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Japan Holiday: The Mystical Charms of Kimino, Wakayama

Japan Holiday: The Mystical Charms of Kimino, Wakayama

Date published: 2 December 2019
Last updated: 22 July 2020

The number of overseas tourists visiting Japan increases annually, and Kimino, Wakayama is one of the destinations that is really gaining popularity. Relatively close to Osaka, the town’s residents recently produced a PR video that brought notoriety to the town’s reputation as a nice, quiet place.

Unknown outside Japan

Unknown outside Japan

Kimino is located in north-central Wakayama Prefecture. Kansai International Airport to the north, and world heritage site Mt. Koya to the east, are both about an hour away by car. But despite its ease of access, according to Kimino Town’s own information, not a single overseas tourist visited the area just a few years ago! But they're missing out. Here's why you really should be visiting Kimino.

Kimino’s delicious gourmet vegetables

Kimino’s delicious gourmet vegetables
Gelato Cup Double (Sansho Milk and Dried Persimmon Sake) 400 yen (tax not included)

There are shops throughout the town where you can enjoy local vegetables and fruits.

Kiminoka is a restaurant where you can enjoy delicious gelato full of the rich aroma of fruit grown by the shop’s owners. Single scoop cones and cups are 360 yen (excluding tax).

Lunch Set (1,800 yen, including tax)

Located in a renovated sake brewery, Kuratokuri Mominoki Shokudo serves lunches that include over twenty kinds of local vegetables, tofu, and potato patties. Since lunch ends when servings are sold out, advance reservations are recommended.

  • Kiminoka
    • Address 785-3 Miogawa, Kimino-cho, Kaiso-gun, Wakayama 640-1221
    • Phone Number 073-495-2910
    • Closed: Monday (Tuesday if Monday is a national holiday)
      785-3 Miogawa, Kimino-cho, Kaiso-gun, Wakayama, 640-1221

  • Kuratokuri Mominoki Shokudo
    くらとくり もみのき食堂
    • Address 685-4 Nishino, Kimino-cho, Kaiso-gun, Wakayama, 640-1252
    • Phone Number 090-4569-7447
    • Hours: Weekends, 11:00 - 17:00 (Lunch L.O. 14:00), closed weekdays

Kimino’s abundant souvenirs

Kimino’s abundant souvenirs
Hemp products

One of the town’s traditional products is natural hemp brooms for keeping floors and tatami mats clean and beautiful. Another great souvenir item is palm-sized desktop bowls (480 yen plus tax) from the Yamanoie Oishi rest house.

The resident goat, Sumire-chan, is super cute!

Handmade Japanese “washi” and paper products

The “Washi” paper products from Aserina are wonderful. Found in a refurbished storehouse, the shop produces handmade Japanese paper using traditional methods. You can even try making small washi items yourself (if spaces are available).

And, of course, there are edible souvenirs. You can get seasonal fruits and jams at a reasonable price at the Midorinosato Farmer’s Store.

  • Yamanoie Oishi
    • Address 899-29 Nakada, Kimino-cho, Kaiso-gun, Wakayama 640-1114
    • Phone Number 073-489-3586
    • Hours: 9:30 - 16:30, closed New Year's Day

  • Japanese paper workshop Aserina
    手漉き和紙 工房あせりな
    • Address 119 Kamataki, Kimino-cho, Kaiso-gun, Wakayama, 640-1255
    • Phone Number 073-488-1168
    • Hours: 10:00 - 17:00

  • Midorinosato Farmer’s Store
    • Address 971-1 Nishino, Kimino-cho, Kaiso-gun, Wakayama, 640-1252
    • Phone Number 073-489-5300
    • Hours: 9:00 - 17:00, closed Tuesdays

A superb view of the susuki grasslands!

A superb view of the susuki grasslands!

At an altitude of 870 meters, Oishi Kogen Highland gently spreads out in an unobstructed panorama. The plateau’s susuki grassland are especially breathtaking from late September to mid-November, when it shines silver in the morning sunlight and golden at sunset.

  • Oishi Kogen Highland
    • Address 899-29 Nakada, Kimino-cho, Kaiso-gun, Wakayama, 640-1114
    • Hours: 9:30 - 16:30, closed New Year’s Day

See the Milky Way with the naked eye!

See the Milky Way with the naked eye!

Located at the summit of Matsugamine, 430 meters above sea level, Misato Observatory is one of the best star-viewing spots in Japan. During weekly stargazing sessions, guests can use the largest telescope in Wakayama (105 cm diameter), and the area is perfect for meteor watching as you lie on the grass. While you wait for the sun to set, you can enjoy the observatory’s planetarium and 3D theater.

  • Kimino Misato Observatory
    • Address 180 Matsugamine, Kimino-cho, Kaiso-gun, Wakayama, 640-1366
    • Phone Number 073-498-0305
    • Hours: Wed. 13:00 - 17:00; Thurs. & Sun. 13:00 - 19:30; Fri. & Sat. 13:00 - 20:30; Closed Mon. & Tues.
      Starry Sky Tour: Thurs., Sun. & Holiday from 19:30; Fri. & Sat. 19:30 & 20:30 (1 hour each)
      Planetarium: from 14:30, 3D Theater (Space Journey): from 15:30 (30 minutes each, Sat., Sun. & holidays)
      Admission: Starry Sky Tour: Adults 210 yen (500 yen with cafe), elementary and junior high and high school students 100 yen (same amount with cafe), free for preschoolers; Planetarium & 3D theater: free (All prices include tax. Prices subject to change)

Hotels embraced by nature!

Hotels embraced by nature!

Ueminami, an inn found in a 150-year-old house built on a mountain, is surrounded by nature and has no TV or vending machines on site.

Guests are limited to one group per day, so visiting with your family or friends will give you the feeling of coming to a relative's house in the countryside to relax and take in the pleasant scenery.

At Misato no Yu Kajikaso, you can enjoy outdoor bathing and delicious meals during an overnight stay or a day trip. Botan nabe (5,000 yen per person, tax not included), thinly sliced boar meat boiled with vegetables, is highly recommended. This type of hot pot typically served only in winter, but here you can enjoy it all year round.

Ryukozan Kamataki Yakushi Kongoji

Kamataki Yakushi Kongoji offers an interesting lodging option. It’s located at the west entrance to Mt. Koya, one of Japan’s oldest temple complexes, and pilgrims heading for the mountain can spend a peaceful night in the shukubo (guest room). Visitors who don’t stay the night are also welcome to meditate, copy sutras, and observe the Buddha (1,000 yen each, including tax).

  • Ueminami
    風の古民家 うえみなみ
    • Address 667 Tani, Kimino-cho, Kaiso-gun, Wakayama 640-1352
    • Phone Number 080-5363-1281
    • Hours: Check-in 15:00, Check-out 11:00
      Price: From 10,000 yen per person for 4 or more adults, 5,000 yen for children (from 3 years old to elementary school students), includes two meals per night (All prices include tax)

  • Misato no Yu Kajikaso
    美里の湯 かじか荘
    • Address 6 Sugezawa, Kimino-cho, Kaiso-gun, Wakayama, 640-1364
    • Phone Number 073-498-0102
    • Hours: Check-in 15:00, Check-out 10:00
      Price: From 3,630 yen per person per night; One-day bathing 11:00 – 20:00 (last entry 19:30), adults 550 yen (junior high school students and over), children 300 yen (elementary school students over 3 years old),(tax included)

  • Ryukozan Kamataki Yakushi Kongoji
    龍光山 釜滝薬師金剛寺
    • Address 120 Kamataki, Kimino-cho, Kaiso-gun, Wakayama, 640-1255
    • Phone Number 073-489-2830
    • Hours: 9:00 - 17:00, Check-in 15:00, Check-out 11:00; Open every day, but accommodation unavailable the day before ceremonies, (New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Bon Festival & Higan.
      Price: 7,000 per night (elementary school age and older), infants 5,000; includes two meals (tax included, credit cards not accepted)

Kimino is an adorable and charming area, perfect for a getaway during your time in Japan. Seeing as it is relatively untouched by tourists, you can get to know the true Japan and really make use of the peace and quiet.

As there’s no train service to Kimino, so you’ll need a rental car to get there. Free information pamphlets packed with highlights are available in Japanese, English, and Chinese at the city office. If you haven't seen Kimino’s PR video, check it out!

  • Kimino Town Hall
    紀美野町役場 産業課
    • Address 287 Todoroki, Kimino-cho, Kaiso-gun, Wakayama, 640-1192
    • Phone Number 073-489-5901
    • Hours: 8:30 - 17:15, closed Sat., Sun. & public holidays (Tourist brochures are also available at Midorinosato Farmer’s Store and Yamanoie Oishi)

Text by: West Plan

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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