What comes to your mind when you thinking of places to visit in Japan? Tokyo, Kyoto, maybe Hokkaido? Japan is such an incredibly diverse country, but many places are still fairly unknown to foreigners. I spent about two weeks in Wakayama Prefecture this spring, as I was visiting my sister who lives and works there. Therefore, I was lucky to see some places like Shirahama that are a bit more off the beaten path in Japan.
Shirahama is a small little town located at the western coast of Wakayama Prefecture facing the Pacific Ocean. Among Japanese, it is best known for its onsen (hot springs) and white sand beach. Due to its proximity to Osaka, Shirahama has become one of the three biggest onsen resort areas in Japan. Nevertheless, you will not encounter a lot of foreign visitors here.
I visited Japan during cherry blossom season in the end of March. Hence it was still fairly cold, which probably would have been the perfect weather to visit the hot springs. Instead, we opted for exploring the landscape around Shirahama though, which offers stunning rock formations.
Sandanbeki Cliff stretches along the coast for about two kilometers, rising up to 50 meters in some places. We walked around on the cliff at the eastern end in Isogi Park, where you have marvellous views of the ocean, the rocks and the waves crashing up against the cliff.
Nearby to the west is another viewpoint with a little path leading to the edge of the cliff. This place was a little bit more crowded as it seemed to be the official viewpoint. Nevertheless, the views over the towering cliff and the waves crashing up against it were stunning!
Senjojiki Rock Plateaus
Coming from the official viewpoint, another path will lead you to Senjojiki Rock Plateau. Senjojiki translates to 1000 Tatami mats, which is what the look of the multi-tiered rocks reminds of. As a large part of the rock is flat, we walked out onto to it to explore the place. We were really lucky as it was such a beautiful day! The sky was clear, the water was glistening in the sun and we could feel the breeze of the ocean. The wind was actually pretty strong at the rock plateaus, which left us freezing as it was only March, but I imagine it to be really nice and refreshing during the summer months!
The last stop of our little adventure was Shirarahama Beach. We only stayed for a few minutes as we were pretty cold, but the sand is super white and it must be really nice to hang out here in summer! The only thing that I did not like was that the area around the beach is packed with big hotels, which kind of distracts from the beauty of nature.
Interested in reading more about attractions and activities in Wakayama prefecture? Head over to my sister Connies’ blog https://tanabejapan.wordpress.com/ or contact her on Twitter @natto4breakfast if you have any questions!
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