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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

WAKAYAMA Shirahama Seaside resort with pristine beaches, activities for the entire family and easy access to the Kumano Kodo trails

Seaside resort with pristine beaches, activities for the entire family and easy access to the Kumano Kodo trails

Jutting out into the Pacific, Shirahama is a stunning stretch of jagged coastline with white sand beaches, relaxing resorts, and even pandas. It is a gateway to the Nachisan and Kumano regions and located next to Tanabe, the start of most Kumano Kodo treks.

Don't Miss

  • All your (panda) bear necessities are taken care of at Wakayama Adventure World
  • The fiery night sky at the Shirahama Fireworks Festival, held on August 10
  • Large scale art installations, sculpted by mother nature herself
  • Dive down to the colorful depths of Kushimoto's coral packed waters—the world's northernmost coral reef ecosystem

How to Get There

By plane or train (covered by the JR Rail Pass), there are plenty of convenient access routes to Shirahama.

Flights from Tokyo's Haneda airport will get you to Nanki-Shirahama in just over an hour. A 15-minute bus ride takes you to Shirahama Station. Those preferring to take in more of the local scenery can take a train from Shin-Osaka, arriving in Shirahama in two and a half hours.

Hawaii in Honshu

With around 600 meters of white sand curving around a bay of sparkling water, Shirarahama Beach is the jewel in the crown of Japan's coastal resorts. Sister beach to Hawaii's globally famous Waikiki, the stretch of sand hosts many events along with the annual throng of summer holidaymakers.

The Sand Festival held in late May sees sand sculptors gather to create art out of the sand. Fireworks festivals, held every day in late July and August conjure up an incredible spectacle of color across the night sky.

Beach resort bathing

One of the oldest hot spring resorts in the country, the hot bubbling waters of Shirahama Onsen have been healing minds and bodies for over 1,300 years. In contrast to its mountain-based onsen cousins, Shirahama's proximity to the seashore offers bathing with a sea view. You can also explore the pirate smuggling caves of Sandanbeki, enjoy naturally framed sunsets on the coast looking out towards Engetsuto and wander the vast rock flatbed of Senjojiki.

Animal adventures

Wakayama Adventure World offers an abundance of attractions, with a safari park, zoo, aquarium and amusement park combined. While many different species can be seen wandering the grounds, it is the big, black and white attractions that people travel far and wide to see. The very popular pandas call this place home.

Gateway to the Kumano Kodo

Just a 30-minute bus ride up the coast from Shirahama, Tanabe is the second largest city in Wakayama. Tanabe serves as the gateway to the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Route. Heading south from here will take would-be pilgrims on the Ohechi route, the path to Kumano Nachi Taisha and Kumano Hayatama Taisha shrines. Alternatively, the Nakahechi-route leads from Tanabe deep into the mountains, destined for the third sacred shrine of Hongu Taisha.

Aquatic bliss

Sitting at the southernmost point of the peninsula, the warm current that flows into the waters of Kushimoto makes for bountiful fishing. Colonies of table coral play host to dazzling tropical fish, darting in and out of their jagged, colorful fronds. Scuba diving is popular here, along with glass-bottomed boat tours for sub-aqua viewing.

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