One the best experiences you can get in Wakayama is to ride through the towns & mountains by bike! Grab your helmet, and let’s ride them together, some very local rural scenery & sunset is waiting for us!
Disclaimer: pictures are from the same morning, but we actually took the bikes after the traditional boat tour along the Kumano River, so in the afternoon of that same day.
During this first morning in Adumaya we got the chance to try the famous onsen tamago (onsen egg), boiled using the water that comes directly from the hot stream. Ours was pouched style, and we ate it on top of the rice, super yummy!
I really can’t tell if the onsen water was noticeable *wink* but the incredible quality of the egg was indeed.
Ryokan breakfast includes lots of different plates, from grilled fish to soup, comfort food. The thing that for me it’s more difficult to eat in a traditional breakfast are pickles, because I don’t enjoy them too much. Luckily here there weren’t too many, but we couldn’t pass the opportunity to try the pickle plum while thinking about Suppaman, ha! Have you ever watched Arale (Dr Slump)? It’s one of my childhood anime! Suppaman was a character similar to Superman, whom ate a pickle plum to transform into his superhero alter ego. He also rolls around with his belly on a skateboard, instead of flying, ha! Arale was so much fun!
Rent an electrical bike in Hongu Taisha
We rented our bikes directly from the Hongu Taisha visitor center. We booked them using the same service as the boat tour from the Kumano Travel website (please, read note on the bottom of this post). It costs 1500¥ per bike, which is around 15€
The bikes are reserved for a complete day but you can collect them at the time it’s more convenient for you. The most interesting thing is that you are not forced to do a circular itinerary because there are several drop off places, one being our hotel in Yunomine Onsen! Can’t get better than that, right?
Oh! I almost forgot to mention, the bikes are electrical, so although the road definitely goes up it’s feasible by not-too-trained people like ourselves. I was most of the time using 3rd gear, which was the maximum power of our bike, so I wouldn’t venture to do it without electrical ones. Also, it was our first time ever riding electrical bikes, I learnt that electrical doesn’t mean it can run on their own, it’s only that it assists you by riding more space but the pedalling is all yours to make or it won’t move an inch, ha!
Choose your itinerary
There are three proposed itineraries, depending on the time you can spend, 2, 3 & 4 hours. Take into account that you must include here stops to catch breath (needed!), drink water and take pictures. Also we wandered around a little bit to admire the sakura and views.
Check here the 3 itineraries. We took B, starting at the Otorii, going by the river, climbing up the mountain crossing a beautiful town and finally reaching Yunomine by the sunset.
It was awesome to have the feeling that you were able to stop every time there was a cute sakura tree to admire. Since we move in a sloth fashion, we weren’t able to complete the larger B route, and went by the Dainichisan tunnel instead. One of the things that worried me was the tunnels, but there’s a separate elevated lane, so it’s not scary as you don’t have to mingle with the cars.
I would definitely recommend to do at least B or if you have less time constraints A & B. We had to be at our ryokan before 6pm for dinner time, and afterwards it was very nice to enjoy our onsen during nightime.
And with that, the third chapter of our rural adventures in Wakayama ends. Next one (and last) will be at the impressive Nachi falls, don’t miss it!
NOTE: At the moment we are writing this post the page to rent the bikes is not available; that’s why we are not linking it. However, we are not sure if the service has maybe been paused for the rainy season or completely removed from their services catalog. At the official tourism bureau for Kumano website, the bikes service is still announced, so it seems unlikely. I’m sure sending an email to them will quickly solve this conundrum!