Itineraries

Yuasa & Shirahama

Relax, unwind, take a step back in time.

Yuasa Soy Sauce / Kinzanji Miso

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Discover one of Wakayama's coastal treasures: the historic, photogenic town of Yuasa. Off the beaten path, a visit to the birthplace of Japanese soy sauce (shoyu) assures authentic views of Edo period (1603-1868) architecture and better yet, without the crowds of high-traffic tourist hotspots. Further down the coast, let your hair down and soak in the beach resort atmosphere of Shirahama Onsen. If R&R isn't your thing, don't worry: Shirahama also has plenty of interesting sightseeing options.

Start your journey at JR Wakayama Station, aiming to arrive in Yuasa by 10 a.m. Travel time is around an hour by local train. After putting your bags in one of the station lockers, your first port of call should be the information center across the road, where bicycles can be rented for free. You can also pick up maps and brochures there.

JR Wakayama Station
1 hr ~

1 Yuasa Historic Townscape

Cycle down the labyrinth-like paths weaving through the quaint town, and head to the Historic Preservation District. Take in the old shoyu-maker buildings, and whatever you do, don't forget your camera! Also, keep your eyes peeled for handcrafted goods, fresh fruit, and delicious local ice cream.

2 Jinburo

While in Yuasa, Jinburo is a must. This former bathhouse is a treasure trove of gems from a bygone era. Sound the old foghorn and give the antique wind-up record player a spin. Jinburo is also where the townsfolk store their precious mikoshi (portable shrine) year-round – except when it is in use during the town's autumn festival.

VIEW ON MAP
VIEW ON MAP

3 Lunch

Yuasa wouldn't be Yuasa without soy sauce and seafood. Try the town's trademark dish, shirasu-don: rice topped with whitebait fish. Alternatively, order sashimi and savor raw fish dipped in original Yuasa shoyu. Umihiko is a tourist-friendly lunch option with pictures of dishes on display around the restaurant.

4 Yuasa Soy Sauce Ltd.

For a genuine taste of Japanese culture, tour the factory of an internationally-acclaimed hand-made soy sauce manufacturer, and learn how the tamari-based condiment has been traditionally crafted for 750 years. On your way out, stop by the café for a local specialty, soy sauce-flavored ice cream. The gift shop has an exquisite selection of soy sauces, the perfect foodies' souvenir.

JR Shirahama Station

From Yuasa, take the Kuroshio express to arrive in Shirahama Town in just under an hour. The coastal area, where most of the hotels are located, is a short bus or taxi ride away.

~ 1hr

5 Shirahama Ryokan Stay

Stay in a traditional Japanese inn (ryokan) at Shirahama Onsen—one of Japan's three oldest hot springs resorts. Hamachidori no Yu Kaishu is a prime example of the top-quality oceanfront bathing and accommodations available in the area. Close to Shirahama Bus Center, ryokan such as Musashi are conveniently situated a mere stone's throw away from Shirarahama Beach. Wherever you decide to stay, 2 nights is the best way to get the full ryokan experience.

Try to arrive at your accommodation not too late, as dinner tends to be served early, around 6 p.m.

Luggage delivery service to and from JR Shirahama station and many ryokan in Shirahama can be arranged, check with your selected accommodation.

For an altogether different accommodation experience, the whimsical dome-shaped pods at Toretore Village might appeal.

With so many attractions, Shirahama can leave you spoilt for choice. If you need a hand making up your mind, take a look at the suggestions below.

6a Shirarahama Beach

If the weather's good, what better way to spend the day than by catching rays at Shirarahama Beach?

6b Unspoilt Nature

Visit Sandanbeki Cavern, Senjojiki and Engetsuto Island for views of Shirahama's awe-inspiring coastal scenery. Then finish up the day with a soak at the clifftop outdoor rotenburo hot spring Saki-no-Yu Onsen.

6c ADVENTURE WORLD

Rides, dolphin shows, safari tours: spend the day at ADVENTURE WORLD for maximum entertainment.

While-away a relaxing second evening at your accommodation in Shirahama, ready to follow the Kumano Sanzan itinerary the next morning.

If your time in Wakayama is limited, use Shirahama as a base to explore the World Heritage Kumano Sanzan area. Taxi tours to Kumano Hongu Taisha Shrine start from around ¥20,000 and can be arranged through the tourist information center at JR Shirahama Station.