1. Tomogashima [Wakayama]
Tomogashima, known as the Laputa of Wakayama is abundant in nature and a popular tourist spot where you can vividly feel the effects of bygone wartime. Also one of its appeals are the many rare plants and wild animals that inhabit there. “Tomogashima” is the general name for a group of islands; Jinoshima, Torashima, Koushima and Okinoshima. You can have your fill of trekking as you experience the mysterious worldview of Laputa.
Access: 2 hour ferry from Osaka Nanba (Adults: ¥2,000, children: ¥1,000)
HP: www.wakayamakanko.com/china_h/ (中文)
HP: www.wakayamakanko.com/seeing/nature2.html (Japanese)
Address: Kada, Wakayama, Wakayama Prefecture (Google Map)
2. Engetsu Island [Wakayama]
Engetsu Island is a famous symbol of Nanki Shirahama, floating beyond its coast. It’s official name is Takashima and it measures 130m north to south and 35m east to west. It got the name “Engetsu” from the round, moon-shaped hole that goes through the center of the island. Also, the setting sun at Engetsu Island is so beautiful, its one of “Wakayama’s best 100 sunsets” and is a popular photo spot. During summer, the sunset is around 6:30 and in winter it is around 4:30. You can get closer to the island on a glass-bottom boat so this is recommended.
Access: 2 hours from Osaka by car.
HP: www.nanki-shirahama.net/chinese_t/ (中文)
HP: www.nanki-shirahama.com/search/details.php?log=1332736052 (Japanese)
Address: Rinkai, Shirahama, Nishimuro District, Wakayama Prefecture (Google Map)
3. Nachi no Taki [Wakayama]
Nachi no Taki boasts of being Japan’s tallest falls (at 133 meters) with the most volume of water, making it a registered World Heritage site. Nachi no Taki is the general name for the 48 falls in the Nachisan area. Kumano Nachi Taisha which is a separated shrine, is said to house the spirit of a deity, so every year it is visited by many worshippers. It goes without saying that one of the most impressive things about the falls is Seigantoji, the three storied pagoda which is so beautiful against the landscape, it looks like a painting and has become a popular area. It is 4 hours one way from Osaka which is a bit far but it’s recommended to go there as a day trip which many people do.
Access: 4 hours by car from Osaka
HP: www.town.nachikatsuura.wakayama.jp/forms/top/top.aspx (Japanese Only, automatic translations available)
Address: Nachisan, Nachikatsuura, Higashimuro District, Wakayama Prefecture (Google Map)
4. Tanize Suspension Bridge [Nara]
Tanize Suspension Bridge is a suspension bridge that was built for daily use in 1954 using donations from the local people. It is 300m in length making it famous as Japan’s longest suspension bridge. Up to 20 people can cross at once and it’s become a hotspot for tourists due to it’s satisfying thrill. The bridge lights up from 5pm – 9pm so it’s great for sightseeing as well and on August 4th “Bridge day”, there is a lively taiko drumming even held there. It’s 2 hours by car from Osaka. Although there’s also quite a long walking distance, it’s definitely worth it.
HP: totsukawa.info/joho/kanko/ (Japanese Only)
Address: Uenoji, Totsukawa, Yoshino District, Nara Prefecture (Google Map)
5. Akashi Kaikyo Bridge [Hyogo]
Akashi Kaikyo Bridge is the world’s longest suspension bridge and has even been registered in the Guinness Book of Records. It took 10 years to complete and the length is a whipping 3,911 meters long. Also, the height of the main tower that can be climbed by the reservation system is 333 meters. You can watch the spectacular view from the same height as Tokyo Tower! At night it lights up in 28 different patterns, making it a popular location.
Access: 1 hour by car from Osaka
Business hours: 8:30 – 21:30
HP: www.hyogo-park.or.jp/maiko/ (Japanese Only)
Address: Higashimaikocho, Tarumi Ward, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture – Iwaya, Awaji, Hyogo Prefecture (Google Map)
6. Dorokyo Gorge [Wakayama]
Dorokyo is situated at the borders of 3 prefectures; Wakayama, Nara and Mie. It has been designated as a special scenic spot and a natural monument of the country. It’s a picturesque area with clean water and surrounded by beautiful nature in every season. You can enjoy the valley surrounded by sheer cliff drops from a water jet boat. It takes about 3 hours by car from Osaka to get there so it’s perfect as a day trip and it’s recommended to go the day after it rains and enjoy the morning mist.
Access: 3 hours from Osaka by car
HP: totsukawa.info/joho/kanko/6doro-kyo_gorge.html (Japanese Only)
Address: Kumanogawacho Shimazu, Shingu, Wakayama Prefecture (Google Map)
7. Takeda Castle [Hyogo]
Referred to as “The Machu Picchu of Japan”, you can marvel at the magical scenery of Takeda Castle which is wrapped in a sea of clouds as far as the eye can see and appears to be floating in the sky. Also, there are countless stone walls that boast of magnificent landscapes and an overwhelming presence at the summit of the mountain which you can feel even when there isn’t a sea of clouds. The right timing for seeing the sea of clouds is usually from September to November. It is located 2 hours by car from Osaka which is relatively short. However, the path there is quite difficult so be sure to come prepared.
Access : 2 hours by car from Osaka
Fare: Adults (High school and up) ¥300, Middle school and lower free.
HP: www.city.asago.hyogo.jp/takeda/ (Japanese Only, automatic translations available)
Address: Wadayama-cho, Asago-shi, Hyogo Prefecture (Google Map)
8. Amanohashidate [Kyoto]
From long ago till today, Amanohashidate has been known for its picturesque scenery and there are definitely many people who’ve heard the name before. The spectacular view from the mountaintop, where the white sandy beach dotted with pines seems to stretches out, is one of its highlights. Additionally, several times a year on cold winter mornings, the area covered with a blanket of pure white snow is incredibly beautiful and worth seeing.
Access: 2 hours from Osaka by car.
HP: www.amanohashidate.jp/lang/tw/ (中文)
HP: www.amanohashidate.jp/ (Japanese)
Address: Monju, Amanohashidate Koen, Miyazu, Kyoto (Google Map)