Monday, 31 December 2012

Japan Dec 2012 Day 9: Hongu, Wakayama

This is the same video as Day 8

Before checking out of Nakanoshima, we took a stroll on the roof-top to the observatory about 400m away for a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean. 

The hotel shuttle boat dropped us at the pier where we caught a cab (JPY 580) to Kii-Katsuuta station (we were too lazy to walk with our baggage hahaha). A friendly boat staff helped us to call for one =) We chatted and when told that it's our 10th wedding anniversary, he gave Chris a pat on the back and said, "大変ですね!" (It's been hard on you!) LOL

We rented a car from the Nippon car rental shop right in front of Kii-Katsuura station for this part of the trip due to the infrequent bus times and the short daylight hours. They gave us a Honda Fit with a boot that comfortably fit our two 28-inch luggage bags =) Do have the phone numbers of your destinations handy if you want to use the GPS (they call it Nabi i.e. Navi). We used both the GPS and google maps on our smartphones =)

Our first stop was Dorokyo 瀞峡 jetboat to the gorge.  I’d say Tarokko gorge in Taiwan is much bigger and more impressive than this one.

About 10 mins drive from the gorge is Kumano Hongu Taisha熊野本宮大社, one of the three main shrines 熊野三山 along the Kumano Kodo route.

Our final stop was Senninburo 仙人風呂 in Kawayu 川湯, a mixed open-air hot spring river. Some websites must have misunderstood the 'sen' to mean '千' (thousand) so described it as being able to fit a thousand people. We didn't think it would fit a thousand people. Hundreds probably, but not possible to fit a thousand haha. However, we felt that the water was way too hot and I could only place my feet in one of the potholes dug by the side of the river. Changing facilities is an old run-down hut. Do bring your own towels, swimsuit and sandals. The sandals are to protect your feet when walking on the rocky river-bed and sides. 

I will strongly recommend staying at one of the ryokan nearby such as FujiyaWe should have stayed at Kawayu Fujiya on the first night and Nakanoshima on the second and swapped Day 8 and 9 itineraries.

We stayed at Pals Inn Katsuura, highly recommended on Tripadvisor but we felt the location couldn’t be worse. There are absolutely no restaurants nearby and it was 2 km from Kii Katsuura station so we took a cab (about JPY 580). Although it is very near Kii Tenma station, the train times are rather infrequent. The inn also didn’t have an elevator so we had to lug our very heavy luggage up the stairs to the second floor. The only plus is the friendly owner who chatted with us, answered our questions and offered us some green tea when he saw us eating obento (delicious and freshly-prepared ones which bought from a shop called Bodai in front of Kii Katsuura station) in the lobby =) The hospitality of the Japanese never fails to make up for everything =)

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