Around Shirahama

The area around Shirahama 白浜 in the south of Wakayama-ken 和歌山県 not only boasts a warm and friendly climate, but also spectacular scenery and excellent Ume. Last weekend I could spend two days in this beautiful and for me completely new area. The first day was dedicated to exploring the sights around Shirahama, while the second day was dedicated to the Ume garden in Minabe.

We left Kanazawa on Friday evening, stayed overnight in Osaka, and continued with the morning train down to Minabe, arriving at lunch time.

Palms lining the beach near Shirahama

Our friend picked us up from the train station and we went directly south direction Shirahama for a lunch in a Pizzeria on the beach side, lined with palm trees, and views onto the wind driven sea side were surfers enjoyed the strong wind.

A wood-fired pizza, some salad, and an excellent home-made lemon juice prepared us for the windy sight-seeing trip in the afternoon.

On Saturday we were shown by our friends the sights around Minabe, namely the Engetsuto (円月島), a small rocky island with a whole in the rock wall. It looked to me like a great climbing spot.

Indeed, 裏日本, the side facing the Japan Sea, and 表日本, the side facing the pacific, are very different with respect to climate. Here surfing, there ice.

The white sand of Shirahama - imported from Australia

We continued along the coast line to the famous white sand beach of Shirarahama 白良浜, “sister beach” of Waikiki beach in Hawaii, where the sand has been imported from Australia.

Now, in February, it is peaceful and quiet over there, but looking at all the big hotels around I can easily imagine the amount of people around here during summer time, especially Obon.

A bit like Tojinbo in Ishikawa, the sandstone cliffs near Shirarahama

Last stop on the nature sight seeing trip today was Senjō-jiki (千畳敷), another rocky outpost, very similar to Ishikawa’s Tōjinbō (東尋坊), ragged sand stone cliffs extending into the sea.

The wind was so strong that we had a hard time standing there, and the waves sprayed high up into the air. All bathed in warm sun light, a very beautiful point.

After all these tiring excursions there was only one way to get us back on track, a nice coffee break in one of the famous hotels of the area, the Hotel Kawakyu. This hotel has a very interesting design in Art-Deco style, which reminded me of the interior of the Starship Titanic, but this will be the different blog post.

Starship Titanic? No Hotel lobby!

After a trip to the local fish market (with huge pieces of fish, sizes I have never seen in Kanazawa) we joined the rest of our guest family in a nearby restaurant before dropping dead tired in our beds in the hotel.

The following sunday we dedicated to the Ume garden in Minabe.

More photos in the gallery Minabe Wakayama-ken February 2013.


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