Japan's Waikiki: Visiting Shirahama Beach

A bit of Hawaii in Japan

By Alena Eckelmann    - 2 min read

A white sandy beach and a southern resort feeling with palm trees and a stunning sunset make Shirahama Beach located at the southern tip of the Kii Peninsula an excellent alternative to flying out to Hawaii. Actually Shirahama Beach and Waikiki Beach have a good-will sister-beach relationship, and I wonder whether the white sand is also from Hawaii.

Shirahama Beach in summer is packed with people, but during the colder seasons, like in March here, only few people stroll along the beach. When you got cold from your winter stroll along this beautiful beach, head to the onsen and warm up. Of course all accommodations here in Shirahama have onsen on premise but there are also a few public onsen.

Book in at a hotel by the beach, for example at Shiraraso Grand Hotel, and you just have to cross the road for a plunge into the water. Even better: you can combine your beach holiday with onsen pleasures: Shirahama is one of Japan's oldest and still one of its best onsen resorts.

There are some interesting sights nearby, and if you like venturing further afield by car or on bicycle, you can make your way down to the southern tip of the Kii Peninsula and visit Kushimoto Town and see the Hashikui Rocks, or visit the "most southern tip of Honshu" at Cape Shionomisaki.

If you plan to walk the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trails, then why not have your first night or last night in the area at Shirahama Beach?

Many keen Kumano Kodo hikers skip Shirahama and the southern part of the Kii Peninsula altogether but there are many places of natural beauty and many options for outdoor adventures in Wakayama, including cycling and hiking but also kayaking, SUP paddling, snorkeling and diving.

Not to mention great fish and seafood at restaurants in Shirahama and nearby Tanabe, and all along the coast of the Kii Peninsula!

Getting there

Ride the Kuroshio Express Train from Osaka, Shin-Osaka Station of Tennoji Station, to Shirahama. These JR trains are bound for Shingu and they also stop at Tanabe (for access to the Kumano Kodo trails), at Kushimoto (for the Hashikui Rocks, diving and sea kayak), at Katsuura (for the freshest tuna ever) and terminate in Shingu (another access point to the Kumano Kodo trails and to the Kumano Sanzan, the Three Grand Shrines of Kumano).

Alternatively, take a flight from Haneda Airport (Tokyo) to Nanki-Shirahama Airport.

Was this article helpful?

Give us feedback

2
2
Alena Eckelmann

Alena Eckelmann @alena.eckelmann

Founder of Kii Monogatari, my story and the story of the Kii Peninsula of Japan. Originally from East Germany, I came to Tokyo, via Berlin and London, in 2005. In summer 2011 I moved by choice to remote Kumano in the south of the Kii Peninsula where I live, work and play now, and explore every day.The whole of the Kii Peninsula is a Healing Hub for me with its abundance of forest, mountains, rivers, waterfalls, the ocean, friendly rural communities and sacred places. This is where nature meets spirituality, and tradition meets sustainability, the new paradigm for travel post-pandemic. My deep interest is in Japanese nature & spirituality. I love being in nature, in the forest and in the mountains, and I love spending time at temples and shrines.  I am building my life and my work around these two passions. I am a Licensed Forest Therapy (Shinrin Therapy) Guide and a Licensed Kumano Kodo and Koyasan Guide. I am also a Licensed Retreat Facilitator and I am planning retreats on the Kii Peninsula. Last but not least, I have been the Japan Travel Partner for Wakayama and Yamagata since the conception of the platform in 2011! These two prefectures are close to my heart because they are the centers of Shugendo, a spiritual tradition of mountain ascetism. I am a Shugendo Practitioner for over ten years now and received Tokudo in 2016 at a Shugendo temple on Yoshinoyama. Please kindly connect via my Facebook Page Kii Monogatari. Take care, keep well, stay safe!