It’s been a long, long time since I went to a new prefecture in Japan but Wakayama-ken now takes me one closer to the total of 47. Admittedly, it was something of a short visit but they all count and this one did involve staying for the night as well as a night out itself. I should add that I am not desperately trying to visit all 47 of Japan’s prefectures but I guess it is something that I’d like to achieve eventually.
The aforementioned accommodation was called Smile Hotel; a great location right next to Wakayama Castle about 20 minutes west of Wakayama Station on foot. It provided me with a cheap nights accommodation at just 3000 yen. It had all the amenities anyone might need and actually had one of the best views I’ve ever had from a hotel room. It was just a little bit too early in the morning to see it at its best though when I woke and checked out just after 6am.
Down on the ground, I took a quick detour to see the castle a bit closer. I had seen it the night before but it was just too dark to show up in photographic form
The night before had begun by meeting my friend Neil at Wakayama Station around 6pm where we then headed about five minutes away to eat the ramen which is considered to be the best in Japan.
We were still hungry after that so we went to an izakaya chain for some more food (lots of yakitori!) and I had a few beers on what was my first night out since the outbreak of Covid_19 early last year. We did still have a plastic divider between us which makes it feel at times like you’re doing a transaction at a bank or whatever but it was fine.
We cut through JR Wakayama Station on the way home and Neil showed me the statue of Kishu dog (below) in the basement. I don’t think this is a similar story to the one of Hachiko outside Shibuya Station in Tokyo (or Odate Station in Akita Prefecture if you prefer!) but is just a statue of a dog breed from this region of Japan.
The following morning I took a bus to Gohyakurakanji Temple (below) south of Wakayamashi Station and was there just before 7 am but as I feared the place was not open 24 hours a day so I left empty-handed and took another bus north to the station and headed on up to Osaka Prefecture for the rest of the morning and afternoon.
Other “highlights” of my short time in Wakayama were coming across a vending machine selling Castella Soda; a cake dessert carbonated drink (below) where unbelievably the smooth and rich egg yolk taste of the Taiwanese cake really was evident, as indeed was the distinctive smell. It is supposed to be a drinkable sweet for those wanting to take a break from the edible form! The Godzilla energy drink, which is not available in Tokyo, could also be purchased from the same machine!
That strange drink was bought next to the unstaffed station of Miyamae on the Kisei Main Line which doesn’t have actual ticket gates to pass through as such yet there is still the slot for a ticket for those who don’t have an IC card to touch on the screen reader!
Click here to read ‘Dining Out: The Ramen Considered To Be The Best In Japan’
Click here to read ‘Unstaffed Stations Of Japan #6 – Miyamae’
Click here to read ‘The Japanese Castle Which Can Rival Himeji-jo For Appearing In Movies’