Welcome to the second chapter in Wakayama Kumano Kodo!
A part from walking the Kumano Kodo, we were looking for other type of experiences to discover the Kumano Kodo. With a quick look to the Visit Wakayama site you can see that there are boats, bikes and rafting activities to enjoy the beautiful scenery from another point of view. Since rafting was not on season (such a pity because it looks amazing! it is only available from May) we decided for the former two.
We went sailing on the traditional wooden flat-bottom boats (that originally pilgrims used when doing this route) because we thought that would be more authentic to the Kumano Kodo. The boat is also a good way to travel to Shingu and keep visiting the area from there.
Wanna check how the boat ride looks like? Grab a safety vest and sail with us!
Traditional ryokan breakfast
We woke up at Yunomine Onsen, feeling extra special with the traditional PJs the ryokans provide for their guests, and got our breakfast served in the room. Traditional breakfasts in Japan are always a little overwhelming for us that are not used to eat so many different dishes during the morning, also grilled fish is such a contrast from our usual fruit & croissant breakfast, ha! I know it’s rude to not finish your food in Japan, so I am always very concerned to not be able to finish everything up in a proper manner. The food again was so yummy, specially the omelette; eggs here are the real deal!
The bus to go to the river boat tour starting location stops just in front of the ryokan Adumaya, so it’s super easy to get there. Just check the timetable for Gojo-Totsukawa-Hongu-to-Shingu bus. There are only two boat tours per day, we took the morning one at 10:00 so you are advised to take the bus from Yunomine at 8:40. Once you get to the stop called Michi-no-Eki Kumano-gawa a person from the boat tour will be waiting for you there. It’s very well synchronised with the local bus.
The renting went smoothly and everything can be completed in English, so no problem at all with the language. Once you are registered in The Kumano Travel website you can book the activities you want all of them as a pack, even though they are activities offered by several different companies.
We booked 2 in total, the boats and electrical bikes (next post!). You won’t be paying immediately, someone at the agency will review your purchase and contact you in about two or three days with a “Processed Reservation” e-mail response. Then you’ll have 48h to follow the link to go through the payment process.
The arrival location point of the boat ride is Shingu, a mid-sized city in the Wakayama area. The most popular visits here are the Hayatama Taisha temple and Kamikura Shrine.
We decided to go back to Hongu Taisha to have lunch & rent bikes. Thus, we quickly visited the Hayatama Taisha temple, which is right next to where the boats leave you, got some snacks and visited a ceramic thrift store (I got a super cute Anpanman mug!) before catching the bus back. However, if you follow our tip from the previous post and rent the bikes (to get to Yunomine Onsen) the day before, I would have visited the impressive Kamikura Shrine (way up in the mountain!) built with a big rock that looks like it will crush it, and would had lunch in Shingu.
That’s all for now! Stay tuned for third chapter in Wakayama: renting electrical bikes, It was our favorite local experience!