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Japan's largest village, accessible by Japan's longest route bus! 6 ways to enjoy Totsukawa Onsen Village in Nara Prefecture

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Totsukawa Village is located at the southernmost tip of Nara Prefecture and is famous as the largest village in Japan (about three times the size of Osaka City!). Surrounded by 1,000 meter high mountains, Totsukawa Onsenkyo has many spots that attract many people, including hot springs with excellen...

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Hot springs free-flowing hot spring on the Kumano Kodo. This part of Totsukawa Onsenkyo is amazing!

Enjoy 3 types of hot springs, all free-flowing hot spring.

Totsukawa Village, where more than 90% of the village is covered by forests, is characterized by the scenery of the Totsu River, which boasts abundant emerald green water, and the mountains. There are three different hot spring areas within the village: Yusenji Onsen, Totsukawa Onsen, and Kamiyu Onsen, and Totsukawa is the one that declares that all the inns, guesthouses, and public baths in the village have free-flowing hot spring. What's great about hot springs? The quality of the spring water is so great that it has been certified as a national resort hot spring .

The village is dotted with three hot springs, spots where you can experience the dynamic nature, and restaurants where you can enjoy delicious food, so we recommend taking the time to explore by car. The hot springs and their effects are as follows.

"Tosenji Onsen" : Simple sulfur spring. It is said to be effective against all diseases

"Totsukawa Onsen" : Sodium hydrogen carbonate/chloride spring. It has a beautifying effect on the skin and does not make you feel cold after bathing. Drinking hot springs are also possible.

"Kamiyu Onsen" : Sulfur-containing sodium hydrogen carbonate spring. It is said to have beautifying effects

“Kohechi” of the World Heritage Site Kumano Kodo passes through

Kumano Kodo was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004 as a "sacred site and pilgrimage route in the Kii Mountains." Totsukawa Onsenkyo is connected to Kobechi, which connects Mt. Koya and Kumano Hongu Taisha. The difficulty level is high, as you have to cross many passes over 1,000m above sea level, but the panoramic views that come with being a mountain pass are spectacular, and many tourists visit this route along with the Kumano Kodo.

Totsukawa Village is a vast village dotted with attractive spots. From here, I will tell you how to get around Totsukawa Onsen Village to the fullest.

1. Totsukawa Village’s symbol “Tanise Suspension Bridge”

You can go to Totsukawa Village Hall (Totsukawa Onsen) by bus or car, but we recommend starting your sightseeing at Uenoji (Tanise Suspension Bridge), which is a little before that, as it will be a more efficient way to get around the village. A short walk from the bus stop will take you to Tanise Suspension Bridge, the symbol of Totsukawa Village, across a large valley.

This suspension bridge connecting Uenoji and Tanise is 297 meters long and 54 meters high. When you actually cross it, you will be surprised at its height and distance. Below you can see the beautiful emerald green Totsu River flowing, which is a thrilling experience!

2. Gather information while drinking coffee at “labo”

After crossing the Tanise suspension bridge, it takes about 5 minutes to walk along the gentle mountain path. A place you should definitely visit when you start sightseeing in Totsukawa is the cafe `` labo ''.

This cafe is run by Hanako and Tarek, who were enchanted by Totsukawa Village and relocated there, you can enjoy drinks such as "Totsukawa Blend (¥500)" and "Tanise Amazake (¥600)," as well as food items like "Croque Monsieur (¥800)" and "Chicken Shawarma (¥800)." Dessert options include "Cinnamon Roll (¥400)" and "Tanise Blueberry Muffin (¥400)" among others. (*Vegan options available).

Inside the shop, the two of them did some DIY work while listening to the advice of a carpenter. The record collection and audio are also great!

To recharge my energy before sightseeing, I ordered a croque monsieur, banana cupcake, and Totsukawa blend. When you bite into the croque monsieur, the cheese becomes melty. It's extremely voluminous, so you'll be completely satisfied with just one dish. The gentle sweetness of the banana cupcakes and the bittersweet Totsukawa blend, which was very pleasant to the touch and easy to drink, were also exquisite.

``I created a cafe because I wanted to create a place where people visiting Totsukawa Village and locals can have fun and interact.In my free time, I work as a sightseeing taxi driver and guide in Japanese and English. We are here to help, so if you have any trouble with your sightseeing plan, please feel free to ask us," says Mr. Tsunoda. It was a wonderful cafe where you could not only enjoy delicious food but also discover unique encounters and information not found in guidebooks.

3. Relax in the open-air bath while looking at the waterfall at Taki no Yu

Takinoyu is one of the popular public baths in Yusenchi Onsen, one of the three hot spring resorts. You can enjoy both indoor and outdoor baths here.

After taking a hot bath, head to the indoor bath. Yusenji Onsen has a faint sulfur scent and is said to be effective against various illnesses and injuries.

The open-air bath while watching the falling waterfall is also great! Surrounded by beautiful nature and the sound of waterfalls, soaking in the piping hot water will soothe the fatigue of your travels.

4. “Doro Gorge” where you will be overwhelmed by the majestic scenery created by nature

Dorokyo Gorge, which is located within Yoshino-Kumano National Park and straddles the three prefectures of Nara, Mie, and Wakayama, is also a must-visit spot if you come to Totsukawa Village. The great gorge created by ancient nature has a majestic feel to it due to the contrast between the towering cliffs and the clear, mysterious cobalt blue river.

In addition to taking photos (recommended early in the morning or on a moonlit night), there are also activities such as canoeing and SUPing down the river, so make sure to take the time to enjoy them. The delicious air and refreshing river breeze will make you feel refreshed from within.

5. “Doro Hotel” is the base for rest and activities in the Doro Gorge

If you're tired of playing in the river, head to the Doro Hotel, located at the entrance of the Doro Gorge. At this cafe, you can enjoy drinks such as homemade ginger ale, seasonal citrus juice, and coffee, as well as hayashi rice and seasonal rice while looking out at the beautiful scenery.

In addition, you can take a break in your room and have a variety of experience options (canoeing, fishing, rental bicycles), so be sure to check them out as well.

6. Ebisu-so, an inn where you can relax with vegetable dishes and hot springs

A recommended place to stay is Totsukawa Onsen, which has many inns and restaurants in the village. Among them, `` Ryokan Ebisuso '' is popular as an inn where you can enjoy exquisite locally produced vegetable dishes and hot springs free-flowing hot spring.

There are two types of hot springs: indoor baths (family baths) and open-air baths, and one of the attractions is that the indoor baths can be reserved for private use. Another great thing about the open-air bath is that there is no time limit, so you can take a bath whenever you like.

The dishes prepared by the host, Mr. Tamaki, using vegetables grown in the village are also a special feature of Ebisu-so. When I tried one radish dish, both the ingredients and the sauce on it were amazing, and I was constantly amazed, saying, ``Vegetables can be so delicious!'' The hotpot made with large mushrooms, a specialty of Totsukawa Village, is also delicious. It was a wonderful inn that made me feel warm and warm in mind and body.

Access information

When traveling from Tokyo by Shinkansen, train, or bus

Totsukawa Village can only be accessed by bus or car. From Tokyo Station, take the Tokaido Shinkansen to Kyoto Station, then take the Kintetsu Nara Line to Yamato-Yagi Station. From Yamato-Yagi Station, take Limited Express 301 bound for Shingu (bus) and get off at Totsukawa Village Hall. The bus ride takes about 5 hours, with two breaks along the way. (The total time it takes is about 7 hours) There are only three buses a day, so be sure to check the schedule before using.

If going by car from Osaka

From Matsubara JCT on the Hanwa Expressway, transfer to Minami Hanna Road at Mihara JCT. From there, head to Katsuragi IC and take the Keinawa Expressway to Gojo IC. Head to Totsukawa Onsen via National Route 310 and National Route 168. National Route 168 is a mountain road with many curves, and the road may freeze over in the winter, so be sure to take breaks and drive with care.

Check access information to Totsukawa Village

Written by

National Resort Onsen(hot Spring) Area are designated by the Minister of the Environment based on the Hot Springs Act as healthy recreation hot spring areas where the effects of hot spring use are expected to be sufficient. There are 79 designated hot spring areas throughout the country. (As of October 2022) The selection of national hot spring resorts is generally based on the following criteria. Part 1 Conditions regarding hot spring quality and gushing amount Part 2 Conditions regarding the environment etc. of hot spring resorts

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