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3 Beautiful Sights in Wakayama

Luke K.

by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Luke K.

Last updated : Mar 02, 20216 min read

Things To Do

Wakaywama features stunning beauty like nowhere else. From Engetsu Island, a place where the sunset is incredible as it falls between a hole carved into the island by waves, a beach made of white sand, and a wildlife park that features giant pandas, are just three excellent attractions that would make a trip to Wakayama worthwhile:

Engetsu Island

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At Rinkaiura, the ocean by Wakayama’s Shirahama region, sits Engetsu Island. Officially known as Takashima Island, a hole has been carved right in the middle of the island through the effects of waves and wind which has given it the nickname of Engetsu (full moon). The low tide is such that the water recedes enough so that one can walk over to the island. In the surrounding area, tropical fish and coral among other forms of life can be seen in the beautiful clear sea. Engetsu Island which just seems to plop out of the ocean is admired as a symbol of Shirahama. The collaboration of the transparent sea and Engetsu under the blue sky is wonderful, but the most popular feature is seeing the sun set. The hole in Engetsu that seems as if it could swallow the sunset has an exceptional beauty whose scenery has made it one of the Top 100 Sunsets of Wakayama Prefecture.  The best time to take those photographs of the white sands of Shirahama, the clear waters and the setting sun as seen from the sea caves of Engetsu is 6:30 in summer and 4:30 in winter.

In the surrounding area of Shirahama where Engetsu Island is located, there are the Shirahama Aquarium of Kyoto University and the Minakata Kumagusu Museum. At the aquarium, there is a rich collection of invertebrates such as coral, shrimp and crab whose numbers make the aquarium the foremost in Japan. And the Minakata Kumagusu Museum was named after the world-famous mycologist who was born in Wakayama. Kumagusu’s specimens, documents and personal effects are all stored at the museum which is worth a visit. At the beaches of Shirahama which are noted for the beautiful sea water, you can enjoy windsurfing in summer and enjoy a relaxing foot bath in the cold winter for free while viewing Engetsu. As well, just a bit away from Shirahama, there is also Tsubaki Onsen where you can spend a leisurely time at its accommodations.  

Admission: Free

Guidebook from Planetyze about Engetsu Island
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Engetsu Island
Tours of Engetsu Island

Shirarahama Beach

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The coast of Shirarahama Beach in Shirahama Town, Wakayama Prefecture cuts an arc through the area which measures 640 meters in length. The pure white sand is mainly quartz which will fall through your hands like powder. The beautiful beach that is easy on the feet and the emerald green clear ocean make for something out of the South Seas.  What is also attractive is the ability to walk barefoot safely from the beach into the water easily. The summer is alive with sea bathers and a rainbow of parasols increasingly brings out the South Seas feeling. Colorful fish just like the ones from the tropics can be seen and there are plenty of divers so that it is a popular area as one of the loveliest ocean spots in Japan. Also, the area is great during sunset. The sight of the deep red setting sun sinking into the horizon soothes the soul.

Marine activities can be enjoyed from May to September, and it is the popular season for people to fill up the beach. However, there are onsen at Shirarahama Beach that can be especially enjoyed in the winter. You can enjoy yourselves at the hot springs of Shirara-yu which has that nostalgic air of a neighborhood public bath from the old days, and Shirasuna which can be entered in bathing suits while viewing Shirarahama Beach. The onsen can also be enjoyed during the summer when you want to warm up after getting chilled from all of the ocean activity, and they are the perfect places to relax after a stroll along the shore. How about spending a luxurious time in a hot spring while looking for that lovely view on the beach?

There are various events at Shirarahama Beach. It’s not just swimming that can be enjoyed when you have events such as the Sand Festival Competition, the Nanki Shirahama Message Fireworks, the Shirahama Fireworks Festival, and the Candle Illumination where candles are placed in the sand. Not just limited to the summer, this is a beach that is alive with events such as fireworks and illumination all throughout the year.

Admission: Free

Guidebook from Planetyze about Shirarahama Beach
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Shirarahama Beach
Tours of Shirarahama Beach

Adventure World

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At Adventure World, there are a variety of animals being raised here, but it’s the Giant Panda that has won the popularity contest. In fact, 2 Giant Panda cubs were just born in the winter of 2015 at Adventure World which boasts the world’s largest in-house breeding facility outside of China. Naturally, you can view these cubs along with the other pandas up close. Furthermore, although a separate admission is involved for panda fans, tours such as the Backyard Tour at the Rare Animal Breeding Center and the Premium Romantic Tour where you can get to feed the pandas are also recommended. Of course, besides the pandas, you can also get a close-up view of carnivores such as lions and cheetahs on safari and other animals such as giraffes and rhinoceroses. With bus tours, jeep tours where you can drive your own jeep around the area and the lion feedings where you are able to see the sight of lions at meal time, there is a whole lot that you can add to your spectacular experience.

At the aquarium, there are daily shows of the super popular dolphins and whales. These dynamic shows are absolutely breathtaking which can be enjoyed by everyone of all ages. You can also come across penguins, seals, otters and polar bears. In addition, for a separate price, there are lots of petting events. You can literally get in touch with so many animals such as through a guided educational tour of the seals, the dolphin feedings where you can communicate and touch them, and Penguins On Ice. What is attractive is that you not only can see them swimming in the water tanks but also can get as close to them as possible.

Admission: Adult: ¥ 4,100 / Child: ¥ 2,500 

Guidebook from Planetyze about Adventure World
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Adventure World
Tours of Adventure World
Wakayama Tour Guide - Hiroyuki T.

Hiroyuki T.

4.95 / 5
(105 reviews)

Hi! I had been working for Wakayama Prefectural Government for 38 years, mainly in the field of cultural heritage management and international relations. I am a national certificated English guide and I have a lot of knowledge and experience in the field of cultural heritage management and international relations. I am very good at cultural heritages. And Koyasan and Kumano in Wakayama Prefecture are inscribed in the World Heritage List as parts of “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range". I was a project manager of "the Koyasan and Kumano World Heritage Inscription Project” at Wakayama Prefectural Government. I know inside and out of Koyasan, Kumano, Wakayama and other places in the Kansai area. I have a lot of experience of guiding as I was also in charge of international relations for a long time at the government. I will be able to provide interpretive guiding service for you around Koyasan, Wakayama, Osaka and other places in the Kansai area as I am a cultural heritage management and international relations professional. I am sure you will be able to get deeper understandings on Japanese culture and that your trip with me will be memorable one.                                                                                                                                  

Osaka Tour Guide - Shuji O.

Shuji O.

4.92 / 5
(13 reviews)

Hi, I am Shuji, a licensed tour guide living near Kansai International Airport. I taught world history in high schools for four decades. So, I can explain Japanese culture or history in an easier way tailored to you who have different cultural and historical backgrounds. I also practiced Kendo, Japanese fencing, for more than four decades, and now I enjoy growing vegetables and going fishing. Therefore, I can also share some Japanese culture and its nature. I have traveled to more than 25 countries and all over Japan. I’m also passionate about photography and know many photogenic places in Japan. If you prefer to go off the beaten track, I can take you to hidden gems, including some cozy restaurants. Of course, I also know how to enjoy the crowded, most popular tourist sites. I am here to make your trip stress-free. See you soon!                                                                                                                                  

Wakayama Tour Guide - Miyuki O.

Miyuki O.

4.00 / 5
(1 reviews)

Hi! I'm an official English guide in Wakayama prefecture. However, during the Covid-19 pandemic, I got a job as a teacher. I love Koyasan, so I would like to help tourists as a guide only on weekends. I also obtained the national guide qualification.I would like to expand my guide area to cover the entire Kinki region, but I like Wakayama the most because of its spiritual nature.                                                                                                                                 

Wakayama Tour Guide - Keiji H.

Keiji H.


I have traveled to more than 40 countries. I always have spent happy time with local people. To return their favor, I have become a Kumano Kodo guide to help tourists enjoy Kodos. I am a government certified guide and have guided over 50 international clients in 6 years. I can help you with Kumano expertise, risk management, and hospitality skills I am a plum farmer and make umeboshi now. So I would tell you stories of as well as Japanese farming and food. Only local guides help you finding spots to rest in today's weather, locating a clean public restroom, and choosing the best sashimi for the season. Most importantly, you can acquire useful information without having to glance at tiny screens, not with phones but with local guides.                                                                                                                                 

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