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Wakayama Prefecture

Wakayama Prefecture in Kansai DistrictWakayama PrefectureWakayama Prefecture is located at the west side of Kii Peninsula, the largest peninsula in Japan.
The southern coast faces the Pacific Ocean, and the western coast faces the Kii Channel between Kii Peninsula and Shikoku Island.

This prefecture is positioned at the southernmost part of Honshu Island.
The climate is warm, then various fruits are cultivated. Especially mikan (a kind of citrus) and ume (Japanese apricot) are famous.

Major part of the prefecture is mountainous, and the mountains are called Kii Mountain Range.
So all cities are dotted along the coastline and Kinokawa river flowing near northern prefectural border.

It had been thought that the gods of Japan were living in Kii Mountain Range since ancient times.
So two major sacred areas, Koyasan (Mount Koya) and Kumano Sanzan (Three Shrines in Kumano), has been set up.

These are the major sightseeing spots in Wakayama Prefecture.
And there are a few famous hot spring resorts along the coastline.
In Wakayama Prefecture, we can enjoy both sacred mountains and relaxing coasts.
We usually call the south part of the prefecure with several sightseeing spots "Nanki".

The prefectural capital is Wakayama city, and is located near the northwest end of the prefecture.

To visit Wakayama Prefecture, it takes time.
Because, the railroad runs only along the coastline and Kinokawa River.
To Mount Koya, Nankai Line runs directly from Osaka. It takes about 1 hour and 35 minutes by limited express.
To Nanki, it takes about 2-4 hours from Osaka, and about 3.5 hours from Nagoya by JR line.

There is Nanki Shirahama Airport near Shirahama hot spring resort at the south part of the prefecture.
It has the flights only from Haneda (Tokyo).

Explore Wakayama : Wakayama Tourism federation official website

The climate in Wakayama city
Highest Temperature (deg 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
Lowest Temperature (deg 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
Mean monthly rainfall (mm) 44 61 97 100 150 189 145 86 184 122 91 50
The climate in Cape Shionomisaki
Highest Temperature (deg C) 11.4 12.1 14.9 19.1 22.3 24.8 28.2 29.7 27.4 23.0 18.6 14.0
Lowest Temperature (deg C) 4.8 5.0 7.7 12.3 16.3 19.7 23.5 24.5 22.0 17.0 12.2 7.3
Mean monthly rainfall (mm) 100 105 183 213 249 352 291 233 305 244 160 85

Tourist spots in Wakayama Prefecture

Map of Wakayama Prefecture

Wakayama Castle /1/
Mount Koya (Koyasan) /2/
Shirahama /3/
Kushimoto /4/
 Katsuura /5/
Kumano Kodo /6/
Kumano Nachi Taisha shrine /7/
Kumano Hayatama Taisha shrine /8/
Kumano Hongu Taisha shrine /9/
Doro Gorge /10/

Scenic or Nature / Park or Garden / Resort / City, Town or Village / Quarter or Street /
Temple or Shrine / Museum or Laboratory / Market or Commercial facility / Factory /
Other Building or Construction / Historic place / Remains / World Heritage Site

Main events in Wakayama Prefecture

Oto FestivalOto Festival (February 6th)

It is an annual festival of Kamikura Shrine in Shingu city. It is said that this festival was started from 574.
On the day, no woman is admitted to this shrine.
In the evening, about two thousand men with white clothes go up to the shrine on the mountainside. Each of them has a torch with the praying words.
And sacred fires are lit on the torches in the precincts, then the men with the torches run down the steep road.
The scene is like a river of flame.

Nachi Fire FestivalNachi Fire Festival (July 14th)

It is an annual festival of Kumano Nachi Taisha shrine in Nachi-Katsuura town. The formal name is "Oogi-Matsuri".
"Oogi" means "folding fan". 12 decorated tall mikoshi (portable shrine) appear, and several folded fans are set up on each mikoshi.
All mikoshi are carried by many men from the shrine to near Nachi Falls, the sptit of Kumano Nachi Taisha.
Around the falls, 12 large and heavy torches carried by men wait for the mikoshi.
12 Mikoshi and 12 torches battle there. But the battle is to purify the mikoshi by fire of the torch.
Then all purified mikoshi arrive at the sacred falls, and several ceremonies are performed there.

Local foods and products in Wakayama Prefecture


Umeboshi is a pickled ume fruits (Japanese apricot), and is one of the most popular Japanese food.
It is very sour and salty.
Wakayama Prefecture has been the Japan's leading producer of umeboshi, and the ume cultivar named "Nankobai" produces high-quality umeboshi.
Most of Nankobai in Japan are cultivated in Wakayama Prefecture.


Mikan is a kind of citrus, and is one of the most popular fruits in Japan.
It looks like orange, but mikan is seedless and peels easily. So we can eat it readily.
Wakayama Prefecture is the leading producer of mikan. Especially Arida-mikan produced along Arida River is famous.
Mikan is harvested around late autumn, and we enjoy tasting mikan during winter.


It is a local food around Shingu city in the southeast part of Wakayama Prefecture.
First, rice ball is made with vinegared rice. Then it is wrapped with the pickled leaves of takana, a kind of leaf mustard.
Originally, it has been a portable lunch when farmers go work in the fields or in the forests.
"Mehari" means "to open the eyes wide". When you sink tour teeth into a large Mehari-zushi, you must open your eyes very wide.

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