wakayama japan travel
Werbung/press trip
My travels to Japan just begun and I´m happy to already share my first article. For the past 6 days I had the immense pleasure to be hosted by Wakayama Tourism Board for a trip all around Wakayama prefecture. I collected a lot of memories and took photos of the superb sceneries, which I´m happy to share within this article..

Wakayama is a prefecture within Kansai. Wakayama is a green jewel which hosts multiple wonders of nature and world heritages so as memorable UNESCO certifications. One can find the biggest Torii Gate in Wakayama so as the biggest gong, just to name a few examples. Within the prefecture one has the chance to dip into the Japanese culture and get insights of the local traditions. 

japan solo travel wakayama city

After my arrival at KIX airport in Osaka, I took the rapid Airport express for Namba and got off at Iumisano station, where I was picked up to drive to Wakayama city by car. It took about 40 minutes to arrive at the Granvia Wakayama hotel, where I was staying for the first night. After a quick refresh and a short rest, I headed to the Yasayasai restaurant, which was just in walking distance of the hotel. I was served a vegan dinner in the Spanish influenced restaurant. It was a great twist of Japanese and Spanish cuisine and it is well suitable for vegans too.

Late in the night I called it finally a day (otsukaresama) and got all ready for the next day as I went for fruit picking. I visited a peach farm. The Japanese word for peach is momo and I think the word is as cute as these delicious peaches of the Nayama farm itself. It was an absolutely broad experience for me as I was able to pick the peaches myself. Also, regular tourists can come by and enjoy the unique experience their self.

peach farm japan tourist

Later I went to Hashimoto station, where I took the Tenku train and went up more than 800m, as I was visiting Koyasan for a night. Koyasan is a spiritual place where tourist can stay in traditional ryokan with monks and enjoy meditation and maybe some enlightment. After arriving at Hashimoto station, I switched to the Koyasan cable car, which takes only 5 minutes to arrive in the mountains. 

It took a short ride with the car to arrive at Daaimon, where I entered the gate to Koyasan. It is known as the sacred side of Koyasan. Koyasan is a must-see place for everyone. It is hidden in the mountains and truly got a special vibe which is not comparable with other places at all. As the monk´s food is vegetarian it is a fact that Koyasan is most suitable for vegans and there are a lot of offers for plant-based food.

train mountain koyasan

In total there are 117 temples in Koyasan nowadays, which 52 of do offer a ryokan stay. One of these temples is the Temple Lodging in Koyasan. This ryokan offers a morning ceremony, which is sharing the message “all we can do is appreciate the past and to wish and pray for the peace of those around us in the future”, it is the same believe that I share. The ryokan is also placed next to the two most sanctuary areas in Koyasan, which are Danjo Garan and Okunoin, it is also a place where monks train.

koyasan daimon gate entrance

A little unusual but very famous in Koyasan is a graveyard. The world famous kobo daishi aka kukai in okunin is hosting gravestones and temples. I also joined it for a night tour and while I must admit that I was a little confused to take photos at a graveyard it was worth to visit, and I really enjoyed it. One can pray, visit beautiful temples and watch monks practicing. There are yet more than 200,000 gravestones but I guess that the actual number is even higher.

japan buddha travel spiritual

After enjoying a spiritual atmosphere in Koyasan, I drove all the way to Kuroe which is famous for Lacquer Ware. Also, the world famous Japanese designer of Kenzo went to one of these shops, named Kishu Lacquerware to buy lacquer ware, which is all traditional and handmade.

temple lodging ryokan japan koyasan

Nearby one can visit Yuasa, which is the birthplace of soy sauce. I was able to even visit the Kadocho soy sauce factory and watch some of the process how soy sauce is made the traditional way. For the entire process only natural ingredients are used. It takes about two years for the soy sauce to mold. Yuasa therefore also holds a slight smell of soy sauce in the air, lots of shops, museum and restaurant which are all more or less soy sauce themed. No wonder there have been world-wide awards for the products of this town.

kenzo paris laquer ware design

90 minutes ride later and I arrived in Takahara, where I enjoyed lunch in the mountains at the hotel and restaurant Kiri no Sato Takahara lodge, which is famous for the beautiful sunset and sunrises. The hotel has a total of 8 beds and offers hiking routes around. After enjoying lunch in such a breath-taking scenery, I made my way to Hongu where I have been visiting the shrines Kumano Hongu Tisha and Oyunohara. Oyunohara is known as the world’s biggest torii shrine gate in the world with a height of 33,9 meters. Torii gates are known as the entrance to a sacred area, a spiritual world where one will be leaded to.

soy sauce factory

The scenery around is very fascination and so it was not a huge surprise that my expectations have even been topped by the view of the Fujiya hotel, where I enjoyed beautiful views above the jade colored water of the Kumano gawa river. 

vegan lunch wakayama

Early in the next morning I went to a local shop to pick up bento lunches, as an adventures day were ahead. The 7km pilgrim route of Kumano Koda were ahead and took me to unique viewing spots and a spiral journey with praying and encounters of people along the road. 

torii gate pilgrim route

Followed by that I went for the next adventure and tried the traditional log rafting, which was fun and brought me to waterfalls. It is a little thrilling at some points but usually one just sits quietly and enjoys the picture-perfect surrounding and the dip of one’s feet in the refreshing, clear water.

kumano koda japan

However, the biggest challenge was just ahead, as I was visiting the Kamikura Jinja Shrine, or let´s stay climbing it up. The 538 step stones lead to a huge rock which was once visited by the three gods. Every year there is a festival where men run up the stairs with fire. It´s named Kumano Oto Festival. Fire is resembling a purifying process in Japanese culture and the intention is to wash off all sins.

japan waterfall travel

As you might got an insight of the wide range attractions of Wakayama prefecture by now, you might be even more surprised that there are islands as well. I was even staying on an island by the hotel Nakanoshima hotel, in Nachi town, which is known for fishing and morning markets. The Nakanoshima hotel also holds a world famous Onsen which overlooks the sea.

kimono wakayama heian costume

My trip in Wakayama was sadly coming to an end and the last day arrived. I visited the Nachi falls, but even before of that I rented a Kimono to look like pilgrims did in the past. The traditional costume was offered by Heian costume experience and I wouldn´t want to have missed it. It was fun for me and I felt so pleasant wearing the costume. 

wakayama island hotel

A lot of people stopped by to take photos of me and thought I was a Japanese girl, which was even more impressive to me. I was wearing the costume all day, while I visited the Kumano Nachi Taisha Grands Shrine and the Nachisan Seiganto ji temple, which holds the biggest gong in the world with a total of 450kg. The Nachi falls have been on my bucket list since I first saw a photo of it so standing in front of it and even drinking some of the water, which is supposed to endure your life experience, was a dream to come true. The stunning size of 133m by one drop makes it even more exciting and beautiful to watch.

japan wakayyama prefecture solo travel

Changing back into my original clothes I enjoyed lunch at Bush de coffee which is in front of the lover’s cape, where two surf merge into each other. It is also nearby Shirahama, where one can visit the Engetsu island, Sandanbeki Rock cliff and also an amusement park, named adventure world. Adventure world is a zoo and even hosts a rollercoaster, which I was driving for sure. One will also be able to visit pandas and see various animals all around the park.

wakayama waterfall nachi fall

My last stop has been the Infinito hotel and spa, where I enjoyed a farewell dinner by a famous Italian chef, so as a private Onsen in my room and a lovely view above the coast. 

bush restaurant wakayama lovery cape

Before I came to visit Wakayama prefecture I must admit that I would have never guessed so much diversity, so much to see and to do but I must say that I felt like as if I conquered the world in there 5 days. It was calming, exciting, fun, thrilling and spiritual. 

japan adventure world

I had a tough schedule and met many people, saw a lot of places and lacked in sleep sometimes, but I wouldn´t want to have missed a single second of it. As I mentioned, Wakayama is very nearby to Osaka airport and one can enjoy Wakayama to the fullest while still having a big city trip. I will definitely be back to explore more of this prefecture in future and looking forward to more adventures and visits to Wakayama prefecture.

shirahama beach shooting fashion