Wakayama, Japan Feb. 28 Wed 12:56PM
The Kingdom of Fruit
Wakayama Prefecture produces the "perfect mandarin," and is thus also known as the Kingdom of Fruit. It is located on the Kii Peninsula in the Kansai Region of Japan. The prefecture is known for Mount Koya or Koyasan, a large mountain serving as the headquarters of Shingon Buddhism. This is probably the best place to experience an overnight visit to a Japanese temple!
Wakayama consists of nine cities: Arida, Gobō, Hashimoto, Iwade, Kainan, Kinokawa, Shingū, Tanabe, and Wakayama.
Ide Shoten’s “chuka soba,” commonly known as ramen, was voted Japan’s most delicious. This shop is located within walking distance from Wakayama JR station.
The Kuroshio-Ichiba Market is a wonderful fish market that performs tuna-cutting shows three times daily. Also near here is the Porto Europa amusement park! These areas are accessible via shuttle bus from Kainan JR Station.
The other notable fish market in Wakayama is the Katsuura Port fish market. This place is famous for catching the largest tuna in all Japan. Katsuura town is a fun place to visit as it offers lots of various seafood samples for visitors to try! Katsuura is a five minute walk from the Kii-Katsuura JR Station!
Kumano Kodo is a lesser known but incredibly serene Kii Mountain hike. Originally an ancient pilgrimage, this spiritual path is both eye-opening and enlightening. Start at Tanabe City at the Kii-Tanabe JR Station and end at Nachi Fall, near the Nachi JR Station. For more information on this area check out our Kumano Kodo Article!
There is one sole UNESCO World Heritage Hot Spring in the world, and it exists right here in Wakayama. The Yunomine Onsen is not only culturally significant and beautiful, but it is a fun and unique experience. They offer you a chance to boil your own “onsen tamago,” which are eggs boiled in a hot spring. The activity is BYOE (Bring your own egg) but there is a local store nearby in case you forget! The onsen is an equidistant bus ride from both Kii-Tanabe and Shingu JR Stations.
Play with FIRE at Wakayama’s annual Nachi Fire Festival. This celebration honors the homecoming of the Nachi Waterfall god. At this event you will observe young Japanese uniformed men chanting and carrying gigantic basins of fire up and down the stone steps that lead to the waterfall. This festival is loud and exciting – make sure to bring a camera and get there early to ensure a good view of the flames.
If you’ve ever seen the show Survivor you know that staying overnight in a temple is a rare but incredibly spiritually uplifting experience. The holy Buddhist grounds on Mount Koya have a number of temple accommodations for visitors to stay in. Be sure to book this stay well in advance if it is something that interests you!
Shirahama, on the Pacific shore, is a beautiful destination with many fun and unique attractions, one of which is saki-no-yu – a hot spring built partially in the ocean. Even if you aren’t planning on taking a trip to the coast, there are other onsens or hot springs throughout Wakayama that offer breathtaking views of the Pacific!
Though they are not so much a place to go and visit, Wakayama also has a vast array of oil refineries. As the photo below displays, the distant view of these structures at night is magnificent.
One last very important piece of Wakayama is the Wakayama Castle. The park grounds of the castle are open to the public free of charge, but the exhibitions inside the castle cost around 150 yen. When you are looking for a hotel in Wakayama, consider looking for one with a view of the Wakayama Castle!
Click through our various articles or take a look at our Wakayama activities to experience Wakayama Prefecture to its fullest.