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What to Do in Shirahama Onsen

Located on the southern coast of Wakayama Prefecture, Shirahama is a popular onsen resort town that also boasts a beach of white sand, a number of fascinating rock formations, and the sizeable Tore Tore market, where visitors can shop for local seafood products that Wakayama is famous for.

  • Saki no yu public onsen

    Saki no yu public onsen

    Saki no yu public onsen

    Said to be Japan’s oldest hot spring, Saki no yu is a series of open-air baths carved into the rocky shoreline. This offers a thrilling experience for bathers, especially when the ocean waves crash against the rocks. The baths are open daily and easily reached from JR Shirahama Station by bus to Yuzaki. The latest entrance is 30 minutes before closing time, which is 5pm, 6pm or 7pm depending on the season. There is a 500-yen entry fee.

  • Shirahama beach

    Shirahama beach

    Shirahama beach

    Shirahama means “white beach” so it comes as no surprise to find the crescent-shape beach, which extends 640 meters along Kanayama Bay, is made up of pale quartz sand. What is surprising is that since 1989 the sand has been imported from Australia. The beach is lined with palm trees and the water is remarkably clear, giving it the feel of a tropical beach during the hot summer months. It’s an ideal place for swimming and body surfing, or simply relaxing in the soft sand.

  • Engetsu island

    Engetsu island

    Engetsu island

    Engetsu is a small island located off the coast of Shirahama. Although its official name is Takashima, the round hole in the middle of the island is said to resemble the full moon, hence its moniker “Engetsu.” The island is a popular place through which to view the sunset and ranks among Japan’s top 100 sunset-viewing spots. Due to erosion in recent years, Engetsu is now off-limits to visitors. However, it can be enjoyed from one of the many tourist boats that make regular trips around the island. The boats are fitted with glass bottoms through which an array of fish and coral can be seen through the clear ocean water. A trip around Engetsu costs 1,500 yen for adults and 750 yen for children.

  • Senjojiki

    Senjojiki

    Senjojiki

    Senjojiki is a tiered formation of soft, horizontal rocks dating from the Tertiary period and formed by the constant erosion of the ocean’s waves. The name literally means “one thousand tatami mats” as the flat rocks resemble traditional mats that visitors can walk out onto and explore. It is possible to get close to the water’s edge and observe the waves crashing against the rocks. Senjojiki is well worth a visit as it is only 20 minutes by bus from JR Shirahama Station, and there is no entrance fee and no opening hours. From Shirahama beach, it’s a 15-minutes walk.

  • Sandanbeki Cliffs and Caves

    Sandanbeki Cliffs and Caves

    Sandanbeki Cliffs and Caves

    On the south shore of Senjojiki is a two-kilometer stretch of cliffs towering 50 meters over the sea. The name, Sandanbeki, derives from their historical use as a lookout point for fishermen. Hidden below one of the cliffs is a network of caves that was used as a hideout by pirates in the 8th century but today can be accessed by an elevator that descends 36m through the cliffs.

    Sandanbeki Cliffs and Caves

    Sandanbeki Cliffs and Caves

    Below is a labyrinth of passageways that feature a naval guardhouse, armor, weaponry, a model of a pirate ship and an impressive shrine to Benzaiten, one of Japan's seven lucky gods. The most popular attraction is the Shiofuki Rock, a blowhole through which seawater jets several meters into the air. The caves are open year-round from 8am to 5pm. Entry is 1,300 yen for adults and 650 yen for children.

    Nankishirahama Onsen
    Address
    Wakayama Pref. Nishimurogunshirahamachou
    Phone
    0739435511
    Saki-no-yu Hot Spring
    Address
    Wakayama Pref. Nishimurogunshirahamachou 1668
    Phone
    0739423016
    Shirarahama Beach
    Address
    Wakayama Pref. Nishimurogunshirahamachou
    Phone
  • Engetsu Island (Takashima)
    Address
    Wakayama Pref. Nishimurogunshirahamachou
    Phone
    Senjojiki
    Address
    Wakayama Pref. Nishimurogunshirahamachou
    Phone
    Sandanbeki
    Address
    Wakayama Pref. Nishimurogunshirahamachou
    Phone
    Sandan Kabedokutu
    Address
    Wakayama Pref. Nishimurogunshirahamachou 2927-52
    Phone
    0739424495
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