Shirahama, located on the south of the Wakayama Prefecture is a coastal resort town known for its hot springs and beautiful white quartz-sand beach. Its shore is lined with hotels built in the late 20th century, giving it a nostalgic feel. But the popularity of Shirahama onsen dates back centuries, as its earliest record was over a thousand years old, making it one of Japan’s Three Oldest Hot Springs, along with Dogo Onsen and Arima Onsen. Because of this rich history, a variety of hot springs for visitors and locals to enjoy.
Shirahama Onsen has six bathhouses open to the public, two of them, Sakinoyu and Shirasuna, being outdoor baths along the beach which strikes interest in most visitors. There are a variety of hot spring water sources with different qualities in Shirahama, but there are three main types: sodium chloride, hypertonic springs, and alkalescent hypertonic spring with multiple health benefits to help with muscle pain and skin problems.
The resort town is host to numerous lodgings to accommodate the waves of tourists coming to enjoy a vacation. And right on the shores of Shirahama beach, the modern Shiraraso Grand Hotel overlooks the ocean and offers its guests unobstructed views. It features a hundred Japanese and Western-style rooms, an outdoor summer pool, and a diving area. Guests can find large communal baths, indoor and outdoor to be available, as well as private, reservable baths. The open-air baths feature a view of the sea and a garden area. Along with this, Shiraraso Grand Hotel serves its guests a traditional kaiseki dinner and a Japanese breakfast, both featuring local seasonal ingredients. Isokaze, the hotel restaurant, also serves fresh local seafood dishes. There is also a luxury bayfront hotel, Hotel Kawakyu, that offers spacious Japanese and Western-style suites and an indoor pool, along with hot-spring baths. The hotel offers a variety of high-quality hot spring baths in addition to the en-suite open-air baths. There are large communal hot-spring baths as well as ones that can be reserved for private use. Additionally, a sauna and a massage are also available at the guests’ leisure.
For free-flowing hot spring baths, Infinito Hotel and Spa offers just that for its guests along with a swimming pool and a gym. Guests will be able to enjoy the breathtaking view of the ocean from their suites. Some suites will have open-air hot spring baths sourced from Miyukinoyu, a natural spring. The hotel boasts of an open-air infinity bath that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. In addition, there are also indoor hot spring baths. Guests are offered the option to dine in the garden restaurant “Giovanni” that specializes in Italian cuisine, or the Japanese restaurant “Nagi”. In addition, there is also a cafe, “Dolce” that serves light snacks. Hotel Sanrakuso also offers a Japanese breakfast buffet is served in the restaurant, “Wakuwaku”, a multi-course kaiseki meal is served to guests in their suites. The hotel offers Japanese-style suites fitted with tatami mat flooring and futon beds, and some having their own private open-air bath. Hotel Sanrakuso offers hot spring baths fed directly from the source, from large communal baths, both indoor and open-air with views of the beach, as well as smaller baths such as the pottery baths. In the summers, a sailboat type open-air bath is available and is child-friendly as children are invited to play in the area.
Vacationing families are also invited to stay at Yanagiya. The ryokan features a seasonal outdoor swimming pool and rooms that are fit for seniors and families with babies. The ryokan will have rooms with private open-air onsens, as well as a baby room that’s fully equipped to accommodate infant care. Yanagiya offers its guests several hot spring bath options, from more modern variations to a historic hot spring that features a view of the Pacific Ocean, to child-friendly and senior-accessible facilities. To make the stay more enjoyable for younger family members, Yanagiya has an indoor playground and a kiddie pool as well. Accommodations for furry family members can be found in Hotel Bellevedere. The family-friendly hotel offers a pet house along with the regular rooms. The hotel offers five types of Mediterranean-style baths overlooking the Pacific Ocean–Gender-segregated women’s and men’s baths, both indoor and open-air. Additionally, there is also a footbath available that is situated on a terrace facing the ocean. Guests are welcome to pick their dining experience, from the French Restaurant “Le Ciel”, “Hana Kairou”, and a barbecue place “Nagashi Somen”.
Shirahama Onsen can be accessed via train Tokyo Station or bus from Ikebukuro Station, from Osaka by train from Shin-Osaka Station, or by bus from Osaka Station, and from Fukuoka Hakata Station by train.
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