The island of Nakanoshima
Had a great onsen (hotel built over a hot springs) trip recently, down past south Mie into coastal Wakayama. Ironically, it was quite close to the town where "The Cove" was filmed but we didn't let that bother us.
The hotel was on an island, just a rock sticking out of the ocean. You took a boat from the mainland and the only thing on this rock was the hotel. Somehow though, the building magically spun the entire perimeter of the island. They had a picture of what it looks like from the air and it is pretty impressive, rock with a layer of building around the edge (picture above).
The onsen was really nice, the guy's onsen was straight up against the ocean. People on boats could see in really easily but nobody really seemed to care that much. It had a distinct sulfur smell, something most onsens didn't have, however the sulfur lent to the authenticity. Actually the onsen pool had a cave behind it where water was spewing out in irregular bursts and I'm pretty sure that was coming directly from the source - it was a little hotter than most onsen water. I think it may have been the "most natural" onsen I've ever been in.
The food was of course amazing as expected. The town the hotel is in is considered one of the tuna "capitals" of Japan. Tuna generally makes for some of the best, if not the best sashimi (raw fish slices) and so the sashimi was truly amazing and tasted good in a way it never has before.
There was also a train game in the arcade that I've always wanted to play, and Leizel played the mole-bopping game for awhile. We snuck into the arcade early in the day before all the families with children arrived.
Pictures of food and onsen below:
Dinner and all its many small items.
Japanese hotels really lay it out in a way that is quite pleasing to the eye.
This is the outdoor hot springs at the hotel, luckily there was nobody inside when I got this picture. You can see the rock is colored, indicating volcanic activity under the island which produces the hot water naturally.
This picture was taken at low tide but at high tide the sea water comes almost all the way up to the edge of the bath.