Top Things to Do in Wakayama Prefecture
November 10, 2016
1. Hike the ancient pilgrimage route of the Kumano Kodo
Discover a route which has been walked by pilgrims for hundreds of years. Walk through the thick cedar forest dotted with shrines and temples. Enjoy breathtaking mountain views, soak up the fresh air and be mesmerized by the deep green colors of Japan’s nature.
2. Marvel at Japan's highest waterfall right next to the ancient temple complex of Nachi
Japan's highest waterfall drops 133m nearby the ancient temple complex at Nachi. Get your ultimate Japan travel photo of the waterfall next to a beautiful red pagoda.
Address: Nachisan, Nachikatsuura, Higashimuro District, Wakayama Prefecture 649-5301
3. Soak in one of the many unique hot springs
Dig your own onsen in Kawayu, stay at one of Japan’s oldest hot spring resorts in Yunomine and boil eggs in the hot spring water there, or enjoy the ocean view whilst soaking in Saki-no-yu in Shirahama, a rock pool hot spring next to the ocean.
4. Stay overnight at a temple in Koyasan
Of the over 200 temples in ancient Koyasan, over 50 offer visitors the opportunity to experience an overnight stay. Eat the traditional Shojin-ryouri, the vegetarian Buddhist cuisine, sleep on tatami mats in a traditional Japanese room, and join the monks for their morning prayers and chants.
Address (Kongobuji) : 132 Koyasan, Koya, Ito District, Wakayama Prefecture 648-0294
5. Dive into a different world at Koyasan Okunoin
Sun rays filter through the ancient trees, revealing old moss-covered shrine gates and thousands of tombs: walking through this graveyard will give you an eerie, fairy-tale-like feeling. Many important Buddhist figures, including Kobo Daishi, have at least some of their remains enshrined at Okunoin, one of the most significant places of Buddhism in Japan.
6. Relax at the beach in the beautiful resort town of Shirahama
Escape the hustle of the big city in Shirahama, and let it enchant you with its perfectly white beach. Go for a swim, a walk, or rest your feet in the hot spring footbath. For the full onsen experience, visit Saki-no-yu. Adventurous travelers will want to check out the numerous cliffs and rock formations in the area.
7. Visit the real-life 'Castle in the Sky' island of Tomogashima
The main island of the Tomogashima group of islands is thought to have inspired the scenery of one of Studio Ghibli's most famous anime, Castle in the Sky. The old bunkers from wartime hidden in the lush green nature give you indeed a mystical feeling. The island itself is a beautiful spot with tall trees and grassy hills, surrounded by the blue Wakayama sea.
To get to Tomogashima island, take a train from Wakayama-shi (not to be confused with JR Wakayama Station!) until Kada Station. From there a ferry runs every hour or so. Be aware that in windy or stormy weather the ferry won't run, so double-check on the day you plan to visit.
Ferry timetable (Japanese only): http://tomogashimakisen.com/jikoku.html (2000 yen return for adults)
8. Experience the traditional way of making soy sauce at Yuasa
Have you ever wanted to know how soy sauce was made? In Yuasa, you can observe the traditional process first-hand. The company takes between 1 and 2 years to finalize their product and has won international prizes for its superior quality. Finish off your trip with a lightly soy-sauce flavored soft serve.
Address: 1464 Yuasa, Yuasa, Arida District, Wakayama Prefecture 643-0004
9. Marina City
Marina City offers something for everyone. Eat fresh seafood at the Kuroshio Market. Visit a charming and authentic replica of a Southern European city with an attached theme park at Porto Europa. Get some of Wakayama’s freshest fruit at the Fruits Village, and finally relax in a hot spring overlooking Wakayama’s beautiful turquoise blue ocean.
Address: 1527 Kemi, Wakayama City, Wakayama Prefecture 641-0014
At home anywhere in the world. Foreign language addict. In favour of living with simple means. Currently living the dream in a small seaside & mountainside town in Wakayama prefecture, Japan. Embracing the quiet countryside life and my daily portion of natto.