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Leisure / Hobbies Spots in Shirahama / Ryujin / Kumano / Nachi Area

  • Adventure World
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Wakayama Pref. Nishimurogunshirahamachou Katata 2399
    This entertainment complex opened in 1978 focusing on the theme of interaction between people, animals, and nature includes a theme park, aquarium, and zoo. The zoo has succeeded in breading a total of 12 pandas, the greatest number outside China itself. In the popular Panda Love exhibit, daily backyard tours are held (advance reservation required). In the Safari World, visitors can view the animals up close in environments close to their natural habitats from vehicles such as a special bus. There are also walkable areas to stroll through. During the summer break period, the park remains open in the evening as well.
  • Shirarahama Beach
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Wakayama Pref. Nishimurogunshirahamachou
    A beautiful swimming beach considered one of the best of the Kinki region whose white sands stretch for 640 meters. Generally opened to the public around May 3 each year, the earliest on the main island of Honshu, the beach is popular for its equatorial beach resort-like atmosphere. In addition, Shirasuna, a large, pool-like mixed sex open-air bath (bathing suit required) is open year-round and can be used as a foot bath in winter.
  • Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Tanabe, Wakayama Prefecture other
    This ancient pilgrimage route, also called the Kumano Sankeido, visits the Three Head Kumano Shrines—the Kumano Hongu Taisha Shrine, Kumano Hayatama Taisha Shrine, and Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine. Starting in ancient times, the Kumano faith grew strong throughout the centuries, and countless people of all classes, from emperors and nobles to samurai and commoners have traveled this pilgrimage route. Due to the heavy rains in the area, the route’s stone paving still remains exposed in some areas, such as Daimon-zaka. A nationally designated Historic Site, a portion is also registered a World Heritage Site as part of the Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range.
  • Daimon-zaka
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Wakayama Pref. Higashimurogunnachikatsurachou Nachisan
    A hill path and part of the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage which extends to the sacred Mt. Nachi. Some 600 meters in length, the path, paved with moss-covered stones, passes through a thick forest of cedar trees. The path still strongly bears the marks of the time when it bustled with worshipers of the Kumano faith, who seek enlightenment through penance on the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage. Daimon means “great gate”—a large gate once stood at the entrance to the path. Points of interest include the 800-year-old “Husband and Wife Cedars” standing across from each other along the path.
  • Shirahama Energy Land
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    3.5
    101 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Wakayama Pref. Nishimurogunshirahamachou 3083
    Come experience this mystery filled theme park centered around ''People and Natural Energy!'' Try a variety challenges to overcome including The Maze, or Solar Town where you can learn all about renewable energy. Check out the mysterious pictures that fool your eyes with optical illusions in the Trick Art House. With these and many more there are a lot of ways to have fun while learning!

    Went in the afternoon and a couple of hours was all we needed. Interactive and educational. A little dated but still managed to amuse my teenager.

  • Kishu Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Wakayama Pref. Nishimurogunshirahamachou 2054-4
    An art museum located at the entrance to Hirasogen Park offering a sweeping via of the Shirahama Onsen area. Opened in 1973, the museum boasts a collection of over 1,300 pieces built around artworks collected by the Kotake family, a distinguished family from the former Kii Province, over a period of some 400 years. Although small in size, the museum has numerous points of note, including a complete collection of Hiroshige's Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō as well as other ukiyo-e prints by him and such famed artists as Utamaro, Sharaku, and Hokusai. The museum also boasts what is deemed the greatest collection of ancient Karatsu ware in Japan.
  • Yoshino-Kumano National Park
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Mie prefecture, Nara prefecture, Wakayama prefecture
    This national park straddles the three prefectures of Wakayama, Mie and Nara, and is made up of the mountainous areas located in the middle of the Kii Peninsula and the rivers and coastal areas located in the southern part of the peninsula. There are many scenic sights in the park such as Yoshino Mountain, famous as one of Japan’s top cherry blossom viewing areas, the well-known and highest peak in the Kinki region Mt. Hakkyogatake, Kareki Nada known for its beautiful scenery, as well as numerous historical buildings including the Kumano Hongu Taisha Grand Shrine, which is registered as a World Heritage Site. There are visitor centers in two areas of the park in Ukui and Odaigahara, exhibiting materials on nature and the ecosystems of each region, as well as periodically holding events such as nature observation sessions etc. Sign language or written messages may be used for communication.
  • Kushimoto Marine Park
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Wakayama Pref. Higashimurogunkushimotochou Arida 1157
    Here you can enjoy both the sea and the aquarium. Enjoy sites that you can’t see anywhere else including the world’s northernmost largest community of table coral and schools of swimming bluefin tuna. You can also try feeding the turtles and the tuna or go whale watching and check out the flying fish. In 2005 it joined the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
  • Kushimoto Diving Park
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    4.5
    4 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Wakayama Pref. Higashimurogunkushimotochou Arida 1157 within the Kushimoto underwater park
    This diving spot in Kushimoto Town, Higashimuro County, Wakayama City, is one of the best in the country and has plenty of dive locations for everyone from beginners to experts. With the mild climate at the southernmost tip of Honshu Island and the Kuroshio current you can see a view of the ocean that’s unique to Kushimoto and different from any other temperate or tropical location. In the bay you can see over 100 different types of coral and colorful fish and in the open sea you’ll come face to face with large migratory fish. The beach near the diving park is private and has a usage fee for its facilities. A wide variety of programs and rentals are offered including diving and boat-diving.

    ビーチからのエントリーでラムサール条約登録の素晴らしい珊瑚が広がる。 テーブル珊瑚、枝珊瑚の群生は圧巻。 本州で、ビーチで、これだけの珊瑚が見られるなんて! シュノーケルエリアとダイビングエリアが分かれいる。 とても浅いところから珊瑚がたくさん有るので、 傷付けない様に気をつけてみんなに見て・楽しんで欲しい海。 施設には休憩テラス、レストラン、ゲスト用冷蔵庫、ポットのお湯、お茶、外シャワー、更...

  • Katata Fish Pond
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Wakayama Pref. Nishimurogunshirahamachou Katata Fujishima 2271-2
    This sea side fishing spot in Shirahama Town, Nishimuro County, Wakayama, is connected to land allowing you to relax and spend as long as you’d like fishing without worries. The fishing area is split into three different varieties; the small fishing course where you can catch smaller fish such as small red sea bream and mackerel, the large fishing course with sandbar sharks and greater amberjack, and the relaxed large fishing course with large red sea bream and bluebacks. Each course has a time limit but no catch limit. Fishing equipment is available for rental.
  • Shirahama Aquarium, Kyoto University
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    4.0
    101 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Wakayama Pref. Nishimurogunshirahamachou 459
    This aquarium is annexed to the Kyoto University marine laboratory, and it’s open to the public for a fee. There are four different exhibits, with sharks, rays, large migratory fish, species from the neighboring waters, freshwater fish, and more on display. It also has one of the country’s best collections of invertebrates, including sea anemones, sea cucumbers, and more. There’s a 250-ton tank as well, making this a popular tourist spot. It’s also great for academic study.

    This is an aquarium located in the marine station of Kyoto University. It's small, but highly educational. Professors take time to curate maybe during weekdays. Entrance fee is only 600¥, free for...

  • Dolphin Resort
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Wakayama Pref. Higashimuroguntaijichou Moriura 703-17
    This dolphin petting facility is located in Taiji Town, known for whales, in Higashimuro County, Wakayama Prefecture. You can feed the dolphins, experience what it’s like to train them, and swim alongside them in the pool on the beach and at the poolside. Children as young as three can feed the dolphins, and other activities have a minimum age of five, so this place is great for some family fun. You can also feed seals, goats, sheep, giant tortoises, and sea turtles.
  • Kumano Kodo Kan Pilgrimage Center
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    4.0
    5 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Wakayama Pref. Tanabeshi Nakahechichoukurisugawa 1222-1
    This free rest area is located in Nakahechi Town, Tanabe City, Wakayama Prefecture and serves as the tourist information facility for both the 12 “Grand Shrines” and the Kumano Kodo road. The 12-side building based on these shrines serves as a landmark. There’s a video introducing Nakahechi and materials related to Kumano Kodo, as well as articles from Takijirioji Shrine on display. There’s also an area where you can take photos dressed in kimono, as well as works by a local pottery group and other goods for sale.

    Stopped in here before beginning our Kumano Kodo walk at Takijiri. Women working was very friendly. We looked at the exhibits, took some pictures, browsed the shop (if you've forgotten something they...

  • Kushimoto Okyo Rosetsu Art Museum
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    4.5
    10 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Wakayama Pref. Higashimurogunkushimotochou Kushimoto 833
    This art museum is a 10-minute walk from Kushimoto Station, on the grounds of Muryoji Temple. Modern art and local historical documents are stored and displayed alongside temple treasures. Although said to be the smallest art museum in Japan their collection includes a number of early-modern works by artists such as Maruyama Okyo and his student Nagasawa Rosetsu as well as Kano Tanyu and Hakuin. 55 of their room partition paintings including Maruyama Okyo’s “Hajougunsenzu” and Nagasawa Rosetsu’s “Ryukozu” have been designated Important Cultural Properties of Japan.

    ずっときになっていました。 道に迷って地元のこどもに教えてもらい到着。 何人か他のお客さんもいたので一緒に鑑賞。 円山応挙と長沢蘆雪の作品を身近に鑑賞できます。 迫力があり、虎の表情がとても好きです。

  • Dolphin Base
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Wakayama prefecture Higashi Muro-gun Taicho cho 686-17
    You’ll find this leisure facility in Taiji Town, Higashimuro County, Wakayama Prefecture, famously known as “whale town.” You can pet and swim with dolphins, and in the “petting course,” in which you sit on a stage in the water, children as young as two or three can feed and pet the dolphins. The swimming course lets visitors grab onto the friendly dolphins’ dorsal fins and swim a lap. Group members can do different activities in the same area. Reservations required.
  • Nanki Marine Leisure Service
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Wakayama Pref. Higashimurogunnachikatsurachou Ugui 285-2
    This whale watching ship operates from late April until around the end of September. The Sea of Kumano is famous for whale and dolphin sightings, and each trip lasts three and a half to four hours. When in season, there are about 20 species of whales and dolphins off the coast, from sperm whales over 18 meters long to humpback whales, minke whales, killer whales, false killer whales, bottlenose dolphins, and more. Seeing these majestic creatures swinging their tail fins is a sight to behold. Reservations required. The closest station is Ukui Station.
  • Jofuku Park
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Wakayama Pref. Shingushi Jofuku 1-4-24
    This spot is said to be where the sorcerer Jofuku arrived in Japan seeking the elixir of eternal youth at the behest of Emperor Qin of China, in third century BC. It was established as a park in 1994. The tomb of Jofuku, surrounded by the trees from which the tendaiu elixir was made, is here, as well as his epitaph and the Nanatsuka memorial to Jofuku’s seven vassals. At the shop one can buy tea that contains the tendaiuyaku (miraculous medicinal plant), as well as rent bicycles and Chinese style costumes.
  • Taiji Whale Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Wakayama Pref. Higashimuroguntaijichou Taiji 2934-2
    A museum in Taiji, Taiji Town, Higashimuro County. Through various displays visitors can learn about the more than 400 year old relationship Taiji Town has had with whaling, as well as traditional whaling techniques, and the ecology of whales. Visitors can also watch the whales in action in dolphin and whale shows like the short-finned pilot whale show held in the natural pool built in the sea. The full scale skeleton of the world's largest animal, the blue whale, exhibited outdoors, is an impressive sight.
  • Heisogen Park
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Wakayama Pref. Nishimurogunshirahamachou 2054-1
    Heisogen Park offers a panoramic view of the town of Nanki Shirahama. There are approximately 2,000 cherry trees in the park, and during blooming season, the park is filled with visitors enjoying the blossoms day after day. The two-kilometer perimeter of the park has been set up as a field athletic course that is popular with families.
  • Museum of Tibetan Buddhism / Kanki -jinja Shrine
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Wakayama Pref. Nishimurogunshirahamachou 1-1
    "Located next to Shirahama Town's Sakata Park, the museum and shrine here share the same premises. The art museum displays 150 pieces on Lamaism, Hinduism, and Esoteric Japanese Buddhism; including Buddhist statuary normally not open to view (Photography is prohibited in the hall). Right as you leave the art museum, you'll find Kanki Shrine (Sakata Shrine). Known for the boons of marital happiness, pregnancy and smooth delivery, and match making, its home to the stones of the Mt. Sakata Ritual Site used more than 1,300 years ago. What's more, as Prince Arima once visited Shirahama Onsen, they offer a photo service called the “Asuka Romance Experience"" where you can get your picture taken wearing Asuka period clothing."

Wakayama Main Areas

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Wakayama prefecture unites pilgrims, food lovers, and culture buffs in a tranquil corner of Japan at the base of the Kii Peninsula. The setting for many a Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail, Wakayama invites those in search of spirituality from one side of the prefecture to the other, from the 100-plus Buddhist temples of the sacred Mount Koya in the west to the inspiring temples of the Kumano Sanzan set among breathtaking nature in the east. Once the grueling hike is complete, make a beeline for Wakayama city to savor some of the country's most delicious ramen noodles.

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