Three World Heritage Sites~Two Days in Kumano:First day~

Three World Heritage Sites~Two Days in Kumano:First day~

It’s rare that you can visit three world heritage sites in a single day, even more rare to be able to visit three within 30 minutes! Join me on my trip to Kumano, Mie where I explore the old and discover the new!

And from the top of the seawall you can get a great view of Shichiri Beach stretching out several kilometers to the south.

Next to Hananoiwaya Shrine is O-Tsuna Chaya Cafe. Originally made as a small shop to serve visitors of the neighboring Hananoiwaya Shrine, O-Tsuna Chaya Cafe is a spacious café and souvenir shop located next to the main road in front of Shichiri Beach.

The facilities themselves were constructed by the local government, but are operated by a citizen run NPO. Many of the dishes sold at the café use locally grown black rice. You can also purchase some souvenirs made with the same rice.

There is a dining area located both inside the main structure, as well as in a courtyard between the two buildings. I sat in the courtyard after ordering the recommended Izanamimai udon, which is made with black rice. Udon, traditionally white, gets its color from the flour, so I’m a little curious to see what this will look like!

While waiting for my early lunch, a large tour group came in from the parking lot and made their way over to shrine next door. I thought that between the shrine and this café, it’s a rather busy area!

Soon, a cute set including a small bowl of speckled udon - the speckles coming from the black rice mixed with the flour, two roasted rice balls, also with black rice mixed in, and some pickles and seaweed. The udon had a pleasant chewiness and the rice balls, which were toasted, were very satisfying! I enjoyed the pickles but one piece of seaweed was enough for me. All in all, a great snack!

I spoke to one of the staff members, Ms. Mukoyama. She explained, “Visitors can come here and enjoy the black rice, the shrine, the beautiful ocean - and beautiful smiles!” I confirmed it - she had a beautiful smile!

Although I came to Kumano by car, you can also come by train and walk to all of these locations. They are all within 2 kilometers of the JR Kumano-Shi Station.

For more stories about my 2 day trip, check out this article!

Tourist attractions covered by this article