Tucked away from the crowded main streets surrounding Shirahama Beach, Wakayama, Senjojiki is a natural marvel left undisturbed and untouched by the modernization that the rest of Shirahama has subscribed to. Translating to “1,000 Tatami Mats,” Senjojiki is the horizontally layered rock formation caused by thousands of years of erosion from waves. It is the constantly evolving product of raging waves crashing over the cliffs have exposed the flesh of the earth and created flattened layers of washed out sepia tones.
Shirahama: Wakayama’s infamous resort town
Wakayama prefecture is well known for its stunning natural beauty and of course, the Kumano Kodo, a pilgrimage route that has been done by monks for a thousand years and trails through the mountainous scenery and coastal regions of the prefecture.
In Shirahama, the Southwestern edge of Wakayama prefecture, the stunning landscape has evolved into a pseudo resort city, Shirahama Beach being the central destination. Officially designated as the “sister beach” to Waikiki Beach in Hawaii, Shirahama Beach is a blindingly spectacular sight for tourists seeking refuge from the concrete streets of nearby Osaka and Kyoto.
White sand imported from Australia lines the coast, while miniature rock formations jut out along the edges of the beach. Depending on the season, the beach is either teeming with visitors in the peak seasons of summer, or resembling a desolate, sandy oasis in the off seasons. Along the boardwalk are the typical beach attractions such as restaurants and bars, but unique to Japan, there are quite a few public bathhouses where one can enjoy a warm bath after soaking in the salt and sun.
Explore the ancient levelled plane
However, for those seeking relief from the hyper-populated resort-like quality of the city, Senjojiki is a natural marvel untouched by the artificial nature of the coastal eccentricity.
Located on the Southwestern Peninsula of Shirahama, Senjojiki is a natural wonder that is easily accessible by bus or foot from downtown Shirahama. The layered formation steps are just asking to be explored, one can even get as close to the edges of the cliffs to feel the mist of the ocean and see little sea creatures in the pockets of rock, shallow tide pools. Circular rings left behind from evaporated salty water puddles create hazy patterns, each showing the great heights that the ocean once touched. Sitting on the edges of the plateaus bring about a certain meditative quality, and it is so easy to see why Wakayama is so well known for its natural beauty.
A time in space between land and sea
Although it’s not a largely promoted location in Shirahama, it’s still very much worth a visit. It’s a thrilling adventure to climb the layers of cliffs overlooking the Pacific ocean while imagining how much the formations have changed over time. Not to mention, it’s free! It’s easy to spend an hour at the cliffs, venturing between the great highs and lows in the depths and valleys of the formation.
The flatness of the cliff provides a natural, steadying foundation, although closer to the edge of the water might be a bit slippery due to the misty waves. It’s truly a sight to see, as it’s one of the remaining natural landscapes that has eluded industrialization in the midst of the developed resort town. It’s a stunning paradox to see a landscape that surpasses the modernity of time but is constantly evolving by nature.
Round out your journey in Shirahama
Japan is a nation notorious for its great efforts in preserving its natural landscapes, and Senjojiki is an excellent example of this cultural standard. Make the most of your trip to Shirahama and visit a stunning landscape fixed in time at Senjojiki!
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.