Travelling without itinerary can be quite troublesome, especially if you are new to the place. With proper planning, you will reach your destination without having any hiccups. This time, we are here to provide you with a simple but packed with sightseeing activities to the small onsen resort town of Shirahama. Shirahama is situated in the southern part of Wakayama Prefecture and is one of the three largest onsen resorts in Japan besides Beppu and Atami.
Since Shirahama’s total area is approximately 200km, we recommend you to take a short trip here for two days to cover Shirahama’s top attractions.
09:30 AM Departure from Shin-Osaka Station
12:00 PM Arrive at Shirahama Station
12:30 PM Sandanbeki Rock Cliff
02:00 PM Fisherman’s Wharf of Shirahama (Lunch)
03:00 PM Senjojiki
04:30 PM Shirahama Beach
06:30 PM Hotel Sanrakuso
Access to Shirahama
From Osaka, you can take a train from Shin-Osaka Station on JR Limited Express which will cost you roughly ¥4,600 to ¥6,000. The train will take you directly to Shirahama Station and the journey will take about two hours and thirty minutes. You can check the train schedule here. Make sure you eat your breakfast before or during your train ride to Shirahama so you will have plenty of energy once you arrived the town. For your information, Shirahama Station provides coin lockers where you can place your bags while you are off to sightseeing. The fee starts from ¥300 to ¥600 per day. Click here for more info.
Another alternative is to fly to Nanki Shirahama Airport from Haneda Airport, Tokyo.
Image Source: Wikimedia.
From Shirahama Station, you can go straight to Sandanbeki Rock Cliff by taxi or Meiko Bus. Sandanbeki Rock Cliff is one of the historical sites in Shirahama. The cave beneath the cliff used to be a secret hiding place for Kumano pirates during the Heian Era. You can access the hidden cave by using an elevator that descends from the cliff. Here you will see the pirates’ passageways and museum that reveals pirates’ weapons and other histories behind the place. Also, there is a shrine for Benzaiten, one of the Japanese lucky gods for water flows.
Image Source: Samurai Trip.
After that, you can enjoy the beautiful view of the sea from the cliff. Sandanbeki Cliff extends to two kilometres long and 50 meters high. Visit their souvenir and snack shop while you are there.
Image Source: Wikimedia.
Address: Sandan, Shirahama-cho, Nishimuro-gun 649-2211, Wakayama Prefecture
Operating Hours: 8:00AM – 5:00PM
Admission Fees: ¥1,300 (Adults), ¥650 (Children)
Once you are done touring the cliff, you can head to the most recommended seafood restaurant in Shirahama called Fisherman’s Wharf. Located only 1.9 kilometres away from the cliff, this restaurant is able to cater to both Japanese and Italian seafood meals. If you plan to have your lunch here, cut a little time in Sandanbeki as their last order for lunch will be closed at 2 PM.
Image Source: Fisherman’s Wharf Shirahama Official Website.
Here you can savour seafood like tuna, longtooth grouper and other fishes that are caught on the day. The Japanese dishes include raw seafood, sashimi, and hot pot, meanwhile, for Italian, they will put seafood in their spaghetti and salads. If you would like to eat seafood barbeque, you can go to Club Caribbean located on the roof. Besides fish, there are also scallops, lobster and tiger prawn.
Image Source: Joyce T on Yelp.
Address: 1667-22, Shirahama-cho, Nishimuro-gun 649-2211, Wakayama Prefecture
Operating Hours: 11:00AM-3:00PM (Lunch), 5:00PM-10:00PM (Dinner)
After filling up your stomach with delicious seafood, you have to go to Senjojiki. You can travel from Fisherman’s Wharf to Senjojiki by using a taxi. Senjojiki is a bedrock formation that was eroded by ocean waves many years ago. The word Senjojiki means ‘one thousand tatami mats’ because of the flat rocks. Explore the coastal area of Senjojiki as you get to see and hear the waves crashing the walls.
Image Source: Wikimedia.
Address: 2927-72, Shirahama-cho, Nishimuro-gun, Wakayama
Operating Hours: No time limit
Admission Fees: Free
One of the most attractive beach in Japan is none other than the Shirahama Beach. Their white sands and palm trees have successfully attracted thousands of visitors yearly. Their sands actually was imported from Australia and it is very soft. Along the 800 meters coast, you will see plenty of beach gears shops, showers and convenience stores that sell foods and drinks.
Image Source: Trip Advisor.
Other than that, try finding a Shirahama Jinja, a Shinto shrine located near the beach. Summer is the best time to visit because the water is suitable for surfing and swimming. Every year, at the end of July, there will be a Shirahama Fireworks Festival. Their festival is one of the must-see events in Japan.
Address: Kakitani, Shirahama, Nishimuro District, Wakayama Prefecture
Check in to Hotel Sanrakuso which is only 350 meters away from the beach. There are several good hotels nearby the area, but make this as one of your options. All the rooms in the hotel are facing the sea and you can opt for rooms that have a private open-air bath like in ‘Hamasuisho’ which are limited to only six rooms. For a more luxurious style, you can book ‘Mashirano’ which are available in three types of rooms such as Retro, Modern and Asian and it comes with an open-air bath as well.
Image Source: Booking.com.
As for the communal baths, you can use The Public Bath Yuzuki and The Public Bath Yoimachi. The hotel provides many facilities, for instance, children play area, karaoke room, souvenir shop and stone spa with individual prices.
Image Source: Hotel Sanrakuso Official Website.
For dinner, you can dine at Hotel Sanrakuso’s ‘Wakuwaku’ restaurant where they will provide buffet dining for both breakfast and dinner. Other than that, guests can also eat hot pot Kaiseki. If you stay in Hamasuishou rooms, you will be dining at Restaurant Aoi and for Mashirano guests, the chef will prepare an exclusive Kaiseki course.
Image Source: Hotel Sanrakuso Official Website.
Address: 3078, Shirahama-cho, Nishimuro-gun, Wakayama Prefecture
Contact Number: +81(0)739-43-1111
10:00 AM Departure from Hotel Sanrakuso
10:30 AM Adventure World
1:30 PM Tore Tore Market
3:00 PM Nanki Shirahama Onsen
4:00 PM Shirahama Station
After checking out from your hotel, head to Adventure World to see five giant pandas. From your hotel, it will take only about 10 minutes by taxi. In this theme park, you will have tons of fun by visiting several attractions such as Ocean View Ferris Wheel, Big Adventure Rollercoaster, Sky Ship and other thrilling rides.
Image Source: CNN Travel.
To see those giant pandas, you can join Panda Love Tour where you can observe how pandas are bred at Breeding Centre and get to know their lifestyle. The tour costs about ¥5,000 and requires an advanced reservation. Other than that, you can also watch dolphins show and feed them at The Big Ocean.
Image Source: Diversity Finder.
In addition, other activities you can partake are by visiting the Penguin Kingdom, explore Safari World, feed capybara and hippopotamus and many interesting programs. Check out Adventure World’s calendar in the website before coming here.
Address: 2399 Katada, Shirahama-cho, Nishimuro-gun, Wakayama
Operating Hours: 10:00AM – 7:30PM
Admission Fees: ¥4,500 (Adult aged 18 and above), ¥ 3,500 (Teenagers aged 12 and above), ¥ 2,500 (Children aged 4 and above), ¥4,000 (Senior aged 65 and above)
Contact Number: 0570-06448
From Adventure World, take a taxi to Tore Tore Market which is only six minutes away. Tore Tore Market is very famous in Shirahama because visitors and locals will buy fresh fishes, meats, vegetables and other local products here.
Image Source: Tokyo Creative.
The reason why we recommend you have your lunch here is that besides a fish market, this place also has a seafood food court and a barbeque place. You can cook your fresh purchases here as they provide a spot for visitors to cook. In addition, similar to the former Tsukiji Fish Market, here you can watch tuna cutting show too.
Image Source: Fox Republic Japan on Blogspot.
Address: 2521 Katata, Shirahama-cho, Nishimuro-gun 649-2201, Wakayama Prefecture
Operating Hours: 8:30AM-6:30PM
Contact Number: +81-(0)739-42-1010
Before heading back to Osaka, soak in Nanki Shirahama Onsen which is known as one of the oldest hot spring baths in Japan. From Tore Tore Market to the onsen is just 11 minutes.
There is plenty of onsens you can go to such as Saki-no-Yu, Shirasuna, Senjo-no-Yu and more. Their hot spring water contains good mineral content which is very useful to treat skin conditions. The most popular onsen is Saki-no-Yu because it is a rotenburo (an open-air bath) and you can enjoy the wide view of the Pacific Ocean while bathing. You can also dip in Shirasuna onsen as it allows visitors to wear bathing suits. Check out other onsen details here.
Image Source: Japan Travel.
Address: 1668 Yusaki, Shirahama-cho, Nishimuro-gun 649-2200, Wakayama Prefecture
Operating Hours: 8:00AM-5:00PM
Admission Fees: ¥500 (Aged 3 and above)
Address: 864 Shirahama Beach, Shirahama-cho, Nishimuro-gun 649-2211, Wakayama Prefecture
Operating Hours: 10:00AM-3:00PM
Admission Fees: ¥200 (Aged 3 and above)
After spending two full days of activities, it is time to head back to Osaka. We suggest you ride JR Limited Express back to Shin-Osaka Station from Shirahama Station and board the train at 4:20 PM. You can refer the train timetable here to plan further.
In conclusion, although Shirahama isn’t too big, we are pretty sure you will have an amazing two or three days trip here. Browse for more tourist attractions in Shirahama to discover this small onsen town.