When we went to Japan, I was expecting to be in awe of the massive cities.
And I was.
What I wasn’t expecting was to be exposed to the inspiring beauty of the Japanese countryside. Fortunately, my friend and host knew what she was doing. She purposefully took us to some of the most beautiful sites I’ve seen in the world.
One of those places was Shirahama.
The Onsen Resort Town
During the day, my friend took us to one of her favorite places: Adventure World. The experience we had at the part-amusement-park-part-zoo was one I’ll never forget, but I won’t spend a lot of time on it because it is a bit expensive. In full disclosure, my friend insisted on paying our admission–for which we were incredibly grateful.
Adventure World is in Shirahama. While its’ a huge attraction, it’s far from the only one. This is a resort town built around onsens–or natural hot springs. You can visit the hot springs–like my sibling did–but keep in mind that you’ll be doing so naked per Japanese custom. Men’s and women’s onsens are separated for this reason.
Senjojiki Rock Formations
While my sibling was at the onsen, I visited some rocky formations on the coast with my friends. These formations were unlike anything I had ever seen. They were truly other-worldly.
The outcrop of geology was formed by a combination of the collision of tectonic plates, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic magma and erosion. These processes happened over a period of millions of years, and resulted in what is known as known as Senjojiki–or One Thousand Tatami Mats.
They’re simultaneously flat and steep, so you can walk out over them towards the sea–even standing on the ledge as the waves crash in on the rocks. But you do have to be careful as getting up on top of some of the formations requires more climbing than hiking.
For the part I visited, you didn’t need a carabiner and rope or anything, but you did want to check your footing and know where you were going to put your hands in some places.
Shirahama’s White Sand Beach
I have been told that “Shirahama” translates to “white beach.” As in looks-like-a-Carribean-white-sand-beach-with-crystal-blue-waters white beach.
It’s incredible, beautiful, and not at all what I expected in Japan. The fine, white sand stretches along nearly 550 yards of shoreline, and is as picturesque as anything you’ve ever seen. We were lucky enough to watch the sun set there over the Pacific Ocean.
Nature is Free
Shirahama was one of the most transformative experiences I had while visiting Japan. It’s raw and wild beauty literally moved me to tears.
Don’t judge until you’ve experienced it yourself.
As I sat there crying, I realized that the old adage really is true:
“The best things in life are free.”
(Though the onsen did cost my sibling a couple bucks.)
Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram! I started an account specifically to share extra Japan pictures with you guys, and Shirahama is not a week you’ll want to miss!