro). We were here in June, so were able to move about from the Kameya Inn to the riverside hot baths without freezing. Soaking in the rotenburo for a while, then cooling down with a dip in the river steps away.

Kawayu is a great stepping off point for the Kumano Kodo World Heritage pilgrimage trail. Getting here is in two steps. Firstly, train from either Shin-Osaka or Nagoya along coastal lines deep into Wakayama Prefecture. Secondly, a bus from either Shingu or Kiitanabe right into Kawayu. Easy.

Further information about Kawayu Onsen and the Kumano Kodo can be found at the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau and at Kumano Hongu Tourism Association.



About Tony Jarrett

Taking regular visitors routes but more often just where the trains or buses go. Japan leads the way.
This entry was posted in Accommodation, Onsen, Small Towns and Villages, Wakayama and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to These are not snow monkeys

  1. Pingback: Outrunning those damn leeches | Having a ball in Japan

  2. celia knox says:

    Looks like a beautiful area! I love onsens, too. Will have to add this place to my to-do list.

    Liked by 1 person

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