Canoeing and Hot Spring Hopping in Hyogo
Japan is famous for big cities full of neon signs that keep lighting all night and religious buildings such as temples and shrines. However, there is more to do in the country. Being full surrounded by the sea, three quarters of its land covered with mountains, Japan has a lot of nature to explore. Canoeing in Hyogo is one of the best ways to spend your vacation in the nature. It is highly recommended not only because of its amazing experience you can get but also because there is another thing you can do nearby; hot spring hopping in Kinosaki.
The San’in Kaigan Geopark
Takeno in Hyogo is located in the area called “San’in Kaigan Geopark”,(http://sanin-geo.jp/en/) which stretches from the eastern edge of Kyotango City, Kyoto Prefecture, to the western edge of Tottori City, Tottori Prefecture. The geopark was admitted to the GGN (Global Geoparks Network) by UNESCO in 2014. At Takeno beach, you can simply enjoy swimming, but canoeing lets you explore the magnificent coastline even more. There are eight shops that offer canoeing activity with different courses (http://www.takeno-geocanoe.com/en/). For example, at the Beach House MERI (http://t-motherearth.com/meri/english/), you can go see the cave named “Yodo-no Do-mon” that has a tale that an ogre was living inside of the cave long time ago.
The Beach House MERI
For all the activity, a certificated instructor guides you and shows you how to paddle. The tour starts with a lecture on how to use paddles on the beach and after practicing paddling in shallow water, you are ready to go.
The guide lasts for about 2 hours so you can fully enjoy the view, visit some beautiful sights along the coastline. The instructor also takes many photos of you with amazing nature behind you. They know which angle is the best, so you do not have to worry about taking instagramworthy pictures while paddling.
If you have time to waste, the guide might change the route a little bit and take you further. Of course, if you get seasick, the instructor will give you time to take a rest. The tour is very flexible so only you need to do is have fun and enjoy.
After canoeing, it is a great idea to take a train for 20 minutes and go relax in hot spring in Kinosaki Onsen area. ( https://visitkinosaki.com/ )
This year it has been exactly 1300 years since hot springs in the area were opened in 720, Nara-era. If you stay the night at a ryokan (a Japanese style hotel), you can use the spa in the hotel. However, in the Kinosaki Onsen area, it is also popular to go hot spring hopping. There are seven of them that are open to public, so you do not have to have a hotel reservation to get in. It might sound a bit strange to take a bath at seven locations one after another, but none of them are the same: different atmosphere with unique buildings and different temperature of the bath. Moreover, on the way walking between those spas, you will find many cafes and gift shops. Eat, shop and hot spring, eat, shop and hot spring… isn’t this the best way to spend your vacation?
If you are visiting Kansai region, include Takeno and Kinosaki in your To-Go list. To get to Takeno or Kinosaki, you can take an express train from Kyoto station or Osaka station for about two hours and a half. It is not very convenient when you think of the time it takes to get there, but it’s worth it. You can enjoy the view during the journey to the towns and what you can experience there will surely be one of the best of your trip in Japan.
Author: Yurika Haneda