Wander around and be captivated by the majestic nature in Wakayama. If you are looking for a weekend escape this may be the perfect place!
Wakayama is located on Japan’s largest peninsula. It connects Mie prefrecture, Osaka and Nara and is home to some of the most beautiful sights in Japan. Travelers can enjoy hiking Mount Koyasan, catching some waves in Shirahama beach area, and the serenity of Kii-katsuura.
Although not a very challenging hike, the mountains in Ki-Katsuura is as beautiful as it is serene and is perfect for beginner hikers, or those who enjoy a slower more leisurely pace. Kii-Katsura has plateaued rice terraces, walking trails, Nachi no taki and local onsens all within walking distance.
The area where Nachi no taki is located has a serene feel to it, almost spiritual. The area has a number of pagodas and temples in the vicinity and is very tranquil. Kumano Nachi Taisha is in Nachi Katsuura and is one of the three Kumano shrines. These shrines are part of the “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes”, which is probably why it has such a spiritual feel to it. Kumano Nachi Taisha, Seigantoji (Temple of Blue Waves), and Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes are located in the area of Nachi waterfalls and are also listed as UNESCO world heritage site. Nachi no Taki can unmistakably be seen against the wall of greenery that surrounds this area. It sits at 133m and is said to be the tallest waterfall in Japan. The rush of the water looks almost unreal, but the roar of the gushing water is quite a sight.
Kumano Nachi Taisha Access
If you want to wind down, and look to rest a bit, there are plenty of onsen options nearby to rejuvenate, refresh, and recuperate before continuing your journey. Both Hotel Nakanoshima and Hotel Urashima offer spectacular ocean views, with outdoor baths overlooking the ocean. I can personally attest that the views are unforgettable, and the sunsets are absolutely breathtaking. A wonderful experience at an affordable cost.
Wakayama is abundant with points of interest for the leisurely traveller. But it isn’t always this serene and peaceful all year round. July 14th marks the return of the Waterfall God, Nachi no Otaki, this day is known as Nachi no Hi Matsuri. This celebration is said to be a 1,700-year-old event and is considered to be one of the most sacred in Japan. In this festival of fire, portable floats and dance, onlookers are guaranteed to be astounded at the display of color and light against the scenery of Nachi waterfalls and the twilight to night sky. 12 flaming, 50kg torches, are carried to the base of Nachi waterfalls in a vibrant, and lively dance-like walk by a group of young Japanese men dressed in white. These torches represent the 12 months of the year, and the 12 God’s that live in the area. The torch bearers walk up and down the stairs swinging, swaying, and waving these torches. The festival intensifies when the portable floats are set ablaze, in a fiery ball of orange and red. This is said to purify and cleanse the area for when Nachi no Otaki returns.
Wakayama is worth the trip any time of the year.