5 destinations to check out in Wakayama
Often overlooked by its famous neighbor Osaka, this humble Japanese prefecture houses one of the most famous and delicious ramen in Japan, a 1,700-year-old festival of fireworks, temples, shrines, pilgrimage roads and hot springs. If your seeking a full Japanese experience, check out this unique prefecture on the south coast of the country’s largest island, Honshu.
1. Kumano Kodo
Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kumano Kodo is one of the oldest and most sacred sites in Japan and has been a mecca in the pilgrimage of Japanese Buddhist monks for centuries. Areas like Kumano Sanzan, Koyasan, Yoshino and Omine are connected by the pilgrimage routes of Kumano Kodo. Starting at Wakayama Prefecture, Kumano Kodo extends all the way to the Ise Shrine in Mie Prefecture. This is a perfect destination for avid hikers or nature lovers.
Address: Nakahechicho Kurisugawa, Tanabe, Wakayama Prefecture
Access: 29 minutes by car from the Asso Station in Wakayama
2. Sandanbeki Dokutsu
One of the most beautiful natural caves in Japan. With 2 km of depth, it takes visitors through an underground adventure full of historical sites and natural beauty.
Visitors will be required to pay for entrance as they cannot enter on their own and should be accompanied by a guide. The Sandanbeki Cave is one of the most beautiful and mysterious attractions of Wakayama.
Sandanbeki Dokutsu Cave
Address: 2927-52 Shirohama-Cho, Nishimuro Distric, Wakayama Prefecture
Access: 25 minutes by bus from Shirohama Station
Hours: 8h to 17h
Admission fee: ¥ 1,300 for adults (above high school); ¥ 650 for children (elementary school); Free entry (below primary school).
3. Nanki Shirahama Adventure World
Nanki Shirahama Adventure World is a huge entertainment complex consisting of an amusement park, Safari Park Zoo, an aquarium, shops, restaurants, attractions and a special area called Panda Land. Visitors can spend the day seeing several animals on the Safari Zoo tour or have fun watching the great Pandas in Panda Land. Nanki Shirahama Adventure World’s facilities offer many fun options for the whole family.
Nanki Shirahama Adventure World
Address: 2399 Katata, Shirahama-cho, Nishimuro district, Wakayama prefecture
Access: 10 minutes by bus from Shirahama Station
Hours: 9h30 to 17h
* Closed on Wednesdays
Admission fee: ¥ 4,100 for adults (above high school); ¥ 3,700 for seniors; ¥ 3,300 yen for elementary / middle school students; ¥ 2,500 for children (preschool).
4. Yosui Park
This beautiful Japanese garden runs along the water, located in the western part of Wakayama prefecture, offering visitors a delicious breeze while resting amidst its beauty of over 200 years. Classified as a Cultural Heritage by the Japanese Government, visitors to Wakayama who love Japanese gardens definitely shouldn’t miss the chance to see Yosui Park.
Address: 1188 Nishihama, Wakayama, Wakayama Prefecture
Access: 15 minutes by bus from Kimiidera station
Hours: 9h to 17h
Near the Seto Sea in Wakayama there is a set of 4 islands called Tomogashima. These islands have long been used as training camps for Buddhist Shugendo monks. Now visitors see the pristine nature of the islands and can enjoy the beautiful green scenery all year round.
During the Meiji era, for a certain period there was a military complex on the island that is now covered by vegetation. The military complex and the famous Tomogashima lighthouse are unique and intriguing, so for those looking to take lots of photos during a tourist adventure this is a great tour.
Address: Tomogashima, Japan
Access: 20 minutes by ferry from Kada port
Admission fee: ¥ 2,000 (adults); ¥ 1,000 (children)
* Discount for groups of 15 people or more (must be confirmed in advance)