If you’re craving a bit of R&R after hiking to mountain temples or partying with the Wakayama locals, you have to get down to Shirahama Beach (not to be confused with the beach of the same name in Shizuoka Prefecture). Here you can enjoy pure white sand, clear blue waters, and some fantastic onsen looking out over the ocean.
The pristine sand of the beach is top-class, with some being imported from Australia to top up Shirahama’s reserves after a typhoon struck in the 1980s. The beach is twinned with Waikiki Beach in Hawaii, and at times you’ll feel like you’ve been teleported off to that tropical paradise.
In summer, you can also enjoy fantastic fireworks displays each evening, but be sure to arrive early to get a good spot! During the hotter months, weekend trippers from Osaka and Kyoto come down to Shirahama Beach en masse, because it’s widely regarded as the best beach in Kansai (if not all of Honshu).