THEMES

Ocean Adventures

Come play to your heart’s content; Wakayama’s oceanic adventures are wide and varying.

SCROLL DOWN

Island Excursions & Boat Rides

The Wakayama coastal waters are studded with island chains, and standalone craggy islets – awe-inspiring oceanscapes that have influenced Japanese folklore. Along the extensive shoreline and Pacific waters, enjoy leisurely sunset cruises, sea-kayaking trips and more. An exceptional half-day excursion, only 20 mins by ferry from Wakayama City, is the four-island cluster known as Tomogashima. These islands are famously depicted in a silk painting from the 16th century owned by The British Museum.

Tour of Ki-no-Matsushima Islands

Island Excursions & Boat Rides

The Wakayama coastal waters are studded with island chains, and standalone craggy islets – awe-inspiring oceanscapes that have influenced Japanese folklore. Along the extensive shoreline and Pacific waters, enjoy leisurely sunset cruises, sea-kayaking trips and more. An exceptional half-day excursion, only 20 mins by ferry from Wakayama City, is the four-island cluster known as Tomogashima. These islands are famously depicted in a silk painting from the 16th century owned by The British Museum.

Beaches

The Kii Peninsula is dotted from north to south with numerous beaches including beautiful white sandy beaches, many with snorkeling, scuba diving and whale watching opportunities. Of these, Shirarahama's heavily frequented white sand beach is touted as the best beach in Kansai, the south-central area of Japan.

Shirarahama Beach Opening

Beaches

The Kii Peninsula is dotted from north to south with numerous beaches including beautiful white sandy beaches, many with snorkeling, scuba diving and whale watching opportunities. Of these, Shirarahama's heavily frequented white sand beach is touted as the best beach in Kansai, the south-central area of Japan.

Undersea Mysteries

Kushimoto is known as a divers' paradise. This area is the northernmost point in the world where many coral varieties, including elegance coral, are found. Its crystal clear waters – no deeper than 20 m – average a surface water temperature of 21ºC, making it a great spot year-round to discover the mysteries of the undersea world. For those of us who prefer to keep our feet above water, the glass-bottom-boat tours and marine park are the way to go.

Undersea Mysteries

Kushimoto is known as a divers' paradise. This area is the northernmost point in the world where many coral varieties, including elegance coral, are found. Its crystal clear waters – no deeper than 20 m – average a surface water temperature of 21ºC, making it a great spot year-round to discover the mysteries of the undersea world. For those of us who prefer to keep our feet above water, the glass-bottom-boat tours and marine park are the way to go.

Angling, Past & Present

Through the ages, bounty from the Pacific Ocean has played a key part in local culture and diet. Though techniques continually evolve, fishing be it commercial or recreational, is synonymous with this region. Fishing aficionados may enjoy catching a boat ride out to craggy outcrops where sea bream as large as 70 cm can be caught, as well as many other types of fish. Open water fishing charters are available all along the eastern seaboard. Half and full-day excursions are the norm, and saltwater fishing licenses are not required. However advance booking is necessary, particularly for weekend and holiday outings.

Angling, Past & Present

Through the ages, bounty from the Pacific Ocean has played a key part in local culture and diet. Though techniques continually evolve, fishing be it commercial or recreational, is synonymous with this region. Fishing aficionados may enjoy catching a boat ride out to craggy outcrops where sea bream as large as 70 cm can be caught, as well as many other types of fish. Open water fishing charters are available all along the eastern seaboard. Half and full-day excursions are the norm, and saltwater fishing licenses are not required. However advance booking is necessary, particularly for weekend and holiday outings.

Dramatic Coastlines

The southern Kii Peninsula is home to the Nanki Kumano Geopark – an area stretching from Shirahama Town to Shingu City. There are exquisite rock formations, the result of seismic activity and wave erosion over the millennia. Observe how Nature’s power has left its mark on this landscape. Tucked out of sight and in the bowels of Sandanbeki, is a limestone cave that once sheltered the Kumano Navy (a naval force existing in feudal times) and pirates during the late Heian Era (794-1185). Young or old, geography enthusiast or not, sights like the phenomenon known as sea fog (umi-giri) occasionally cloaking the Arafune coastline, will give you that special souvenir that no amount of money can buy – a priceless image in your mind’s eye.

Dramatic Coastlines

The southern Kii Peninsula is home to the Nanki Kumano Geopark – an area stretching from Shirahama Town to Shingu City. There are exquisite rock formations, the result of seismic activity and wave erosion over the millennia. Observe how Nature’s power has left its mark on this landscape. Tucked out of sight and in the bowels of Sandanbeki, is a limestone cave that once sheltered the Kumano Navy (a naval force existing in feudal times) and pirates during the late Heian Era (794-1185). Young or old, geography enthusiast or not, sights like the phenomenon known as sea fog (umi-giri) occasionally cloaking the Arafune coastline, will give you that special souvenir that no amount of money can buy – a priceless image in your mind’s eye.

The Greatest Mammals of All

Off the southern coast of Wakayama live some of the largest mammals on earth. The Kuroshio Current brings a huge variety of marine life to the prefecture's coastal waters, including dolphins and sperm whales as large as 20 m long and weighing up to 50 tons.

The Greatest Mammals of All

Off the southern coast of Wakayama live some of the largest mammals on earth. The Kuroshio Current brings a huge variety of marine life to the prefecture's coastal waters, including dolphins and sperm whales as large as 20 m long and weighing up to 50 tons.

The Kid in All of Us

Fancy a day of simple good-old fun? Amusement parks can bring out the kid in all of us. Located in Wakayama City, Marina City has a kid-friendly theme park, with rides set to the backdrop of its European architectural fantasy – Porto Europa. Due south, in the beach town of Shirahama, options include the retro Shirahama Energy Land, and top-rated Adventure World. In 2015, the home of Japan’s largest panda-breeding zoo, Adventure World, was voted TripAdvisors #1 Travelers’ Choice Award in the Zoo and Aquarium category for Japan, and #4 in all of Asia. On a rainy day, the indoor animal feeding demonstrations, and dolphin performances are sure to amuse the kids, as are the restaurants featuring cute animal-shaped dishes. Admission tickets include entrance to all zones except for the Playzone rides, which can be paid for individually; otherwise opt for the WakuWaku Playzone pass, and ride your heart out.

Wakayama Marina City/Porto Europa

The Kid in All of Us

Fancy a day of simple good-old fun? Amusement parks can bring out the kid in all of us. Located in Wakayama City, Marina City has a kid-friendly theme park, with rides set to the backdrop of its European architectural fantasy – Porto Europa. Due south, in the beach town of Shirahama, options include the retro Shirahama Energy Land, and top-rated Adventure World. In 2015, the home of Japan’s largest panda-breeding zoo, Adventure World, was voted TripAdvisors #1 Travelers’ Choice Award in the Zoo and Aquarium category for Japan, and #4 in all of Asia. On a rainy day, the indoor animal feeding demonstrations, and dolphin performances are sure to amuse the kids, as are the restaurants featuring cute animal-shaped dishes. Admission tickets include entrance to all zones except for the Playzone rides, which can be paid for individually; otherwise opt for the WakuWaku Playzone pass, and ride your heart out.

Different Shades of Blue

A dramatic shift in color manifests, between the waters off Wakayama’s southwest and east coasts. Place yourself in Nature’s own mise-en-scène, when soaking in an outdoor thermal spring bath (rotenburo). In the historic town of Shirahama – home to one of Japan's oldest hot springs regions – the Pacific Ocean appears a deep shade of blue, yet in Nachi-Katsuura Town, waters take on a vivid azure hue. Lull your senses, while listening to the sound of waves lapping and sometimes breaking along these shores.

Hotel Nakanoshima

Different Shades of Blue

A dramatic shift in color manifests, between the waters off Wakayama’s southwest and east coasts. Place yourself in Nature’s own mise-en-scène, when soaking in an outdoor thermal spring bath (rotenburo). In the historic town of Shirahama – home to one of Japan's oldest hot springs regions – the Pacific Ocean appears a deep shade of blue, yet in Nachi-Katsuura Town, waters take on a vivid azure hue. Lull your senses, while listening to the sound of waves lapping and sometimes breaking along these shores.

Highlights

Engetsuto Island Sunsets

A natural archway carved over time by raging seas, Engetsuto Island is a fine example of natural architecture. Its Japanese name, Engetsuto, is a reference to its full-moon-like shape. In the winter and summer months, this iconic Shirahama landmark is the best spot to watch the sunset as it dips behind the horizon. For an up close encounter, why not try a sunset cruise.

Engetsuto Island

Engetsuto Island Sunsets

A natural archway carved over time by raging seas, Engetsuto Island is a fine example of natural architecture. Its Japanese name, Engetsuto, is a reference to its full-moon-like shape. In the winter and summer months, this iconic Shirahama landmark is the best spot to watch the sunset as it dips behind the horizon. For an up close encounter, why not try a sunset cruise.

TRAVEL CONCIERGE