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Wakayama: Engetsu Island

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Located several meters from the coast of the resort town of Shirahama in Wakayama Prefecture, Engetsu Island or Engetsu-to is a small yet popular must-see island of the town. 

The name engetsu means "the island of the full moon". However, a lot of people are unaware that its official name is actually Takashima. The island measures approximately 115 feet from east-to-west, 430 feet north-to-south and 82 feet high at the tallest elevation.

Despite being an island, Engetsu-to is also viewed as a scenic rock formation jotting our of Rinkai Bay. It is famous for its natural sandstone arch which has a perfectly circular hole in the middle. This hole was formed through the natural effects of the waves and the wind which eroded the "weaker" part of the rock formation. Speaking of it being formed largely from sandstone and the erosion due to winds and waves, the island's famous arch is currently in danger of collapsing. That's why the local government of Shirahama pro…

Wakayama: Sandanbeki

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Located in the coastal part of the resort town of Shirahama in Wakayama Prefecture, Sandanbeki is the general name of the cliffs which was said to be used by the Kumano pirates during the Heian period.

Sandanbeki, also called Sandanbeki Cliffs, refers to the 2 kilometer stretch of 50+ meter high cliffs of the Shirahama coastline which is perfectly viewed from the observation point/view deck. The highlight of a visit to Sandanbeki is the Sandanbeki Dokutsu. It is a cave where the Kumano pirates once hid their boats (and probably their loot too). For those who are planning to check it out, there is an elevator in the souvenir shop near the observation point that can bring visitors down to the cave.




However, you have to keep in mind that there is an entrance fee of Y1300 for adults and Y650 for elementary school children. My family and I intentionally skipped this as we plan to watch the sunset at Engetsu Island. Regardless, I have read from a blog that visitors would go 36 meters down to …

Wakayama: Senjojiki

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Located in Nishimuro District in the town of Shirahama in Wakayama Prefecture, Senjojiki is the name given to the multi-tiered rock formations in the southwestern coast of the town.

The name Senjojiki literally translates to "thousand tatami mats", a name that probably tries to describe the picturesque rock formations in the coast which to an imaginative mind really does look like thousands of interwoven tatami mats.


Senjojiki is a great alternative destination if Shirahama Beach turns out to be crowded. Although not as popular and well promoted as Shirahama Beach, Senjojiki offers visitors Instagram worthy spots and best of all, a quiet escape from the noise of the crowd. The most popular of which is the plateau-like rock formation which is flocked by visitors. There is also the 15-20 foot cliff part where one can take hair raising photos (at their own risk...).







However, one has to keep in mind that Senjojiki is not a swimming destination. It's more of a place that one can…

Wakayama: Shirahama Beach

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Located at the western coast of the resort town of Shirahama in Wakayama Prefecture, Shirahama Beach is one of the most famous tourist destinations of the town.

The name Shirahama literally translates to "white beach" or "white bay". This refers to the sand color and bay-like characteristic of the beach. Although this beach is quite popular some people still confuse it to another beach in Shizuoka Prefecture with the same name (and apparently, it is also a popular beach).





Although blessed with majestic mountains and volcanoes in its interior, Japan's coasts seem to be cursed with rocky or dark sand beaches. That's why white sand beach destinations draw in visitors from all around. Sadly, this took a toll on Shirahama  Beach. In the 1960s the town was first connected to Osaka by train. This brought a huge influx of tourists which upgraded the status of the sleepy town into a honeymoon and summer destination. This brought in a sudden boom of construction of hot…

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