Wakayama, Japan’s spiritual heartland attracts visitors and pilgrims with the ancient mountaintop temple complex of Koyasan, the World Heritage listed Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route, and picturesque beaches.
Wakayama, located in the south of the Kansai area is surrounded by the Kii mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The prefectural capital, Wakayama city, home to an impressive castle is easy access to the Kansai airport. Wakayama offers some of the most popular destinations include Kumano Kodo, the sacred sites and pilgrimage routes in the Kii Mountains and the Buddhist pilgrimage site of Mt. Koyasan. Shirahama Onsen hot springs is known throughout Japan along with the sparkling white sands of Shirarahama beach. It is also a great place to enjoy fresh seafood.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
” Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range”
- Mt. Koyasan
There are numerous beaches including beautiful white sandy beaches dotted its 600 km of coastline. Visitors can enjoy snorkeling, scuba diving and whale watching.
Enjoy the maple leaves at Wakayama Castle just as its feudal lords once did. From late October to early November, the Autumn Leaves bathes the sacred mountain of Koyasan in deep crimsons.
Wakayama is one of Japan’s oldest and best onsen hot springs destinations. The variety of hot springs, set in natural backdrops, is amazing.
Local Specialties of Wakayama
Umeboshi is the salt-pickled plum. Wakayama’s Nanko Ume plums are famous throughout Japan. There are so many varieties of ume products which can be found when travelling in Wakayama.
Mehari-zushi is rice ball wrapped in pickled mustard leaves. Mehari-zushi was a common food as an easy to carry food item in ancient days. Nowadays, they are often in packed lunch, especially along the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes.
Kishu Yuasa Shoyu is the salty tamari-based condiment, soy sauce. The small town of Yuasa is the birthplace of Japanese soy sauce. It was first discovered by a monk, while making miso-bean paste around 1254 in the Kamakura period.
Getting to Wakayama
Wakayama can be accessed by JR express trains from Kyoto, Osaka. There are Nankai train and bus services from Osaka, Namba and easy connections for flights into Kansai International Airport.
From Tokyo : You can reach the area via Nagoya by train, or fly into Nanki-Shirahama Airport in just over an hour.