In southern Wakayama Prefecture lies the area known as Nanki Shirahama. This area is one of the top resorts in the Kansai Region, famous for one of Japan's oldest hot springs, Shirahama Onsen. Rich in hot springs sources, Nanki Shirahama is a resort town that boasts plenty of hot spring inns, footbaths, and day-trip destinations.
Read on to learn about some of Shirahama Onsen's most popular hot spring tourist attractions and hotels.
Photo courtesy of Shirahama Town Hall Tourism Division

What is Shirahama Onsen all about?

Shirarahama Beach during sea-bathing season (Photo courtesy of Nanki Shirahama Tourism Association)

Shirahama Town, Wakayama Prefecture, is home to a popular tourist attraction known for the white sandy shores of its namesake beach, Shirarahama Beach. The region is also known as Nanki Shirahama for its location in the southern part of the Kii Peninsula.
Shirarahama is a white beach that extends about 620m in length. Its emerald green waters and coconut trees make you feel like you're in a Hawaiian resort at Waikiki Beach! (This makes sense, considering that it is affiliated with Waikiki Beach as a sister beach!)
But the beauty of Nanki Shirahama isn't limited to its beaches alone. In the east, the Kii Mountains tower over 1,000 meters above sea level, and in the west are the scenic coastal spots of Sandanbeki and Engetsuto. This town is also home to the hot springs we'll introduce today.
Shirahama Onsen has a long history, dating back over 1,350 years. It's even mentioned in the Nihon Shoki (The Chronicles of Japan), one of Japan's oldest historical books. This book is said to have been completed around 720 and covers everything from Japan's creation myths and ancient deities to the period of around 300AD.
Shirahama Onsen has been revered as one of Japan's three oldest hot springs, together with Dogo Onsen (Ehime Prefecture) and Arima Onsen (Hyogo Prefecture).

Stunning sunset view from Saki-no-yu (Photo courtesy of Shirahama Town Hall Tourism Division)

Many of these famous hot springs contain ingredients believed to be beneficial for the skin and body, with relaxation and beautifying effects. The coastline is dotted with all kinds of facilities that offer free-flowing hot springs, footbaths, and public baths.
At Shirahama Onsen, many travelers come to experience 'yumeguri,' or 'hot springs tours,' where you can get a taste of all kinds of hot springs, footbaths, and communal baths. Many hotels and inns also allow for day trips, making it easier to plan your own hot spring tour.
As the hot springs area is relatively wide, we recommend using the route bus around Shirahama. Depe…

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