Famous for its tuna hauls, including some of the largest specimens on record (you can buy the fish fresh at Tore Tore Ichiba), Wakayama is also home to the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes, a network of hiking trails listed among the UNESCO World Heritage sites. The prefecture’s southwestern Nanki-Shirahama area faces the Pacific—after your seafood and nature feasts, you can slip into a hot spring right on the beach at Shirahama, one of the country’s three oldest onsen. The Sakinoyu outdoor bath puts you close enough to the waves to feel their spray on your face. Wakayama is also known for its pickled ume apricots, a taste you’ll want to bring home.

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    From Shin-Osaka
    Take the Kuroshio Limited Express to Shirahama (135 minutes)
    From Tokyo Haneda Airport / HND
    Fly to Nanki-Shirahama Airport; then 7 minutes by taxi (75 minutes)
    From Kansai International Airport / KIX
    Take the JR Kansai Airport Rapid Service to Hineno; transfer to the Kuroshio Limited Express to Shirahama (150 minutes)