Shirahama is famous for the Shirahama Onsen, known as one of Japan's 3 famous ancient hot springs, white sandy beaches, and emerald green sea with tropical vibes. A resort area since ancient times, Shirahama has its fair share of old-fashioned tourist facilities and a charmingly nostalgic atmosphere.

    You'll also find plenty of scenic spots and spectacular views, and the sunsets here are especially beautiful. Let's take a tour of the area's finest locations.

    1

    Shirarahama Beach

    Shirahama's number one place to visit in summer!

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    Shirarahama Beach is one of the top resort areas in the Kansai region. This 620-metre-long beach is a sister beach of Waikiki in Honolulu, so little surprise that it gets crowded with visitors in summer. The incredibly smooth sand here is actually quartz sand containing 90% silicic acid.

    In high season you can also enjoy a wide variety of events, such as fireworks festivals. You’ll also find Japanese and Western-style hotels, and it’s just a great place to enjoy the resort atmosphere, including hot springs with sea views and delicious seafood barbecues.

    Location: Shirahama-cho, Nishimuro District, Wakayama Prefecture 649-2211, Japan

    Phone: Shirahama Town Tourism Division: +81 (0)739-43-6588

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    2

    Saki no Yu

    One of Shirahama's most scenic open-air baths

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    Saki no Yu is an open-air hot spring bath with water flowing directly from the source. It’s located right next to the shore and is known as one of the 7 Hot Springs of Yuzaki. Shirahama is a paradise for fans of open-air baths and footbaths, and Saki no Yu is one of the area’s standouts. Here you can take a relaxing bath while enjoying the excellent view of the Pacific Ocean.

    To make sure the marine environment is not damaged, shampoo, conditioner, and soaps of any kind are not allowed. Towels are available for a small fee, and there are also coin-operated lockers, vending machines, and a car park.

    Location: 1668 Shirahama-cho, Nishimuro District, Wakayama Prefecture 649-2211, Japan

    Open: April—June, September: Daily from 8 am to 6 pm, July—August: Daily from 7 am to 7 pm, October—March: Daily from 8 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)739-42-3016

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    3

    Senjojiki Rock Plateau

    A perfect spot for watching (and photographing) the sunset

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    Senjojiki Rock Plateau is a rocky area where the beauty of the sea and nature is famously enhanced by the setting sun. Visitors tend to arrive late in the afternoon to take beautiful photos of this rock formation carved out by the rough seas, while rock climbing is a popular activity earlier in the day.

    There’s a free car park, so it’s ideal for a quick stop. There are also restaurants and souvenir shops nearby. Just make sure you’re wearing suitable shoes and clothing, because the footing isn’t great and the wind can be quite strong.

    Location: 2927-72 Shirahama-cho, Nishimuro District, Wakayama Prefecture 649-2211, Japan

    Phone: Shirahama Town Tourism Division: +81 (0)739-43-6588

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    4

    Sandanbeki

    Dramatic cliffs for an unforgettable adventure

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    Sandanbeki is a scenic area where rough waves crash against sheer cliffs. There’s also a heart-shaped monument that many couples visit this area to see. The scenery is incredibly romantic, especially as the sun sets.

    Other highlights include an observation deck with spectacular views, the cave where the Kumano Suigun Navy is said to have hidden its boats, and a free footbath overlooking Sandanbeki. You could even extend your trip by visiting the impressive Senjojiki Rock Plateau.

    Location: 2927-52 Shirahama-cho, Nishimuro District, Wakayama Prefecture 649-2211, Japan

    Phone: Shirahama Town Tourism Division: +81 (0)739-43-6588

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    5

    Shirahama Energy Land

    Good old-fashioned fun for the whole family

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    Shirahama Energy Land is an amusement park typical of traditional Japanese resorts. You can experience and learn about energy through a variety of exhibitions and attractions focused on every child’s favourite theme: dinosaurs.

    This is a great place to create fun family memories by taking part in activities that appeal to the visual and physical senses, such as trick art, adventure playgrounds, mazes, footbaths, and photo spots. Put some of your photos on your social media and you'll be pretty much guaranteed likes.

    Location: 3083 Shirahama-cho, Nishimuro District, Wakayama Prefecture 649-2211, Japan

    Open: Monday—Friday from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm, Saturday—Sunday from 10 am to 4.30 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)739-43-2666

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    photo by Jojo2000 (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    6

    Sandanbeki Cave

    An impressive cave with a fascinating history

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    The history of Sandanbeki Cave is tied up with the Kumano Suigun Navy that joined the Minamoto clan in the Genpei War. It’s said to have been used as a hiding place for their boats, and now there’s even a reproduction of the guardhouse they used for waiting and resting during battles.

    Waves from the sea come crashing into cave, and there’s also a rare natural blowhole or splash stone. Benzaiten, one of the biggest bronze statues in Japan, sits in a small shrine on this site. You can receive a special stamp when visiting this shrine. This is cave exploration experience like no other.

    Location: 2927-52 Shirahama-cho, Nishimuro District, Wakayama Prefecture 649-2211, Japan

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)739-42-4495

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    7

    Minakata Kumagusu Museum

    Learn about the life of one of Wakayama's great men at this museum with spectacular views

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    Minakata Kumagusu Museum was built in memory of Minakata Kumagusu, an important figure from Wakayama. It has a modernist entrance, an exhibition room with a wide range of materials, and a rooftop observation deck with a panoramic view of Shikoku.

    The museum houses a valuable collection of fungi specimens collected by Kumagusu, who was known as the “Father of Mycology”. Also make sure you visit the nearby Banshoyama Park, which has a promenade and observation decks with superb views of Engetsu Island and Toshima Island.

    Location: 3601-1 Shirahama-cho, Nishimuro District, Wakayama Prefecture 649-2211, Japan

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm (Closed on Thursdays. Open every day during summer holidays)

    Phone: +81 (0)739-42-2872

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    photo by Jojo2000 (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    8

    Heisogen Park

    A famous spot for cherry blossoms and sunsets overlooking Shirahama

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    Heisogen Park is famous locally as a cherry blossom viewing spot. The hugely popular Sakura Festival is held when the park’s 2,000 Yoshino cherry trees are in full bloom.

    Admission and a parking are free of charge. It’s also popular for its outstanding view of the Kii Channel to the west, Yoshino-Kumano National Park (Yoshino-Kumano Kokuritsu Koen) to the south, and the 3600 Peaks of Kumano to the east. As well as the cherry blossoms, you’ll find many flowers such as daffodils and hydrangeas bringing vivid colours to the park throughout the spring and summer.

    Location: 2054-1 Shirahama-cho, Nishimuro District, Wakayama Prefecture 649-2211, Japan

    Open: Daily from 8.30 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)739-43-2967

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    9

    Shirahama Undersea Observation Tower

    Take a deep-dive into Shirahama's marine life

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    Shirahama Undersea Observation Tower (Coral Princess) is an underwater observation facility that you can get to from Shirahama Key Terrace Hotel Seamore. Here you can observe fish swimming in the sea as if you were looking through the round windows of a submarine.

    Take a walk down the spiral staircase and you’ll see all kinds of life in the sea around Shirahama, including black sea bream, girella, sea bream, and puffer fish. Visibility depends on weather and wave conditions, so it’s best to check the conditions in advance at the hotel reception.

    Location: B1F Key Terrace Hotel Seamore, 1821 Shirahama-cho, Nishimuro District, Wakayama Prefecture 649-2211, Japan

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 4.30 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)739-43-1100

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    10

    Engetsu Island

    Watch stunning sunsets from an island arch

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    Engetsu Island (officially known as Takashima) is a small island famous for the round hole in its middle. It’s also become a Shiarahama landmark for the stunning sunsets you can see as the sun sets into the island’s natural arch. Many people gather on the other side of the coast with cameras and smartphones to capture the perfect moment.

    The sea is calm and crystal-clear. The beauty of Shirahama’s nature, with its huge variety of marine life, really shines through. There's a car park on the other side of the coast.

    Location: Shirahama-cho, Nishimuro District, Wakayama Prefecture 649-2211, Japan

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