Exploring Japan Heritage by the Sea and World Heritage in the Mountains

Walking along the ancient Kumano Kodo and enjoying views of the ocean on the way to Miwasaki, which played a key role in the history of whaling

Next, you’ll take a walk that brings you face to face with Shingu’s history and natural beauty. Your first destination will be Ukijima-no-Mori Island, a mysterious forest of about 5,000 square meters that seems in its entirety to be floating in a bog. The rare colony of plants, which have adapted to both hot and cold weather, has been designated as a Natural Monument by the Japanese government. Next, you’ll feast on a lunch of Kumano beef at Yakiniku Hige. The shop Maffably is also located close by, so don’t forget to take a look.

Ukijima-no-Mori Island (left photo)
Yakiniku Hige (right photo)

In the afternoon, you’ll head over Kumano Kodo Koya-zaka Slope, a registered World Heritage site, on your way to Miwasaki, which long ago was a base of whaling. The route from Yakiniku Hige to the Koya-zaka Slope trailhead (on the Hirotsuno side) can be a little difficult to follow, so you may want to take a taxi for that.

Kumano Kodo Koya-zaka Slope

It’s a great idea to take a stroll along Ojigahama Coast before setting out for Koya-zaka Slope. From the trailhead, you can walk underneath the Kisei Main Line bridge, which parallels the road, to gain access to the beach*. There’s a viewing area a little way up Koya-zaka Slope from which you can see Ojigahama Coast, and if you go a little further, there are two Japan Heritage sites: the Harpooners’ Stone Shrine and the Whale Lookout.
*The area underneath the bridge is prone to flood after heavy rain, making Ojigahama Coast inaccessible.

Harpooners’ Stone Shrine (left photo)
Whale Lookout (right photo)

Next, you’ll descend the hill and proceed along the coast until you reach Miwasaki Fishing Port. Kushima Island and Suzushima Island both lie beyond the fishing port and can be reached by walking along the embankment. The islands are covered with coastal plants that favor a warm climate, for example crinum, which produces white flowers during the summer. It’s worth taking a look at the intricate topography that was formed by natural forces acting on Suzushima Island.

Kushima Island and Suzushima Island

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Japan Heritage festivals and traditional
performing arts that depict whaling culture