Itineraries

Explore local Wakayama course

Local food, Coast, Spiritual, Stone Staircases, Flowers

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Ride through some of Wakayama’s small towns and sleepy fishing villages. Taste a wide range of local fare during your journey; from fresh fish and vegetables; refreshing summer desserts; and satisfying sponge-cake bites. Visit the peaceful east coast, thundering Nachi Waterfall, and some of the prefecture’s most prestigious shrines and temples.

Local Food

Enjoy tasty local treats

Cool down with a bowl of shaved ice, boost your energy with some Japanese sweet treats, and enjoy a mouthful of very fresh tuna.

Coast

Follow winding rivers down to the coast

Follow the rivers to the east coast of the peninsula. Wander along the pebble beach—a seasonal home for nesting loggerhead turtles.

Ojigahama Coast

Spiritual

Visit ancient spots of deep spiritual significance

Stop off at two grand shrines—Hayatama Taisha and Nachi Taisha. Climb up to Kamikura-jinja Shrine and the monolith Gotobiki-iwa, and visit the temple of the "martyrdom monks."

Kamikura-jinja Shrine

Stone Staircases

Climb up to spiritual sights

Discover Nachi Waterfall and the Nachi Tasiha Grand Shrine at the top of the Daimon-zaka slope cobblestone staircase, and climb the steep stone staircase to reach Kamikura-jinja Shrine and the Gotobiki-iwa monolith.

Daimon-zaka slope

Flowers

The vibrant Akebono Rhododendron

Spot this distinctive variety of Rhododendron in May and June with its white petals with dark pink stripes.

Flowers

Beautiful blue autumn blooms

The Gentiana sikokiana are brilliant blue and purple blooms that brighten up the forest floor in autumn.

Useful Information

JAL Japan Explorer Pass

Fly to Nanki-Shirahama airport to begin your exploration of Wakayama. Japan Airlines offers affordable domestic fares with the JAL Japan Explorer Pass. The easy-to-use English website makes booking flights very easy.

Nanki-Shirahama Airport

There are three direct flights a day from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport to Wakayama’s Nanki-Shirahama Airport. Booking flights is easy and flying into the area is a time-efficient and cost-effective option.

1 Kawayu Onsen

Wake up refreshed from a night in the traditional onsen town, and get back on your bicycle for a ride towards the east coast. The roads climb and fall throughout the scenic first section of the trip, and often run parallel with the Shingu River.

19 km ~

2 Kaachan no mise (local restaurant)

Offering a taste of Wakayama home cooking, this restaurant serves up healthy and hearty local fare, ideal for fueling up after the ride from Kawayu Onsen. The dishes are made from locally caught fish and locally grown vegetables. Find the restaurant by looking out for the distinctive signboard of a welcoming, bespectacled grandmother character.

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VIEW ON MAP
14 km ~

3 Kamikura-jinja Shrine

After a slight climb, the road runs downhill, following the Shingu River towards the coast. Saving your energy is recommended as Kamikura-jinja Shrine is located up a very steep stone staircase of 500 steps. Once you have climbed the steps however, you can stand in front of the Gotobiki-iwa—a giant rock where the Kumano gods were said to have first descended into the mortal world.

1 km ~

4 Nakakoriten (shaved ice store)

If you are visiting the area on a hot day, cool down at this traditional store a short distance from the bottom of Kamikura-jinja Shrine's stone steps. The shop's high quality shaved ice, made with "pure ice" is a popular local draw. You can choose from a variety of syrups to colour and flavour your ice. Not just for summer, the store is open throughout the year.

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VIEW ON MAP
650 M ~

5 Kumano Hayatama Taisha Grand Shrine

Feeling refreshed, ride the very short distance to one of Wakayama's most prestigious shrines. Kumano Hayatama Taisha is one of the three grand shrines that make up the Kumano Sanzan—the destinations for pilgrims trekking the ancient Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Trail. On the grounds is a sacred conifer tree, thought to be 800 years old.

500 M ~

6 Kobaido (Japanese confectionary store)

Kobaido is a Japanese confectionary shop specialising in bite-sized sponge cakes. The bell-shaped cakes are light, fluffy, and stay true to a recipe handed down over many generations. The shop sells a number of other traditional Japanese sweets and biscuits.

1 km ~

7 Asuka-jinja Shrine

Ride up to the bank of the Shingu River to Asuka-jinja Shrine. This well-preserved, vermillion red shrine was given World Heritage status in 2016, as part of the Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range.

2 km ~

8 Ojigahama Coast

Pedal the short distance to the Ojigahama Coast—a pebble beach, better suited to strolling than sun-bathing. The beach is a famous egg-laying spot for loggerhead turtles. Enjoy your traditional snacks from Kobaido while sitting on the pebbles.

12 km ~

9 Fudarakusanji Temple

Pass by beautiful bays and through sleepy fishing villages as you ride the coastal road down to Nachi— the start point for entry into the holy mountains. Stop off at Fudarakusanji Temple—a temple associated with martyrdom monks. The priests set out into the ocean on a voyage to paradise, never to return. A replica of a boat can be found in the temple grounds.

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VIEW ON MAP
5 km ~

10 Daimon-zaka slope

Ride into the mountains to reach Daimon-zaka slope, a cobblestone staircase that leads up to Nachi Falls and the grand shrine of Kumano Nachi Taisha. Park your bicycle at nearby Daimonzaka Chushajo-mae and head up to the waterfall and shrine on foot.

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VIEW ON MAP
3 km ~

11 Nachi Waterfall

Nachi Waterfall becomes visible near the top of the slope. At the height of 133 meters, it is the longest drop of straight falling water in Japan. The area of Nachi is deeply spiritual, and the waterfall is a designated deity—signified by the white, lightning-bolt shaped paper shide attached to a rope.

1 km ~

12 Kumano Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine

Kumano Nachi Taisha is one of the three grand shrines of Kumano and its origins lie in the ancient worship of Nachi Waterfall. The expansive complex houses other religious sites including Nachisan Seiganto-ji Temple. The temple is located next to the shrine, highlighting the harmonious relationship Buddhism and Shintoism shared centuries ago.

11 km ~

13 Katsuura Onsen

Head back down Daimon-zaka slope and climb back on your bicycle for the final trip of the day to Katsuura Onsen. Once you arrive in the old fishing port town, treat yourself to two of the areas specialities, therapeutic hot springs and very fresh tuna.

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VIEW ON MAP

14 Maguro Ryori (Katsuura tuna)

The tuna hauls in Katsuura are the largest in Japan, and this ultra-fresh fish can be enjoyed around the town in many different ways. The freshest way is a mouthwatering bite of sushi or sashimi, but you can also find the fish served as cutlets—covered in breadcrumbs and flash-fried.

15 Morning tuna auction

Wake up early and catch the morning tuna auction at Katsuura Fish Market. The auction begins at 7:00 and visitors can watch the loud and raucous event unfold from designated observation platforms. The market is a three-minute walk from Kii Katsuura Station.

The highlights of Shirahama course

Natural monuments, Wildlife Park, Food, Sunset

The south coast course

Ocean, River, Natural monuments, Michi-no-Eki (rest stop stations), Flowers

The deep mountain course

Local food, Mountain roads, Spiritual, Onsen

Kitayama Course

Gorge, Rafting, Mountain Roads, Onsen, Flowers

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