Wakayama Prefecture is located on the far western end of Japan in Kyushu. The land is known mainly for its onsen and wildlife. Though the area is recovering from the devastation of the recent Kumamoto earthquake that happened at the beginning of 2016, you will find no shortage of things to do around the resort town of Shirahama. Yukai Resort Shirahama Gyoen puts you in the middle of both relaxation and amusements.
Smorgasbord Restaurant Shikisai is the name of the on-site restaurant. It is buffet-style with dozens of options that are not limited to Japanese cooking. You can have Chinese noodles, shrimp tempura, sushi, freshly baked croissants and pudding all in one meal.
Yukai Resort Shirahama Gyoen Hotel Access:
Use the JR Kinokuni Line from Kansai International Airport (if coming in by plane) and disembark at the Shirahama station. By bus from the airport, it will take you about 20 minutes. When coming from Osaka area, catch a rapid train at the JR Tennoji Station. The trip is about 2 hours and costs around 5,500 yen. If you take the local train, it’s 4 hours but 3,140 yen.
Since Shirahama is a popular vacation location for even the Japanese, there’s a lot to do. You’ll find sights and entertainment no matter which way you turn. But here’s some of the best and closest to the resort:
wakayama prefecture shirahama beach
Shirahama Beach – A beach that is so popular you need to reserve a seat. It might be worthwhile to check out how the Japanese party up on the white sandy strand while enjoying the pristine waters, though it’s not exactly cheap to do so. Shirahama Beach is very close by, so even if you just people-watch, it’ll be an experience.
To the north, a lesser known beach called Ezura might up more your speed. Ezura is close to Kuman Sansho Shrine, part of a sacred forest with a 6th century tumulus and Engetsuto Rock and set within Sakata Park. The walk you take to reach it is incredible and full of picture-perfect views.
wakayama minakata kumagusu museum
Minakata Kumagusu Museum – Also within the vicinity of Kuman Sansho Shrine and Hongaku-ji Temple is this museum, dedicated to a man whose folklore studies artworks are brought to life and scattered throughout the grounds. The wooden statues are quite lovely, and you get the bonus of fantastic views from the cliffs.
wakayama shirahama energy land
Shirahama Energy Land – Closer to the resort and not even 5 minutes from Shirahama Beach. Like Adventure World but more compact—and still loads of fun. Energy World has an aquarium, illusion rooms, an obstacle course and dinosaur-themed fun. Kids will love the souvenir shop, and adults will love the exercise.
wakayama shirahama adventure world
Shirahama Adventure World – This theme park is one of the many reasons people find themselves in Wakayama. Not only will you find pandas everywhere, the zoo is large, the animals are well taken care of, and there’s plenty of experience shows to entertain everyone. Next, you can go on various amusement park rides or go on tours, including the Kenya train ride. A lot of the food is decorated with pandas too.
wakayama hei sogen park
Hei-sogen Park – On your way to or from Adventure World, look for a white and blue sign. The park has trails that are lined with various flora. In the springtime, people flock to the patch of green for the cherry blossoms. But you can see most of Shirahama’s expanse from the lofty lookout.
Because of the seaside location, Wakayama Prefecture knows how to make sushi, sashimi, and other seafood cuisine the right way.
wakayama pescatore restaurant
Right near Ezura Beach is a seaside Italian café called Pescatore that serves up authentic, al dente pasta, large pizzas with fresh ingredients, and cute illustrations of menu items. Everything is in Japanese, however.
wakayama sushi restaurant kiraku
Moments away from Yukai Resort Shirahama Gyoen is the sushi restaurant Kiraku. Regional Wakayama Prefecture cooking is also available here, making it a one-stop location for seriously satisfying sushi and a true umami experience.
wakayama seafood restaurant jinriki
Seafood Restaurant Jinriki – Literally on the Shirahama Beach, this place is full of excellent sea-inspired treats. Battered lobster is just one of the specialties. People love the healthy options as well.
Shirahama is not mainly beaches and sunsets. You can do a lot with the family here. Enjoy days of walking adventures and amusement parks then end the days at the resort’s luxurious restaurant and hot springs.