Go to the sea to watch whales and dolphins, and bathe in an outdoor hot spring
Located on a quiet cove looking out to the Pacific Ocean, Katsuura is a coastal haven offering never-frozen bluefin tuna, relaxing bay cruises, and natural outdoor hot springs to relieve your stress. The Katsuura area is known for its picturesque beauty and tranquil atmosphere, making it a perfect destination for those seeking a peaceful retreat.
One of the highlights of visiting Katsuura is the opportunity to watch whales and dolphins in their natural habitat. The area is home to more than 100 rock islets scattered around the calm waters of Katsuura Bay, creating a safe haven for migrating pods of these magnificent creatures. During the warmer half of the year, the bay becomes a popular spot for whale and dolphin watching, as the animals make their way through the area. It is truly a breathtaking sight to see these majestic creatures swimming gracefully in the open ocean.
In addition to the wildlife sightings, Katsuura also offers a unique bathing experience in its outdoor hot springs. There are many hot springs in the area, each with its own unique charm and healing properties. One of the most notable hot springs is located at Hotel Urashima, where hot spring water gushes out of a natural cave called Bokido. The cave is beautifully lit, creating a serene and magical atmosphere for visitors to enjoy. Another popular hot spring is at Kumano Villa Nakanoshima, which offers a wonderful open-air bath by the sea. Taking a dip in these hot springs is not only relaxing but also beneficial for your health, as the mineral-rich waters are known to have various therapeutic effects.
When visiting Katsuura, there are several activities and attractions that you shouldn’t miss. One of them is a pleasure cruise around the rock islets of Katsuura Bay. These cruises offer a unique perspective of the area, allowing you to admire the natural beauty of the islets up close. As you sail through the calm waters, keep an eye out for the famous Lion Rock, Crane Rock, and Camel Rock, which are named after their resemblance to these animals. The captain of the cruise boat will navigate around the rocky outcrops, providing you with ample opportunities to take stunning photographs and enjoy the breathtaking scenery.
Another must-visit destination in Katsuura is the raw tuna market, which boasts the largest catch of raw tuna in japan. The market is a bustling hub of activity, especially in the early morning when the freshly caught tuna is unloaded. You can witness the excitement of the tuna auction, where the precious fish are lined up for potential buyers to inspect and bid on. It’s a fascinating experience to see the gleaming raw tuna up close and learn about the process of trading these prized delicacies. To make the most of your visit to the market, consider joining a guided tour that includes breakfast. This way, you can enjoy a delicious meal featuring the freshest seafood while learning about the local fishing industry.
Getting to Katsuura is relatively easy, thanks to the JR Kuroshio Limited Express Train. This scenic train serves the whole eastern Wakayama coastline and transports visitors from Shin-Osaka to Kii-Katsuura Station in approximately 3.5 hours. Along the way, the train stops at various towns and cities, allowing you to explore other attractions in the Wakayama prefecture, such as Hashigui Iwa or Shirahama Beach. If you’re traveling from Nagoya, the Nanki Limited Express Train is a convenient option, taking you to Katsuura in just under four hours. Whether you’re coming from Osaka or Nagoya, the train journey itself is a delightful experience, as you can enjoy stunning coastal views and immerse yourself in the beauty of the surrounding nature.
Once you arrive in Katsuura, you’ll be greeted by a serene and picturesque coastal town. The area is known for its abundant hot springs, boasting the largest number of hot springs in the prefecture. This makes Katsuura a popular resort area, attracting visitors from near and far who are seeking relaxation and rejuvenation. The town is dotted with various hot spring resorts and hotels, each offering its own unique features and amenities. Whether you prefer a traditional Japanese-style inn or a modern hotel, you’ll find plenty of options to suit your preferences and budget. Soaking in the hot spring baths while taking in the panoramic views of the ocean is a truly blissful experience that will leave you feeling refreshed and revitalized.
In addition to its natural beauty and hot springs, Katsuura is also rich in cultural and historical attractions. One of the must-visit sites in the area is Kumano Nachi Taisha, one of the Kumano Sanzan. This sacred shrine is an important pilgrimage destination for many Japanese people and is known for its stunning architecture and tranquil atmosphere. The shrine is located in Nachi-Katsuura, a town neighboring Katsuura, and can be easily accessed by public transportation or a short drive. Exploring the shrine grounds and learning about its significance in Japanese history and spirituality is a fascinating experience that shouldn’t be missed.
Overall, Katsuura is a hidden gem on the eastern coast of Wakayama prefecture, offering a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and relaxation. Whether you’re interested in watching whales and dolphins, indulging in hot spring baths, or exploring historical sites, Katsuura has something to offer for everyone. The tranquility and serenity of the area make it an ideal destination for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and immerse themselves in the beauty of nature. So, why not plan a trip to Katsuura and experience all that this coastal haven has to offer? You won’t be disappointed.
Address And Maps Location:
Nachi-Katsuur-cho, Higashimuro-gun, Wakayama-ken