Shirahama (白浜) is on the western coast of Wakayama prefecture, Japan. It is best known for its beautiful white beach and hot springs. The main beach is lined with hotels like a mini Waikiki. The hotels were built in the 1960s, 70s and 80s and have a very nostalgic look. During the summer, there are fireworks every night on the beach.
The easiest way to get to Nanki Shirahama is by air or by train to avoid the traffic jams on the country roads leading into Tanabe City and Shirahama. An express way connecting the city to Osaka almost reaches Shirahama. The expressway is only two lanes, so it can get crowded in summer.
- 1 Nanki–Shirahama Airport (SHM IATA, 南紀白浜空港, Nanki Shirahama kūkō). Daily flights to Haneda airport in Tokyo with JAL. Regular buses connect the airport to JR Shirahama Station (¥360-610 depending on route used).
- 2 Kansai International Airport (KIX IATA, 関西空港, Kansai kūkō) (southwest of Osaka, north of Shirahama). The nearest international airport. On weekdays there are three highway buses that leave from Rinku Town, one train stop away on JR or Nankai, and make multiple stops in the Shirahama area (2 hr 40 min to Shirahama Bus Center, ¥2680 + ¥370 train fare). Otherwise take a JR commuter train to either Hineno or Wakayama (changing in Hineno) and transfer to the Kuroshio limited express (about 2 hr 15 min, ¥4730).
- 3 Shirahama station (白浜駅, shirahama-eki) (at least 4km west to the seaside tourist sites). Located on the JR West Kinokuni line. Kuroshio limited express trains run hourly from Shin-Osaka (2 hr 30 min, ¥5600) and Tennoji (2 hr 15 min, ¥5270).
- Three Step Cliff (三段壁 Sandanbeki). A beautiful view from cliffs on the ocean edge that are 50 meters high. There is also a guided tour into to the caverns inside the cliffs. It is said that pirates (kumano suigun)used to inhabit the caverns and the remains of their dwellings can be seen. A good tour for young children and dads trying to avoid shopping. Admission charged.
- Senjojiki (千畳敷). A beautiful rocky point near Shirahama beach. The view is best late in the afternoon. Admission is free.
- Kishu Museum. A small but interesting museum housing Ukiyo-e prints of all "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji" by Andō Hiroshige among some quality pottery and screens.
- Engetsu Island. A small island in Shirahama bay (20 minutes walk from the mean beach to get in front of it). A rock formation with a hole in the middle allows in some days to see the Sun set through it. An enjoyable view and stroll in any (not too hot or humid) day.
- Kumano Kodo. Old road.
- See also: Public baths in Japan
- 1 Shirahama Sakinoyu Onsen (白浜崎の湯温泉). Summer 08:00-19:00, winter 10:00-15:00, closed on Wednesday. This spectacular hot spring is celebrated as one of Japan's Top 3 hot springs and cited in old texts. As it lies just at the waterfront bigger waves from ocean cool down the pool's hot water and splash the bathers which adds to the fun and pleasure. ¥420 entrance fee, ¥200 for a towel, ¥100 for using a locker.
In the summer time it is very crowded so reservations are advised. There are also reservation centers that might be able to help.
- Guesthouse shirahama, a cool small guest house with dorm and group rooms ¥2000 a night
- Hotel Koganoi, ☏ . ¥20,000.
- Koganoi Bay Hotel, ☏ . ¥22,000.
- Shiraraso Grand Hotel, ☏ . ¥20,000.
- Miyukien, ☏ . ¥15,000.
- Hotel Senjo, ☏ . ¥16,000.
- Minshuku A Course, ☏ . ¥10,000.
- Minshuku Katsuya, ☏ . ¥7000.
- Shirara, ☏ . ¥8000.
- Hotel Shirahama, ☏ . ¥7000.
- Taiya, ☏ . ¥7000.