Go to the sea to watch whales and dolphins, and bathe in an outdoor hot spring
Located on a quiet cove looking out to the Pacific Ocean, Katsuura is a coastal haven offering Located on a quiet cove overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the Katsuura area is a coastal haven offering never-frozen bluefin tuna, relaxing bay cruises, and natural outdoor hot springs to relieve your stress.
Some 130 rocky islets dot the secluded bay, creating calm waters that are frequented by migrating pods of whales and dolphins during the warmer half of the year. More than 100 rock islets are scattered around the calms waters, which are frequently visited by pods of migrating whales and dolphins during the warm season. Enjoy delicious local seafood and breath in the refreshing air of Katsuura Bay.
- Pleasure cruise around the rock islets of Katsuura Bay
- The raw tuna market with the largest catch in Japan
- Bathing in a magnificent outdoor hot spring
How to Get There
The JR Kuroshio Limited Express Train that serves the whole eastern Wakayama coastline transports visitors from Shin-Osaka to Kii-Katsuura Station in around 3.5 hours.
This famous scenic train stops at all the major Wakayama towns and cities along the way, allowing you to visit tourist attractions such as Hashigui Iwa or Shirahama Beach. For those traveling from Nagoya, the Nanki Limited Express Train will take you to the area in just under four hours.
Nachi-Katsuura is home to Kumano Nachi Taisha, one of the Kumano Sanzan, which attracts many visitors
The largest catch of raw tuna ever landed in Japan was here, and weighed a whopping 446 kilograms
Nachi-Katsuura boasts the largest number of hot springs in the prefecture, and is a popular resort area
Stone zoo on the sea
Katsuura Bay is dotted with 130 distinctly formed islets known collectively as Ki-no-Matsushima after their resemblance to the famous area in Miyagi , Northern Japan. Many of the islets are named after what they resemble—usually various animals. Hop aboard a pleasure cruise and look out for the Lion Rock, Crane Rock or even the Camel Rock as the captain navigates the boat around the rocky outcrops.
There are many unique hot springs in the area, including Hotel Urashima, which has a hot spring gushing out of a natural cave (Bokido), and Kumano Villa Nakanoshima, which has a wonderful open-air bath by the sea (Kishu Ushiomikinoyu). You can also obtain a "Yu Meguri Ticket" and try many baths in the city. It can be purchased at the visitor center in JR Kii-Katsuura Station.
Early to rise, early to market
Get up early and visit the raw tuna auction. The Katsuura Fish Market is bustling with activity as the tuna caught in surrounding waters is unloaded. The auctions begin at 7 a.m., and you can get a close-up look at the precious, gleaming raw tuna lined up all around the market.
The event can be viewed from a designated viewing room. The market is a 3-minute walk from Kii-Katsuura Station. A guided tour with breakfast is recommended.
Wakayama whale watching
Between the months of March and September, the tiny fishing port of Ugui (between Katsuura and Shingu) offers whale and dolphin-watching tours. Since these are wild in their natural habitat, there's no guarantee of a sighting, but you can share the thrill of witnessing water spouting and playful leaping up close.
The price for a tour is 6,500 yen or more per person, and is located a five-minute walk from JR Ukui Station. Reservations are required and dependent on weather conditions.
* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.