Wakayama

Wakayama Castle

Wakayama (和歌山) is the capital of Wakayama prefecture, Japan.

Understand

This city is very important in the history of Japan and has a unique culture. There are many important shrines.

History

Seven centuries ago, Wakayama is said Ki no kuni (木国). Ki means wood. Wood is important materials. Wood is used everywhere in Japan, for example shrine, temple, house, ship, hoe, lacquerware and chopsticks. According to Nihon Shoki (日本書紀), Isotakeru (五十猛) planted a tree in Japan. Ooyatsuhime (大屋都比賣神) and Tsumatsuhime (都麻都比賣命) planted a tree in Japan too. They are brother and sisters. They came back Ki no kuni. They dedicated Itakiso Jinja Shrine (伊太祁曽神社). According to Kojiki (古事記), Isotakeru help Ōkuninushi that is targeted his life. Ōkuninushi dedicated Izumo Grand Shrine in Shimane Prefecture. Ōkuninushi and Sukunabikona (少彦名命) cooperated. But Sukunabikona go to Tokoyono kuni (常世の国). Sukunabikona dedicated Awashima-jinja Shrine (淡嶋神社) in Kada.

According to Nihon Shoki (日本書紀) and Kojiki (古事記), Emperor Jimmu and Hikoitsusenomikoto come to Wakayama.Hikoitsusenomikoto is Emperor Jimmu's older brother. He was wounded. He was died in Onominato Wakayama, and buried in Kamayama. He dedicated Kamayama Jinja Shrine (竈山神社). Emperor Jimmu present Higata no Kagami and Hiboko no Kagami to Takeshi-uchi no Sukune that is Ki clan in Wakayama. Higata no Kagami and Hiboko no Kagami are equivalent to Yata no Kagami is a sacred mirror that is part of the Imperial Regalia of Japan.Yata no Kagami is said to be housed in Ise Grand Shrine in Mie Prefecture. It mean Amaterasu in Ise Grand Shrine.Ki clan established Hinokuma Jingu / Kunikakasu Jingu (日前神宮・國懸神宮). The middle Ages, Visitor to Kumano Hongū Taisha dropped in Hinokuma Jingu / Kunikakasu Jingu.


Kataonami (片男波) Beach and Tamatsushima (玉津島) in Wakanoura (和歌浦) are scenic spots from the ancient times. Many people write Waka (和歌). Waka is Classical style Japanese poem. Man'yōshū (万葉集) that is oldest existing collection of Japanese poetry was written 13 poems. According to Man'yōshū, Yamabe no Akahito(山部 赤人) with Emperor Shōmu wrote the poem.

"若の浦に 潮満ち来れば 潟を無み 葦辺をさして 鶴鳴き渡る"

Kataonami (潟を無み) was named the beach. Subsequently, Kataonami (潟を無み) changed Kataonami (片男波). Emperor Shōmu was established Tamatsushima jinja Shrine (玉津島神社). Heian period, Many visitor to Kumano Hongū Taisha dropped in Wakanoura (若の浦) and wrote many Waka.Many waka use Tamatsushima for Utamakura (歌枕). Tamatsushima became famous. Tamatsushima jinja Shrine became shrine of Waka. Then Wakanoura (若の浦) changed Wakanoura(和歌浦).

Sugawara no Michizane (菅原道真) dropped in Wakanoura wrote two poems. Subsequently, he was Tenjin (天神). Emperor Murakami was established Wakanoura Tenmangu Shrine (和歌浦天満宮). It was said Tenmangu with a historyaboard Kitano Tenman-gū (北野天満宮) in Kyoto and Dazaifu Tenman-gū (太宰府天満宮) in FUkuoka.

In 1585, Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豊臣秀吉) visited in Wakanoura (和歌浦). He was built a castle in Okayama (岡山). Okayama changed Wakayama (和歌山). Wakayama (和歌山) means Waka-noura (和歌-浦) connected Oka-yama (岡-山).

Climate

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°C) 9.7 10.4 13.8 19.6 23.8 26.9 30.8 32.4 28.8 23.0 17.7 12.5
Nightly lows (°C) 2.6 2.8 5.4 10.4 15.2 19.7 23.9 24.6 21.2 15.0 9.5 4.8
Precipitation (mm) 44.4 61.0 96,5 100.3 150.0 188.6 144.9 86,0 180 121.5 90.5 49,5

Source: Japan Meteorological Agency.

Most travelers experience Wakayama during the worst weather of the year, in July and August.

Money

There is an international ATM in the lobby of the central post office, which is on your right as you exit the east side of Wakayama catle, and JR Wakayama station Mio 1F. International ATMs with English menus are also available at 7-Eleven convenience stores, which are open 24 hours in plentiful quantities throughout the city.

If you need to change money, Wakayama central post office and kiyo bank change money.

Orientation

Most visitors arrive at JR Wakayama Station, which is a 30 minute walk or get 5 minute on the Wakayama bus Line 0 from the Wakayama Castle. If you arrive by Kansai International Airport shuttle bus, you will be at the east side of the station. There is an underground pedestrian walkway leading to the main side of the station(west exit).

Visitors arrive at Nankai Wakayama-shi Station, which is a 15 minute walk from the Wakayama Castle.

Get in

By plane

Kansai International Airport (IATA: KIX) connects to domestic destinations in Japan.

ANA and JAL have daily services to Tokyo-Haneda (from ¥12,000 one way), Sapporo (from ¥14,000 one way), and Okinawa (from ¥12,000 one way) with online booking in English available.

Peach (LCC) have daily services to Tokyo-Narita (from ¥3500 one way), Sapporo (from ¥7000 one way), Sendai (from ¥4000 one way), Fukuoka (from ¥7000 one way), Matsuyama (from ¥3000 one way), Nagasaki (from ¥4000 one way), Kagoshima (from ¥5500 one way), Okinawa (from ¥6000 one way), and Ishigaki (from ¥8000 one way) with online booking in English available.

Jetstar Japan (LCC) have daily services to Tokyo-Narita(from ¥3000 one way), Sapporo(from ¥7000 one way), Fukuoka(from ¥7000 one way), Kumamoto(from ¥6000 one way), Ohita(from ¥7000 one way) and Okinawa(from ¥6000 one way) with online booking in English available,

The JR Hanwa Line connects the airport to JR Wakayama Station via a transfer at Hineno. It takes 50 min and costs ¥890. The Nankai Line connects the airport to Wakayama-shi Station via a transfer at Izumisano. It takes 47 mins and costs ¥870. Buses connect the airport to JR Wakayama Station. They take 40 minutes and cost ¥1150.

By train

Wakayama can be accessed on the JR Hanwa Line and the private Nankai Main Line, both of which run south from Osaka City.

JR Wakayama station can be reached by Limited Express trains from Shin-Osaka station, departing every hour. The Kuroshio, Super Kuroshio or Ocean Arrow run from Shin-Osaka to Wakayama in one hour at a cost of ¥2660. From Tennoji the run takes about 45 minutes (¥2280). There are also five daily Limited Express departures from Kyoto (90 minutes, ¥3660). From major stations on the Osaka Loop Line, regular Rapid trains run to Wakayama every 20 minutes: look for the Kishiyuji Rapid (紀州路快速). It takes about 90 minutes from Osaka (¥1210) and one hour from Tennoji (¥830). Be sure that you are in the correct car, as part of the train splits off to Kansai International Airport.

The above trains are free with the Japan Rail Pass.

Nankai Railway has two stations: The main station, located marginally closer to the castle than JR, is called Wakayamashi. The other station, Wakayamako, is adjacent to the Nankai Ferry terminal where ships operate to/from Tokushima. Wakayamashi is served by Nankai Railway's Limited Express train, appropriately called the Southern. Trains depart every 30 minutes from Nankai Namba station, running to Wakayamashi in about one hour at a cost of ¥1390. Select trains continue on to Wakayamako, five more minutes away. By regular train it takes 75-90 minutes to reach Wakayamashi with a change of trains required enroute, at a cost of ¥890. All trains pick up and discharge at Shin-Imamiya station, which is a stop on the JR Osaka Loop Line.

By bus

An overnight bus service operated by Narita Kūkō Kōtsū runs daily from Keisei-Ueno station in Tokyo and Yokohama station in Kanagawa to JR Wakayama and Nankai Wakayamashi stations. The one-way cost is ¥9000 from Ueno and ¥8600 from Yokohama.

By ferry

Nankai ferry operates daily service to and from Tokushima in Shikoku to Wakayama Port. Ferries arrive in about 2 hours at a much-reduced cost of ¥2000. Nankai Line connect the Wakayama Port to Wakayama-shi Station(5 minutes, ¥150).

By car

From the Hanwa Expressway, take exit 21 for Wakayama. Heading west on National Highway Route 24 will take you to the center of town.

Get around

Buses run between the two train stations which pass the castle. The maximum journey is 220yen and takes ten minutes or so. Taxis also operate in large numbers, and are very easily found.

By train

By bus

Wakayama Bus(和歌山バス) is Bus lines in Wakayama. Bus lines run through Wakayama and out to the suburbs. Two bus terminus are JR Wakayama station west side and Nankai Wakayama-shi station south side. 1day pass price is ¥1000. Major bus lines are 3 lines, JR Wakayama station - Nankai Wakayama-shi station line, JR Wakayama station - Wakauraguchi line and Nankai Wakayama-shi - Wakauraguchi line. JR Wakayama station - Wakauraguchi(和歌浦口) line is line No. 25, 26 and 27. JR Wakayama station - Nankai Wakayama-shi station line is line No. 0, 40, 42, 44 and 52. Nankai Wakayama-shi - Wakauraguchi(和歌浦口) line is line No.13. Wakauraguchi(和歌浦口) start Wakanoura Area.

Main Wakayama Bus stops

JR Wakayama station bus terminus

Nankai Wakayama-shi station bus terminus

Bus ticket Sale office

By bicycle

Shiromachi eco kanko rental cycle is rental bicycle service. 1day price is a basic bicycle ¥200, a electric assist bicycle ¥500 and a sports type bicycle ¥500. Tel. +81-73-423-6003.

By taxi

Wakayama ramen taxi

Wakayama ramen taxi is taxi driver guide on Wakayama ramen.

See

Saigoku Sansha Mairi:Visits to three shrines

Hinokuma Jingu / Kunikakasu Jingu
Kamayama Jinja Shrine
Itakiso Jinja Shrine
Station Master Tama at Kishi station
Station Master Nitama at Idakiso station

Wakayama Castle Area

Momijidani Teien (Garden)
The Koshoan

Kada Area

Kada
Awashima-jinja (Shrine)
Tomogashima islands

Wakanoura Area

Kimii-dera
Wakanoura Tenmangu (shrine)
Bandoko-Teien (Garden)
Yosuien (Garden)
Tamatsushima Shrine
Kishu Toshogu (Shrine)
Imoseyama
Kankaikaku
Furobashi (Bridge)

Do

By car, you can reach a small amusement park called Europa city, which is not very tourist-orientated or well advertised. It was built to capitalise on the newly-built Kansai airport, but has faced financial problems because of it's somewhat awkward position out of town.

Picking fruit

Onsen


Cat café

Kobudō

Fishing / Angling

Golf

Tennis

Surfing

Seaside Resort

Smartball

It is like Pinball.

Pachinko / Pachislo

Keirin

It is Gambling that is a form of motor-paced cycle racing in which track cyclists sprint for victory following a speed-controlled start behind a motorized or non-motorized pacer.

Work

Wakayama features the standard array of English teaching opportunities, with branches of major eikaiwa like Geos, AEON and ECC as well as small, niche language schools. The Wakayama International Exchange Center (see Connect) is a good place to make inquiries.

Buy

Wakayama specialises in Mikan (oranges) and various other regionally-known products. There is a small gift shop adjacent to Wakayama castle, but little else. Wakayama has one main department store, Kintetsu, which is relatively expensive. Other than that, the best place to do any shopping is in Burakuricho, which has a DonKehote shop.

Eat

The Yakkinikku shop near JR station, Karibicho, is very good, and the family set meal is reasonably priced.

Tai (Red sea Bream)

There are three famous red sea bream area in Japan, Akashi in Hyogo Prefecture, Naruto in Tokushima Prefecture and Kada in Wakayama Prefecture. Kada red sea bream are each is delicious served grilled, stewed in a hot pot, and fresh sashimi. Famous cuisine in Wakayama is Tai Meshi and Sudume Sushi. Tai meshi is red sea bream on rice with an earthen pot. The rice is very delicious by bream soup stock. Sudume Sushi is small red sea bream sushi.

Shirasu (Young Sardines)

Shirasu caught in Wakaura Bay. They are most plentful in the spring and fall. The fall catch is especoally firm and succuient. Famous cuisine in Wakayama is Shirasu Donburi. Shirasu Donburi is Young sardunes bowl. It is eaten with grated japanese radish over rice.

Ashiaka-ebi (Red-Legged Shrimp)

Red-legged shrimp are caught at the Saikazaki and Tanoura fishing ports from the middle of October until May. Fall is the best time of the year for AShiake-ebi shrimp. they taste especially sweet from November to the end of January. They are served grilled, boilled,fresh sashimi and Tempura.

Budget

Wakayama Ramen

Wakayama Ramen

Mid-range

Ginpei Modern Japanese Fish Cuisine

Fresh fish in Wakayama and Tai-meshi. Tai-meshi is red sea Bream and rice.

Japanese Cuisine

French Cuisine

Italian Cuisine

Drink

There are some atmospheric izakayas here but nothing special. Arochi has the token seedy area, which has a lot of hostess bars and other expensive vices.

Sleep

There are a few small hotels in Wakayama, none of which are really used to dealing with tourists. The most easy to spot is the monstrous Daiwa Roynet, which towers above the city near Wakayama Castle. Nearby, in Burakuricho, there is a new business hotel, and there is the Granvia hotel, a rather exclusive and expensive hotel near JR station.

Budget

Mid-range

Wakayama City Central Area

Kimii-dera / Wakanoura Area

Kada Area

Situated in the north of Wakayama City, there are 8 hotels in the vicinity of Tomogashima and Awashima-jinja Shrine. This area is suitable for those who seek fish cuisine or who wish to go fishing. Within 50 minutes by car from the station.

Connect

Go next

Perhaps one of the best features of Wakayama is that it is well connected, and provides good access to Osaka, Kyoto, Nara and so on without being on top of them. Wakayama is a smaller city which seemingly makes little effort to embrace tourism, so is a good example of a "normal" Japanese place untouched by the demons of tourism.

The South of Wakayama prefecture is one of Japan's playgrounds, and its well known resort of Shirahama is busy during the summer season. Mount Koya, the atmospheric and picturesque mountain an hour from Wakayama, is a little-known (by tourists) gem.

Routes through Wakayama

END  W  E  Shirahama Tsu


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