Off the beaten track, Wakayama offers an escape from the urban jungle. Japan’s spiritual heartland draws enlightenment-seeking pilgrims and beach-bound sun worshippers in equal measure. From the World Heritage Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route and the mountain temple complex of Koyasan to the sparkling white sands of Shirara Beach, Wakayama is blessed with bountiful nature. Easily reached from Osaka, Wakayama City is home to an imposing castle and a delicious local ramen with its own style.
Wakayama can be accessed by express trains from Kyoto, Osaka and Nagoya. There are regular train and bus services from Osaka and Nagoya and easy connections for flights into Kansai International Airport. From Tokyo, you can reach the area via Nagoya by train, or fly into Wakayama’s Nanki-Shirahama Airport in just over an hour.
Most visitors access Wakayama Prefecture via Wakayama City on the JR Kuroshio Limited Express from Shin-Osaka Station, a major bullet train stop. To visit Wakayama's southeast coast approaching from Mie or Nagoya, take the JR Nanki Express. The journey from Nagoya takes three and a half hours and is not fully covered by the JR Rail Pass. If you don't have a rail pass, a less expensive alternative to air and rail is express bus. These run from Tokyo, Kyoto and other major cities. From Tokyo, expect the journey to take 12 hours.
Commonly referred to as either koyadofu or koridofu, this shojin-ryori staple is tofu prepared in a traditional metho...
Wakayama catches more maguro or bluefin tuna than anywhere else in Japan. From decadent tuna sashimi rice bowls to de...
Wakayama grows more plums than anywhere else in Japan. The pickled plums they produce, called umeboshi, have a distin...
Wakayama farmers have been cultivating mikan since the 1600s. These tangerine-like citrus fruits are a vibrant orange...
Wakayama ramen is distinguished by its rich pork and soy sauce broth, also referred to as tonkotsu-joyu. If you want ...
Kishu Paulownia Chests
Paulownia wood gives Kishu tansu their unmistakable warm hue. Each chest of drawers is crafted with seamless precisio...
Mild temperatures and low rainfall offer ideal conditions for trekking the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Route. Head to Kimii-dera Temple for some of the earliest-blooming cherry blossoms in Wakayama and the Kansai region—full bloom is usually early April.
Beachgoers flock to the picturesque and dramatic coastline to soak up the sun when beach season gets fully underway in July. Through July and the first half of August, the Wakayama night sky fizzes with firework displays.
Blazing red maple leaves transform the gardens of majestic Wakayama Castle come mid-November. Shingu City celebrates its local festival in early October, in which divine spirits are transported along the Kumano River.
Warm up in historical hot spring resorts in the mountains and along the coast. Enjoy Wakayama's sweet, juicy mikan oranges when they are in season between October and December.