Continuing from 5 DAYS IN KANSAI (WAKAYAMA, HYOGO, OSAKA) – DAY 1 & DAY 2
Nankai Ferry from Tokushima Port to Wakayama Port
We headed to Tokushima Port after our breakfast. From there, we took Nankai Ferry across Kii Channel to Wakayama Port. The journey took merely two hours, making it the fastest way to travel from Tokushima Prefecture to Wakayama Prefecture, vice versa. The port connecting both prefectures is also strategically located in well-connected areas. You can take a quick bus ride from Tokushima Station to Tokushima Port whereas Wakayama Port sits right next to a train line that heads directly to Namba in Osaka Prefecture.
There are business lounge, cushion seats, open space seats, observation deck, televisions, free wifi, dining space, study tables with partition and even a tatami space for you to sit or take a nap! So impressive!
Small food stall, vending machines and gaming machines are available too!
Phone: +81 88-636-0750; +81 73-422-2156
Ticket Cost: Refer above
Timetable: Refer above
Wakayama Prefecture is located south of Osaka. It takes about 35 minutes by car from Kansai International Airport to Wakayama City. It also takes about an hour by car from Osaka City and Universal Studios Japan.
It has some of Japan’s premiere hot spring towns, like Shirahama and Katsuura, as well as numerous famous sightseeing sports. Wakayama Prefecture is also a fruit kingdom and famous for their mandarin oranges (mikan) and Japanese apricots (ume). Traditional Japanese food products like soy sauce and picked ume are also highly rated.
Wakayama Prefecture also sited World Heritage Sites, like the Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Moutain which was created patiently by humans and nature since ages ago.
You can refer to the below attachment for 3D2N or 2D1N itinerary recommended by Tourism Exchange Division, Wakayama Prefecture:
Address: Wakayama City Tourist Information, 3-6 Ichibancho, Wakayama City
Phone: +81 73-435-1185
Hours: 8:30 am – 5:15 pm
Wakayama Marina City
First stop, we drove to Wakayama Marina City which is located approximately 5 minutes from Wakayama Port and 40 minutes from Kansai International Airport. Wakayama Marina City is an island resort with great ocean views. It has integrated entertainment, food, relaxation and accommodation all under one roof.
In Porto Europe, you will find an amusement park which offers a full reproduction of classic European architectural styles. Free entrance to the amusement park but ticket applies for the roller coaster ride and other amusement attractions. You can also look for dolphins in the amusement park’s canal.
Kinokuni Fruits Village is the perfect place to buy fresh fruits and vegetables harvested from the local farms.
At Kuroshio Market, you can eat and purchase fresh, cooked and dried Japanese seafood and souvenirs.
Guests can enjoy watching tuna filleting show three times a day (11:00 am; 12:30 pm; 15:00 pm) and it is free of charge! The freshly caught (without freezing) tuna will be filleted and sold in the market. You get to enjoy 7 pieces of precious otoro nigiri (lower part of tuna belly) for only JPY 2,000!
From left akami nigiri (JPY1,000), chutoro nigiri (JPY1,500) and otoro nigiri (JPY2,000).
They also have the best homemade umeshu too! To sample, a small fee of JPY 100 applies. If you like it to be medium sweet, we would recommend yuzu umeshu.
We had our lunch in a buffet restaurant in Kuroshio Market. This international selection of 90-minute eat all-you-can buffet available at JPY 2,150 for adult and JPY 1,300 for children. Fresh tuna from the filleting show is being served here too!
We cannot resist the temptation of fresh seafood. Hence, we headed for second round of barbeque seafood lunch right after our buffet lunch. There are huge selection of fresh seafood as well as other barbeque ingredients for your liking. Pay for what you need and proceed to grill!
Wakayama Marina City also houses a ocean-view hotel and a hot spring with water pumped from 1500 m below sea level.
Address: 1527, Kemi, Wakayama-shi, Wakayama Prefecture
Phone: +81 73-448-0300
Hours: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm; 10:00 am – 11:59 pm
Blueberry Picking (June-Aug) @ Asai Noen Farm, Hirogawa (浅井農園)
Wakayama Prefecture produces more fruits than any other prefecture in Japan. It produces great quality strawberry, blueberry, peach, melon, grape, persimmon, kiwi and varieties of oranges or mikan. You can enjoy fruits picking experience all year round.
Since we were here early August, we opted to experience blueberry picking at Asai Farm, Hirogawa (5 minutes car ride from Hirokawa Beach Station, JR Kisei Main Line)! We always wanted to do so as the imported blueberry is so expensive in Malaysia! Blueberry picking is only available from June to August. Pay JPY 1,000 to enjoy eat all-you-can package and bring back a packet with you!
Here are the fruit picking calendar and some tips for fruit picking courtesy of Tourism and Exchange Division, Wakayama Prefecture for your easy reference. Please note that most of the farms required reservations.
Address: 512, Minami-kanaya, Hirogawa-cho, Arida-gun, Wakayama Prefecture, 643-0063
Phone: +81 73-762-3873 (Japanese only)
Hours: By reservation only
Factory Tour + Soy Sauce Ice Cream @ Yuasa Soy Sauce Co., Ltd.
Soy sauce or shoyu is an essential ingredient in almost all Japanese food and its origins are in Yuasa Town, Wakayama Prefecture. To get there by public transport, you can take 40-minutes JR Kisei line in Wakayama Station bound for Yuasa Station.
Yuasa Soy Sauce undergoes traditional methods of production. It does not cut corners on fermentation time (1 – 2 years) and they produce it by hand. Yuasa Soy Sauce is well received by chefs in Japan and internationally. It has received Belgium’s Mondo Selection award annually since year 2006.
In the retail area, visitors get to taste various types of soy sauces produced by Yuasa Soy Sauce Co., Ltd. which include the 2016 award winning soy sauce made with premium black bean. We personally love the yuzu soy sauce!
We ended the tour with soy sauce soft serve ice cream (JPY 350)! Locals serve it with a drop of black soy sauce on it. Try it and you will be surprised! It was so delicious, a combination of sweet and savoury!
Address: Yuasa Soy Sauce Co., Ltd. Yuasa 1466-1, Arida-gun, Wakayama Prefecture, 643-0004
Phone: +81 73-763-2267
Hours: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Kishu Minabe Royal Hotel (Public Onsen)
We checked in to Kisyu Minabe Royal Hotel for the night. The hotel is set on a promontory 1km from the Pacific Ocean. Western-style and Japanese-style guestrooms are available, along with free wifi, satellite TV and mini fridge. There is also an outdoor pool and public onsen.
Our sea view western-style guestroom.
Address: 348 Aze-Omezudomari, Yamauchi, Minabe-cho, Hidaka-gun, Wakayama Prefecture 645-8501
Phone: +81 73-972-5500
The name comes from the fact that it looks like several thousand tatami mats joined together. Standing on top of the plateau near the ocean, visitors can enjoy the thrill of watching surging waves crashing against the rocks. The sunset over the horizon is quite spectacular.
Engetsu-to (Sea Cave Island)
Engetsu-to is a famous island that symbolizes Shirahama. The 25 metres height island was named after the opening created in its center by the erosion of waves over many years. It is especially beautiful at sunset when you can see the sun through the full-moon –shaped sea cave.
Sandanbeki (Cliffs) + Sandanbeki Cave
Rising to a height of 50 meters along a 2-kilometer stretch to the Pacific Ocean, Sandabeki rock cliff has been created by the erosion of waves and offers spectacular views.
Fee: JPY 1,300; JPY 650
Hours: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Hashigui-iwa Rocks (Uniform Rocks Formation)
The more than 40 oddly shaped rocks rise up in a row like piles of a bridge. The rocks offer a unique spectacle unlike any other. It is beautiful at sunset when you can see the seawater flowing in during the high tide.
Kushimoto Marine Park
Kushimoto Marine Park has a 24-meter-long underwater tunnel and numerous underwater exhibition rooms where visitors can get a close-up look at the ecology of marine life. Visitors can watch beautiful migratory fish and coral reefs at close range from the underwater observation tower 140 meters off the coast and 6.3 meters below the surface at close range. Alternatively, visitors can take a 30 minutes sightseeing boat with a transparent bottom to see what lies beneath the ocean.
Address: Kushimoto Marine Park Center, Arita, Kushimoto-cho, Wakayama Perfecture 649-0035
Phone: +81 73-562-1122
Fee: < Aquarium> JPY 1,500
< Aquarium + Undersea Observation Tower> JPY 1,800
Hours: 9:30 am – 3:30 pm
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Daimon-zaka Slope is the entrance to the scared Mount Nachisan. It is a 600 metres stepped cobblestone path on the slope leading to Kumano Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine, Nachisan Seiganto-ji Temple and Nachi Waterfall.
This impressive pathway is lined with centuries-old Japanese Cedar Trees that are over 800 years old.
Daimon-zaka means “large gate slope,” referring to a gate that once stood nearby. Near the top of the slope, you can catch your first glimpse of the awe-inspiring Nachi Waterfall.
Kumano Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine
This is one of the three ancient shires called Kumano Sanzan, along with Kumano Hayatama Taisha Grand Shrine and Kumano Hongu Taisha Grand Shrine. It originated with the ancient worship of the Nachi Waterfall.
<Left pic> Chozuya – to clean your body and mind before visiting the Grant Shrine. <Right pic> Bell at the Grand Shrine. Ring the bell once – the sound of the bell call God into the Shrine.
This is the main building to worship Nachin Gongen of Nachisan mountain range. (Gong is a Japanese term to represent deities under the Shinto-Buddhism syncretism theory that God is the manifestation or reincarnated forms of Buddhist divinities.)
This is Kaman Nacho Taisha Treasure House. National important cultural properties, such as Kumano Nachi Taisha documents and ancient pictures called mandala are stored here.
<Left pic> Omamori – lucky charm which has great benefit from enshrined Gods place for you to clean your body and mind before visit. <Right pic> Fortune slip – see your luck and fortune!
Nachisan Seiganto-ji Temple, a buddhist temple right beside the Grand Shrine. This is the only place which you can find the Shrine and Temple are both located in the same compound. The co-existence of Shinto religion and Buddhism is totally reflected here.
Got the chance to personally meet the Chief Monk of the temple.
Big bell in the Buddhist temple.
Nachisan Seiganto-ji Temple
The three-storied tower of Nachisan Seiganto-ji Temple on the side of Nachisan mountain, from where you can see the base of the Nachi Waterfall. The temple is built by an Indian monk named Ragyo Shonin during his spiritual training.
Fee: JPY 1,300; JPY 650
Hours: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
The tallest waterfall in Japan, Nachi (Nachi-no-Taki) Waterfall, has a width of 13 meters and a drop of 133 meters. It has a water flow of one ton per second. There is a shimenawa rope over the mouth of the waterfall and the rope is changed twice a year (July 9th and December 27th).
There are two places for the best view of the waterfall. One is Hiro-jinja Shrine, which sits near the bottom of the waterfall and affords a magnificent view of the falls and is close enough that you can hear the roaring sounds of the falling water.
The waterfall is the “water of longevity”, the miraculous water of Emperor Kazan, who became a monk. Pay JPY 100 for a cup to fill and drink the “water of longevity”. You can bring it home after drinking the water.
Hotel Urashima / Katsuura Gyoen (Public Cave Onsen)
Hotel Urashima houses 4 hotels (Western-style and Japanese-style guestrooms), 5 hot springs with different feels and views, Mount Noroshi amusement park and it is connected by tunnels, Japan’s longest escalator and ferry.
We arrived to the resort hotel by turtle-shaped ferry from opposite bank. Why turtle? Hotel Urashima is named after the famous story of Urashima Taro, a Japanese legend from the 8th century about a fisherman who rescues a turtle and so…
Worth to mention the famous Boki-do onsen located in Hotel Urashima, a natural cave onsen opens on to the Pacific Ocean. The open view allows the guests to enjoy magnificent sea view and the sounds of waves while soaking in the onsen. The name Boki-do, which means “forget-to-return cave” originated when Kishu lord Tokugawa Yorimichi visited this onsen and was so fascinated with the scenery that he almost forgot to go back home.
Address: Hotel Urashima, 1165-2, Katsuura Nachikatsuura, Wakayama Perfecture 649-5334
Phone: +81 73-552-1011
We depart to Kansai International Airport after breakfast.
After 3 hours journey, we finally arrived at Kansai International Airport. Our afternoon flight allows us to do a last minute shopping before heading back to Malaysia. We stored our luggage at baggage storage area in the Kansai International Airport. It costs JPY 360 for small size luggage and JPY 620 for medium size luggage.
Shopping @ Rinku Premium Outlets
Then, we proceed to the largest outlet shopping center in western Japan, Rinku Premium Outlets, which is located across Kansai International airport. The 2-storey building houses over 210 outlets and it includes a wide range of well-known foreign brands such as Adidas, Armani Factory Store, Coach, Franchfranc, Gap, Guess, Hugo Boss, Lego, New Balance, Nike, Salvatore-Ferragamo etc.
Visitor can hop on the Sky Shuttle Bus from Kansai International Airport (one way trip – JPY 200; JPY 100) and the journey takes approximately 20 minutes. Alternatively, visitors can take 6 minutes ride JR Kansai Airport Line/Nankai Line “Airport Express” to Rinku-Town Station (one way trip – JPY 370; JPY 180).
Address: 3-28, Rinku Oural Minami, Izumisano-shi, Osaka Perfecture 598-8508
Phone: +81 73-552-1011
Hours: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm