Manhole Monday

Manhole Monday: Hongu

Ohhhhh, winter. I am really looking forward to the snow you’ve been dumping on the surrounding prefectures but at the moment, your frigid temperatures are unwelcome. At least it will make this girl from the northeastern US feel right at home come Christmas morning. I’ve never been one to do the Christmas holiday in hot weather.

As I mentioned in one of my last posts, I’m an onsen fan. I’m also a hiking aficionado, so I was a bit disappointed when a recent trip of mine to Wakayama’s Kumano Kodo got mostly rained out. But we went onsen hopping instead so really, it wasn’t a waste at all. (You can read more about my adventure here in an article I wrote for The Japan Times.)

I shot this manhole cover in Kawayu Onsen:

hongu

While it is technically the manhole cover for the entire Hongu area, Kawayu Onsen itself deserves a mention. If you dig down deep into the riverbed of the Ohtou River that runs through the village, hot water bubbles up. Wakayama’s onsen aren’t actually volcanic in nature but are due to some fissure in the tectonic plates. You can make your own foot bath here in any season but come in the winter, and you’ll find a massive rotemburo (open-air bath) that the village creates every year for residents and visitors.

Wakayama is fast becoming one of my favorite prefectures in Japan. I’ll be heading there again in late January to do a temple stay on (probably snowy) Mt Koya so stay tuned for that!

2 thoughts on “Manhole Monday: Hongu

  1. I too loved Hongu and spent a couple of nights at Kawayu Onsen with three other guys. I say that only that it surprised each of us football hooligans that we loved the place that much – after the long bus ride.

    • It is a rather small town, isn’t it Tony? I am surprised you were happy to spend so much time there … but then the lure of the onsen can be fairly strong, I know! Glad you enjoyed it.

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