Introduction         Japan Information         Japan Travel Tips         Eating Out         Regional Information

Japan Regional Information

Chubu    Chugoku     Hokkaido     Kanto     Kansai     Kyushu     Okinawa     Shikoku    Tohoku

Hyogo     Kyoto     Mei     Nara     Osaka     Shiga     Wakayama

 

Wakayama

Sacred ground for mountain worship - Thick green forests and deep blue ocean
Wakayama expands from the center to the southernmost part of the Honshu Island (the mainland of Japan). The mysterious mountains on Wakayama have attracted many people as a sacred ground since ancient times.

The coastline has rows of precipitous cliffs, and the sea is studded with some 130 islands of all sizes. The mountains close to the coast have gone through numerous upheavals and submergences where formed complex topography. There are various types of oddly shaped and gigantic rocks around the ancient sacred ground in the mountains.

The climate is moderate. Wakayama is also blessed with many scenic spots, such as the Kumano-Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine in Mt. Nachi-san, the Sasuta-Hiko-jinja Shrine that worships the Nachi-no-o-taki Falls, Mt. Koya-san, the 1,200-year-old sacred ground for Buddhism in Japan and surrounding Koya-Ryujin Quasi-National Park and Yoshino-Kumano National Park, and the Kino-kawa River that irrigates the Wakayama Plain. Other must-sees are the Nanki Shirahama, one of the most prominent hot springs in the Kansai region and the cityscape of Wakayama-City that embraces the Wakayama Castle.

Getting there
Take JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line for 2 hours and 30 minutes from Tokyo Station to Shin-Osaka Station. Then take JR Hanwa Line for 1 hour from Shin-Osaka Station to Wakayama Station.
 

  • Doro-kyo Valley
    A 31-kilometer-long valley in the tributary of Kumano-gawa River with precipitous rock cliffs and gigantic, oddly shaped rocks
    The Doro-kyo Valley is situated in the eastern Wakayama at the border with Nara and Mie. It is a collective term for the 31-kilometer-long ravines along the Kitayama-gawa River, a tributary of the Kumano-gawa River in the Yoshino-Kumano National Park. The valley was formed by erosion on the slates and sandstones. It is separated into Shimo-Doro, Kami-Doro and Oku-Doro from the downstream. Shimo-Doro, also known as Shimo-Hatcho, has the best scenic beauty and is designated as the precious natural monument.

    Doro-Hatcho is a 1.2-kilometer-long ravine that stretches from Tamaoki-guchi in Kumano-gawa Town, Wakayama to Tado in Totsukawa Village, Nara. Sheer cliffs rise on both sides offering scenic views of gigantic rocks and oddly shaped rocks. You can view those scenes from a traditional Japanese style boat or a hovercraft that starts from Tamaoki-guchi or Shiko in the downstream.

    In Oku-Doro, You can experience rafting steered by an expert raftsman with a single pole through the rapid currents, or on a rubber boat with an instructor. There are Kumano-gawa-onsen Hot Spring, Iruka-onsen Hot Spring and Yunokuchi-onsen Hot Spring in the surrounding areas. A lorry train runs 1 kilometer between Iruka-onsen and Yunokuchi-onsen in 10 minutes.

    Getting there
    Take JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line for 1 hour and 36 minutes from Tokyo Station to Nagoya Station, then take JR Kansai and Kise Line for 3 hours and 10 minutes from Nagoya Station to Shingu Station. From Osaka, take JR Hanwa and Kise Line for 4 hours from Shin-Osaka Station to Shingu Station.

     

  • Hino-misaki and Dojo-ji Temple
    Cape Hino-misaki, a vista of the Pacific Ocean - Dojo-ji, the oldest temple in Wakayama
    Hino-misaki is a cape in the western part of the Kii-hanto Peninsula. The Shirama-sanmyaku Mountain Range ends in the ocean-facing cliffs of Mt. Hino-yama. The area around the lighthouse at the cape is Hino-misaki Park, with promenades as well as a view spot at an elevation of 200 meters overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The beautiful pinewoods of Enju-ga-hama Beach are 500 meters wide and extend for 6 kilometers. In the early 20th century, people who have immigrated to Canada or America, and those who returned to Japan built houses in a Western style, painted white or having a tiled roof with stucco. This exotic village is called America-mura, or American Village.

    Dojo-ji Temple is located in the northeast of Cape Hino-misaki and is the oldest temple in Wakayama, erected by the Emperor of that time in the early 8th century. The red-painted Nio-mon Gate, and the Hon-do, or Oratory, and many cultural properties are owned by the temple, such as the wooden sculpture of Senju-kan'non, or thousand armed Goddess of Mercy (Avaloketeshvara), a national treasure; Nikko and Gakko Bosatsu, or Boddhisatva of Sunlight and Moonlight; two Bishamonten or Vaishravana; Shi-ten'no (the four Devas) and two volumes of Dojo-ji-engi, a scroll picture in the 14th century.

    Getting there
    From Tokyo Station, 2 hours 30 minutes by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line to Shin-Osaka Station. From Shin-Osaka Station, 1 hour and 38 minutes by JR Hanwa-kisei- Line Express Train to Dojo-ji Station. Take bus to Hinomisaki, 40 minutes.

     

  • Katsuura
    Kino-matsushima dotted with 130 islets - Whale and dolphin watching
    Nachi-Katsuura-machi Town located in the southeast of Wakayama faces the Katsuura Bay on the southern coast of the Kii-hanto Peninsula. It has developed as a pilgrims' inn town for the worshipers of Kumano-Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine. Today it is a base for fishery that boasts one of the largest hauls of fresh tunas. The town has numerous eating houses where you can enjoy fresh gift from the sea to your heart's content.

    There is Kino-matsushima studded with some 130 islets in the Katsuura Bay. The inlets and rocks have unique names such as Camel Rock, Lion Islet and Tsuru or Crane Islet. You can cruise among the islets by pleasure boat.

    Hot springs are abundant in Katsuura. It is a representative hot spring site of Wakayama, rivaling with Shirahama. There are numerous hot springs, including the Boki-do Hot Spring inside a natural cave formed by waves and winds, Rakuda-no-yu or camel hot spring and Kishu Chomon-no-yu, a hot spring you bathe in while listening to the sound of the tide. Those hot springs are open to public in daytime as well. A boat for the Southern Kishu Maritime Experience Cruise starts from Ugui Port located between Katsuura and Shingu to enjoy watching whales or dolphins. The boat operates from late April to late September. You may see a sperm whale during five months from spring to autumn, and dolphins throughout the year.

    Getting there
    Take JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line for 1 hour and 36 minutes from Tokyo Station to Nagoya Station, then take JR Kansai and Kise Line for 3 hours and 20 minutes from Nagoya Station to Kii-Katsuura Station. From Osaka, take JR Hanwa and Kise Line for 3 hours and 40 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station to Kii-Katsuura Station.

     

  • Kumano Hongu
    The Head Shrine of Kumano-jinja Shrines, one of the Three Great Kumano Shrines - Kumano-kodo, or the Old Kumano Path, the stone paved path covered with green moss
    Located in the southeast part of Wakayama and within Kumano-Yoshino National Park, Kumano Hongu-Taisha Shrine is the Head Temple of over 3,000 Kumano-jinja shrines in Japan and is one of the Three Great Kumano Shrines, together with Kumano Hayatama-jinja Shrine and Kumano Nachi-jinja Shrine. It was originally built in the sandbar, O-yu-no-hara, at the junction of three rivers, the Kumano, the Otonashi and the Iwata. However, the great flood at the end of 19th century washed it away and the shrine was reconstructed in the present location.

    Shin-mon, the main gate, Hai-den and Shin-den, shrines dedicated to deities have the quietness of the past and remind us of the time when this place was the center of worship of the Three Great Kumano Shrines.

    Kumano-mode, or the visit to Kumano, has been deeply rooted in people's lives since the 14th century. So many people have visited the shrine to pray that it was referred to as "The Visit of Ants". The Old Kumano Path has many historical sites and stone monuments and the stone paved road covered with green moss is now a popular walking route. Two hot springs are well known in the Kumano Hongu area. Kawayu-onsen Hot Spring is unique as a hole is dug in the dry riverbed for hot water to fill naturally. Yunomine-onsen Hot Spring is beautiful in the autumn foliage and has one of the largest open-air hot springs.

    Getting there
    From Tokyo Station, 2 hours 30 minutes by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line to Shin-Osaka Station. From Shin-Osaka Station, 2 hours by JR Hanwa-kisei Honsen Line Express Train to Shirahama Station. From Shirahama Station, take a bus to Kumano Hongu Taisha, 1 hour 18 minutes.

     

  • Kushimoto
    Shiono-misaki, the southernmost cape and inlets of a saw-toothed coastline - Azure sea where table coral grows
    Southernmost part of Wakayama is Kushimoto and the southernmost cape, Shiono-misaki. It is here that the warm current that flows along the Japanese archipelago comes closest to Honshu (the mainland of Japan), thus making this area a rich fishing ground. The sea around this area is high in transparency and most of the coastline has high cliffs, strangely shaped rocks and inlets typical of a saw-toothed coastline, which are designated as part of Kumano-Yoshino National Park.

    In the azure ocean stretching westward from the base of cape Shiono-misaki, table coral grow in colonies. Kushimoto Kaichu-koen Park is the first sea park ever to be designated in Japan and over 300 kinds of creatures live in the sea around here. Visitors can watch tropical fish swimming from the glass window of the sea-observation area 140 meters from the shore, or from semi-submarine style sightseeing boat. Fishing spots along the coast are crowded with fishermen looking for a big catch.

    Hot springs are abundant and visitors can take a bath to refresh themselves in hotels and public baths run by the town. The Kushimoto-matsuri Festival is held in July every year. People of each group dress in the same style of yukata (an informal cotton kimono) to compete in the design and also compete in the dance of Kushimoto-bushi-so-odori.

    Getting there
    From Tokyo Station, 2 hours 30 minutes by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line to Shin-Osaka Station. From Shin-Osaka Station, 3 hours 5 minutes by JR Kii Honsen Line to Kushimoto Station. From Tokyo Station to Nagoya Station, 1 hour 45 minutes by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line. From Nagoya Station, 3 hours 15 minutes by JR Kii Honsen Line Express Train to Shingu Station, From Shingu Station to Kushimoto Station, 55 minutes by JR Hanwa Line.

     

  • Mt. Koya-san
    The Head temple of Shingon-mikkyo, or 1,200-year-old Esoteric Buddhism, The Dai-mon Gate, 25 meters high, serves as the main entrance
    Mt. Koya-san is located in the northeastern part of Wakayama and is in Koya-Ryujin Quasi-National Park. On the peak of Mt. Koya-san, surrounded by mountains, is Kongobu-ji Temple, founded by Kobo Taishi, the Head Temple of Esoteric Buddhism, which has a 1200-year-long history. More that 120 temples are scattered throughout the area, thus forming a great religious city.

    A number of structures exist in the mountain. For instance, the 25-meter-high Dai-mon Gate, Important Cultural Property, that has served as the main entrance to the temple ever since its founding day, or the temple structure complex, National Treasure, and the Danjo-garan complex. Koyazan-Reiho-kan Treasure House exhibits the tremendous cultural properties of Mt. Koya-san. Lodging facilities are provided by the temple for the followers, available also for visitors. The meal served is Shojin-ryori, special vegetarian food using only vegetables, cereals and seaweed and avoiding meat and fish. Some of the temples offer chances to experience zazen, a kind of Zen Buddhist training.

    Getting there
    From Tokyo Station, 2 hours 30 minutes by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line to Shin-Osaka Station. From Shin-Osaka Station, take subway to Nanba Station, 15 minutes. From Namba Station, 1 hour 45 minutes by Nankai Tetsudo Line Express to Gokuraku-bashi Station. From Gokuraku-bashi, take Koya-san Cable to Koya-san, 5 minutes.

     

  • Mt. Nachi-san
    Nachi primeval forest, a place of asceticism for devoted mountain god worshipers, and 133-meter-high Nachi-no-taki Falls
    Mt. Nachi-san, a generic name for the mountains surrounding Kumano-Nachi Taisha Shrine located upstream of the Nachi-gawa River in the southeast of Wakayama, is part of Yoshino-Kumano National Park. Its whole neighborhood is a timberland called Nachi primeval forest and has been revered as a place of asceticism for mountain god worshipers.

    In the Mt. Nachi-san area is the Kumano-Nachi Taisha Shrine having five Shinto buildings called "Kumano-Gongen" (avatar of Kumano) structure, which are important cultural properties of Japan and are the architectural style of the 8th through 10th century. Other places worth a visit include the Seiganto-ji Temple with a vermilion three-storied pagoda, a Mt. Nachi-san's symbol, and the Hiryu-jinja Shrine, the holy to worship the Nachi-no-taki Falls, also known as "Ichi-no-taki", as what symbolizes the divine spirit. The three-storied pagoda of the Seiganto-ji Temple was reconstructed in 1972, and its view spot affords a full view of the Nachi-no-taki Falls.

    Every summer, the Kumano-Nachi Taisha annual grand festival is staged. Known as "Fire Festival of Nachi (Nachi-no-himatsuri) ", it climaxes in the "purification of Ogi-mikoshi" that takes place at the stairways of Hiryu-jinja Shrine, where twelve units of Ogi-mikoshi (1-meter-wide and 6-meter-long portable shrine decorated with fans) are "burned" by way of purification with the sparks from twelve giant torches weighing 50 kilograms that the bearers swing around as they go up and down the stone stairs.

    Getting there
    An hour and 40 minutes to Nagoya Station from Tokyo Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line. Three hours and 20 minutes from Nagoya Station to Kii-Katsuura Station by JR Kisei Honsen Line. Three hours and 30 minutes to Kii-Katsuura Station from Shin-Osaka by JR Kisei Honsen Line. Thirty minutes to Daimon-zaka from Kii-Katsuura Station by Kumano Kotsu bus.

     

  • Nanki Shirahama
    A large spot of leisure facing the Pacific Ocean with wall-like bluffs and tiered Senjo-jiki (thousand "tatami" matted rock)
    Nanki, a generic name for the entire southwestern part of Wakayama, is a large spot of leisure containing various amusement facilities, beaches and places where you can enjoy marine sports, golfing and tennis. Shirahama-cho, a center town of Nanki, is a typical hot-spring resort facing the Pacific Ocean in the Kii-hanto Peninsula and is known as one of Japan's three largest spas together with Beppu in Oita and Atami in Shizuoka.

    Collectively called the Shirahama-onsen Hot Springs comprises the Yuzaki-onsen Hot Spring, long known for open-air bathing in manually hollowed rock tubs and other hot springs at Shirahama opened early in the 20th century, Higashi-Shirahama, Tsunashirazu and others.

    In and around Shirahama are many places of natural beauty visited by a large number of tourists throughout the year, such as Engetsu-jima Island, an uninhabited rock isle with a round sea cave open in the middle of it, and Sandan-beki (three-tiered wall) with 50 to 60-meter-high precipitous rock walls extending about 2 kilometers from south to north. Another must-see is Senjo-jiki, a huge multi-tiered rock that looks like a thousand "tatami" matted (senjo-jiki) floor created by the erosion of soft sandstone by raging waves.

    Getting there
    An hour and 5 minutes to Nanki-Shirahama Airport from Tokyo Haneda Airport in Tokyo. Twenty-five minutes from Nanki-Shirahama Airport to Shirahama Station by bus. Two hours and 30 minutes to Shin-Osaka Station from Tokyo Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line. Two hours and 15 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station to Shirahama Station by JR Kisei Honsen Line.

     

  • Wakayama City
    The castle tower of Wakayama Castle commands a view of the whole city - Small inlets and islands in the sea create the beauty of Waka-no-ura
    Wakayama City is the prefectural center of politics, economy and culture, located on the Wakayama Plain at the mouth of Kino-kawa River. In the latter half of the 16th century, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the man who conquered this plain, decided to build Wakayama Castle on Mt. Fukko. It was later reorganized by Tokugawa Yorinobu, the 10th son of Tokugawa Ieyasu, as a castle town in the early 17th century. Reconstruction of Tenshu-kaku, or the castle tower, took place after the Second World War and Oni-gawara, or decorative tiles, and armors of that time are on display in the Exhibition Room. An observation deck provides a view of the city.

    Waka-no-ura in the southern part of the city is a scenic spot that appears in poetry from ancient times. The road runs in the middle of cliffs following the naturally winding feature of this place, which makes every turn on the cape exciting to see the different views. Houses around the inlets are clustered in tiers and are beautifully in keeping with the small islands in the sea.

    Kimii-dera Temple located at the middle of Mt. Nagusa-yama is a famous spot for early cherry blossoms. Stone steps lead to the Main Gate and then to Shoro, or the Belfry, Taishi-do and Hon-do, or the Oratory, overlook Waka-no-ura.

    "Wakayama Marine City Porto Europe" was built in the image of a harbor town in Europe. It is a popular place for dining, and so is a ride called waterslider in the amusement park.

    Getting there
    From Tokyo Station, 2 hours 30 minutes by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line to Shin-Osaka Station. From Shin-Osaka Station to Wakayama Station, 1 hour by JR Hanwa Line Limited Express.

Back to the Top 

 

  Information provided by Japan National Tourist Organization.

 

Home | Bhutan | Brunei | Cambodia | China-Yunnan | East Timor | Hong Kong | India | Indonesia | Japan | Kazakstan | Korea | Kyrgystan | Laos | Malaysia Maldives | Mongolia | Myanmar | Nepal | Pakistan | Philippines | Singapore | Sri Lanka | Tajikistan | Taiwan | Thailand | Tibet | Turkmenistan | Vietnam Uzbekistan

 

Website partner : Asia-planet.com...Tours and Hotels around Asia.
Version Francaise : Planete-asie.com

Copyright © 2002 Orasia co.,ltd. (Asia-planet.net) All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission prohibited.