Show Me Naomi

So, it hasn’t been long since I became single and I am still healing every day. I was in a long-term relationship that lasted for 2 years and 8 months. We almost made it to three. For a long time, I thought I was going to marry him. I even moved to a different city that I didn’t even know if I wanted to be in for him and started my life from scratch over there. However, I made a decision to put myself first, move to a new city that I actually wanted to be in and to get rid of all the toxicity that both of us had a hand in making. It was not an easy decision and I do doubt it sometimes. Nonetheless, the sun still shines bright for me. I feel a lot lighter. I am learning a lot about myself and what I want. I am enjoying being single, surprisingly. I have been keeping myself busy.

Until today, I can still feel the love I have for him but I don’t miss him all that much. It’s hard not to cry sometimes, but it’s getting easier. Yesterday, I looked at a photo of us and I just smiled. They were really happy memories that I don’t regret making and I was not upset over the fact that they are just memories now. I also think he is an amazing person with a heart of gold and deserves all the success that I know he is going to have. He is hardworking and incredibly smart which is why I fell in love with him in the first place. I don’t think any less of him and I hope someone special will get to experience being his partner in crime because he can teach you so much about the world – camping, rock climbing; he knows a trick or two. He just wasn’t the one for me and I am starting to be okay with it.

Really, I am truly warming up with being single and just caring for one person – me. I think I lost a bit of myself in the relationship and I’m finding my feet again.  It’s been going pretty well. I’ve even been dating around and I must say love is rare so I would like to thank him for loving me for the past 2 years and 8 months unconditionally. There were so many times when either of us could have just walked out in that period of time but we still chose one another until we couldn’t and didn’t. Our highs were very high but our lows were very low and we had many faults and flaws but the love was very unconditional and forgiving which is a kind of love I hope to find again. It has certainly set a certain standard for what I want to find now. I think in time, we will both be glad that it happened. 

And when I say love is rare, I really mean it. I have been distancing myself lately not just because of the corona virus but also to just get a peace of mind to continue healing and to reflect on everything that has happened and is happening in my life. That feeling of being loved is just so immense and I don’t know if I will ever find it again or at least anytime soon. I am grateful that I have felt it and can now understand the joy of and know that I am capable of giving that kind of love to someone as well. I feel very lucky. For now though, I am fulfilled with reading all the books I have been meaning to, cooking, catching up with my friends (occasionally annoying them, of course), gathering new life projects, rock climbing, playing the ukulele again, dancing, listening and curating my Spotify playlists and finally building a life in a city that I have always wanted to live in for a bit – Vancouver. I am pretty content with where I am now – I have a job, I am moving into my own space soon and I tell all my friends how in love I am with them. What more can a girl want? 

Attention, of course. Like I mentioned above, I have been dating around simply to check out what Vancouver has to offer. I have been on Hinge for a bit now. I personally think it is the only app worth having (that’s my two cents) but you will still find weirdos on it. At least they’re sort of educated though? I have started to value myself a lot more and I am not going on a date with a guy who I know from the get go does not deserve me at all so if you have been on a date with me, you’ve at least gotten that far. Congratulations! 

Anyway, I have been on dates with guys who I cannot connect with at all. When I first started dating, I didn’t even know how to go on dates anymore. I was so comfortable with being in a relationship. I even treated one of the guys that I liked as if he were my boyfriend and I had to learn how to shield some of the privileges that I feel only a boyfriend should have from him because he was clearly not on that level yet. He honestly didn’t deserve me like that until we defined the kind of relationship we had and of course we decided not to date anymore so.. haha (he did make me feel like a woman nonetheless and our dates were incredible so thank you! I appreciate men that treat you right and respect you even if all that effort does not end up in a relationship – true gems who know how to communicate still exist!). 

All and all, it has been confusing. I can safely say that life has become less confusing but dating is just weird to me now and I might take a break from it altogether. I also might not, I am an attention whore and I admit it. What I can say though is, there are so many fucbois but it’s been pretty easy to spot them. Some guys are just not emotionally ready for a relationship and sex aside, some guys are not mentally ready for a relationship. I’ve been on dates with guys who were just in the hospital a week before asking me out because they were trying to commit suicide. I know I’m not a 100% and that is why I am taking things slow and guys should also keep in mind where they’re at mentally and emotionally and know what they want from dating. Then there are the guys who you can talk to for hours and have great conversations but you’re not sexually attracted and vice versa when you meet in person. I might have come away with a few good friends from this experience too and they laugh at all my dating stories now, aha!

And last but not least there are the guys who will ask you out repeatedly and you connect super well – you get to know the the kind of music he likes (I don’t know, music is just a really intimate thing for me, I don’t share how much I love John Mayer on the regular), where he wants to travel to, some things about his family or how he grew up – but nothing materialises and you just don’t know where things are going. Then you just stop texting even though you might really like that person. This has only really happened twice now. I just wish these guys would grow a pear and tell me what they want sometimes. It would make things easier. If I’m being benched, just let me know. I will probably walk away but if I like you enough, I’m pretty loyal and the feeling might stick. 

I know it’s 2020, and I should probably say something if they are not but maybe I am not chasing something or anything at all. I might just want to keep things casual at least for the next 2-6 months even though the concept of being casual is so foreign to me. Conversations are good to have though people. Have them, please, do not follow my lead. The dating game in this age is so hard to navigate around but I am glad I have standards. I have learned that if a guy likes you enough, he will text you to make plans. He will want to do things, you don’t even have to prompt him and if you do, he might just not be that into you and that’s okay too. As for chasing someone down, I don’t think I have that kind of energy yet. I would if I did, I’ve asked most of my boyfriends out to be honest. I just don’t know if I have enough heart to give just yet and I want to give all of it when the time comes, trust me. 

Anyway, this is just me being extremely raw and having a cathartic release from all the craziness in the world while listening to Show Me Naomi by Bahamas. I am really digging that song right now. 

 

Love,

Nicole

10 Qualities to Look for in a Travel Partner

As more and more people travel together, there is more to think about than just where to go, or what you can do… the people or person you choose to travel with is really important because that can make or break the entire experience. My boyfriend and I were initially very nervous to travel together. Before our first trip to Japan and Korea, he even looked at articles online and videos on YouTube on how to deal with arguments en voyage.

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Jeju Island with my love

Since then, we’ve made trips to many parts of Canada and I’ve also made it a point to travel with my friends – the chosen ones, of course. The more I do that, the more I know what I look for in a travel partner and here are the Top 10 qualities that I personally look for:

Flexibility
My boyfriend, friends and I have been very flexible when it comes to trips. We take detours and are flexible with one another’s wants. Sometimes one person might want to see a museum more than the other, but we keep that in mind, remain calm and let that person experience what he or she wants to. After all, we paid the flight or bus ticket or gas money and came all this way to see everything we can. And who knows, you may even enjoy the experience that he or she wanted more than he or she does? Keep an open mind (especially about food) and don’t be selfish.

Mindful
Which brings us to being mindful. Being mindful of not only what to do or the experiences that you’ve all planned, but also of money. No one talks about this but money is crucial, and you have to be honest with one another about money and your budget for the trip so that everyone included can enjoy it and never feel bad (financially) about going. Always check with your travel buddies before you book a flight, hotel, an Airbnb experience or a day trip to wherever. Pay your share on time. Discuss about deals you see online as well.

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El Salvador with my Salty girls

Care
Apart from money, being mindful about the foreign environment you are in and caring for one another is important as well. Always look out for one another and stay connected. Bring extra band aids, medicine, sun screen (and cash sometimes to get out of sticky situations) to share and discuss about how to be safe. My friends have always looked at crime statistics and at travel recommendations made by the foreign departments of their countries to see if there are any warnings or danger threats. We also sit down and talk about it. Communication is key!

Interested
There’s nothing better than travelling with people who are interested. You will never be bored – there is always something on the to-do list! Although my friends are concerned about safety and do research about that, we also delegate tasks to one another. One of us would research about where to eat or what to see, another could research where to camp or hike (that’s usually what my boyfriend and I do) & etc. Travelling with someone who is from that country or can speak the language is even better because they know or can understand insider tips. It is very important to also have an opinion, research what you are best at. Then, talk about the trip together, gather the must-dos and pin it down on a Google Map and see what can be covered and how to get around in the most efficient way, considering time and distance. Again, communication is key and some sort of organisation is important as well.

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Chichen Itza with the best pals

Compatibility
I’ve mentioned how important communication is and you have no idea how important it is to travel with someone you are completely comfortable being yourself with and someone you can have great conversation with. Compatibility is important. You are going to fart in front of one another, maybe have a few mishaps here or there… travel with someone you trust with all your heart.

Certified
Yes, certified. Certified driver, someone who knows the language fluently are all important traits that you don’t necessarily need in a travel partner but would be convenient. My best friend spoke on our behalf whenever we went to a Latin American country because she knows Spanish. My boyfriend drives but I don’t and it would be easier for him if I did so although they are not the most important things to look for, they certainly make the trip easier and less tiring for everyone.

Adventurous and Spontaneous
Despite needing to be cautious and careful, a little bit of adventure and spontaneity is important for any trip. Being adventurous, to me, means not being afraid of misadventure. Sometimes the bunch of you get all caught up in planning and may have keyed in a wrong date for an accommodation but my friends and I don’t make a big deal out of it. You need a good sense of humour to laugh that all off. After all, that’s how memories are made. Organisation is necessary but sometimes nothing goes your way. Sometimes you also need to take risks, hopefully calculated ones, together like the time me and my friend hitch hiked in Myanmar.

Problem Solver
When nothing goes your way, it’s also important to problem solve. Sometimes you may not find an ATM for your specific card, or when you’ve made an error on a car rental. Either way, you have to face these problems together head on to ensure that you don’t occur extra fees, make the trip as smooth as possible from then on and remind one another that everything is going to be okay.

Always Ready
Whenever you discuss when to start the day, always be ready to go at the agreed time. Don’t be that person that holds everyone back. Pack things the night before, wake up on time so that you can all seize the day!

Integrity
NOBODY LIKES A FLAKE.  If you have a job, make sure you take the appropriate time off. If someone booked your tickets before you take time off, you risk needing them to cancel your ticket or the trip altogether and that’s not very nice. Stick to your words. I personally hate flakes and I haven’t planned anything with anyone who has flaked on me once. I’ve never looked back. I don’t like holding grudges but when you are the one calling airlines and credit companies to get refunds, it gets annoying, you’ll see.

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Voila! Those are the top 10 qualities I look for in a travel partner and I am thankful I have amazing people to travel with no matter where I want to go. Here’s to more adventures, folks!

 

Xo

Guide to Kanazawa, 金沢市

Mmm.. Kanazawa. Before coming to Japan, I never knew anything about this city or its prefecture (Ishikawa). In fact, I didn’t know many prefectures apart from Hokkaido, Okinawa and wherever the main cities are… Osaka, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki & etc. After living there though, I came to know many prefectures and Kanazawa became my favourite city.

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Not a lot of people know about Kanazawa and my God, I think it is so underrated. I heard a lot about Kanazawa from my host family. My host brother, in fact, used to work there and one of my professor’s wife is from there. No matter who I asked about Kanazawa though, everyone in my host agreed that Kanazawa is host to Japan’s best restaurants (not Osaka!) so I had to experience it for myself and it did not disappoint.

I was told that Kanazawa was like a less touristy Kyoto and I think that is an accurate description. Ishikawa is known to be the place to go to experience historical and traditional Japanese culture for the Japanese although most people mistake Kyoto for that. It is the core and centre of Japanese culture. Kanazawa is home to samurai homes, traditional izakayas and beautiful temples & tea houses minus the crowds that you see at Kyoto. I highly recommend anyone to go to Kanazawa if they’re in Japan exploring Tokyo and can afford the Shinkansen.

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You can take a day trip via the Shinkansen. The trip is about 2.5 hours long but it is expensive, especially if you are booking it last minute. I endorse checking out different JR rail passes before making the trip. You can also fly but I like taking the bus and taking my time. I did a loop around Nagoya, Takayama and Kanazawa and I thought the views on the road were breathtaking. If you have time, one-way fares are about 4500 yen for a 7-8 hours ride and they depart from Tokyo Station, Shinjuku Station and Tokyo Disney according to this website. I remember it being around that price too.

When you arrive at the JR Kanazawa station, you’ll be greeted by the Tsuzumi Gate and Hospitality Dome. I suggest walking everywhere – it’s not a big city and it is pretty easy to get around. It is a great small city to explore on foot. It is also really breathtaking in the fall, I see it as a great city to visit in the summer too.

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So what can you see and do in Kanazawa? There are so many monuments, gardens, historic districts to see in Kanazawa. You could probably spend a week or two there and not be bored if you’re a fan of food, culture and architecture. Here’s my top 5 list of things to do, see and eat!

5. Visit the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art

 

 

If you are into modern art or architecture, this is a place you have to check out. This museum has ringed in as many as 1 million visitors in its first year of opening and is home to some phenomenal artists. The entry tickets are also very reasonable.

4. Explore Nagamachi Samurai District

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This neighbourhood is great to stroll in to get a sense of Japan’s samurai history and used to be home to samurais and their families. If you are a fan of samurais and want to get know more of its culture, you can even enter restored samurai residences such as Nomura-ke. The cobblestone that you walk on in this district is very unique as well and doesn’t remind you of Europe. Nearby lays the beautiful Kanazawa castle as well.

3. Morning Walks in Kenroku-en

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On the other side of the castle lies a gorgeous garden. You can get a nice view of the castle as well.Kenroku-en was a private garden but has been open to the public since 1871. Kenroku-en is known for its undeniably beautiful and awe-spiring landscape.

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There is something to look forward to every season and is the perfect garden to take a morning stroll in which is why early admission is free (before 7am).

2. Higashiyama Higashi Chaya District

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Similar to Kyoto’s Higashiyama Ward, the streets of Higashiyama Higashi Chaya District is laced up with latticed, traditional teahouses. It is an excellent spot for a cuppa or just to rest in the middle of the day and take a break from exploring. You also have to try wagashi.

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It is the perfect tea snack and according to people I have talked to, it isn’t a daily dessert but one for special occasions (which explains the price tag..). It is also very hard to bake and only very few masters actually master it so give it a try when you can.

1. Food, Food, Food

And oh the food, how could anyone ever leave Kanazawa without trying its food? Kanazawa has a bunch of crazy good sushi, izakayas and home made food. Like most Japanese cities, there is a famous market and in Kanazawa, the famous market is Omicho Market where you can also get excellent sushi at Mori Mori Sushi. The tuna is beautiful (first photo) and it’s conveyor belt style.

 

Other places I recommend is Hiramipan which doubles as a bakery and cafe (second photo) as well as family-run Grill Otsuka for its very delicious and affordable Hanton Rice. There is also an amazing izakaya called Fuwari that you have to try but you have to make a reservation (third photo) and the prices are steeper so if you’re a budget traveller keep that in mind.

Kanazawa is my favourite city in Japan and I hope many of you will explore it as well. The food and beauty of the city left me speechless. It is definitely slower than other cities in Japan but also calmer and more serene. It reminds me of Ipoh in Malaysia because Ipoh used to be a thriving and busy city but it has wind down a lot since. The only busy spots are really food spots and cultural monuments which is similar to Kanazawa.

There are many more temples and architecture spots to admire than this list entails – the list would be too long otherwise! – so do extra research before going. I hope this list and all the links included helps you in planning and that you admire and enjoy Kanazawa as much as I did.

 

Cheers,

N

Guide to Miyazaki, Japan 宮崎県

Miyazaki is a blend of Hawaii and California in Japan. It is the place for all island lovers, especially if surfing is your thing. Miyazaki is home to some of the best surf spots in Japan and some of the best beef you will ever taste in your life! You often hear about Kobe beef overseas but damn, Miyazaki beef is SO underrated and you HAVE to try it at some point. It is also really peaceful on this side of Japan. Any prefecture on the Kyushu seems to be big on slow living.

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A week and a half is a good amount of time to explore Miyazaki at your own pace. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself rushing through it like I did. There is so much to see if you love the outdoors. I spent a long weekend (3 days) in Miyazaki and solo explored it. I even got to hit some waves with FirstTrip Surf & Vintage (it was ¥6000 for an hour and a half).

They are awesome Surf instructors and Miyazaki guides! They answered all my questions prior to meeting them and took me around Miyazaki after our surf session.

Miyazakians are super friendly! I learned that the prefecture has quite a big farming industry just by being on its roads too (and of course correlating that observation with Google research) Here is a round up of what to do in Miyazaki:

5. Sun Messe Nichinan

I headed to Miyazaki city via bus + train and took a bus towards Aoshima Island. On route, I dropped off my luggage at Aoshima’s Fisherman’s Beachside Hostel & Spa. It was exceptionally clean! Only one member of staff (he is from the U.S.) could speak English but we managed to communicate with my minimal Japanese and the stay was very comfortable. Then, I headed to Udo-Jingu before Sun Messe Nichinan.

The Sun Messe statues are the only replicas allowed to be made of the originals on Easter Island in Eastern Polynesia in the entire world. When I arrived I learned that it was also an amusement park and that the entrance fee was ¥700. Its opening hours were 9.30 – 17.00, I was cutting it close after travelling from Kirishima to Miyazaki, eating, dropping off my luggage, … so know that and have that in mind.

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It was definitely a cool thing to see once and you get a great view of the Nichinan coast.

4. Kirishima-Kinkowan National Park

Since it was such a short weekend, I only really had time for a day and a bit at Kirishima and I wish I had more. I managed to visit the Kirishima-Kinkowan National Park but did not have the opportunity to soak in its onsens/complete other hike trails so that’s what I’ll be up to next time. This National Park is stretched across two prefectures (Kagoshima and Miyazaki).

Highly recommended for those who love hiking and being near the mountains. I was pretty determined to see Shinmoedake volcano so I had to go. Not many people know of this volcanic mountain range too, so it’s a great escape. The views reminded me of the Lake District & the Scottish highlands! The volcanic craters were really blue too, and reminded me of Banff + Indonesia. I preferred this over the statues.

From Kagoshima, take either a local (1 hr for ¥840) or limited express train (50 mins for ¥1500) to Kirishima Jingu Station and take buses heading towards Kirishima National Park.

From Miyazaki, take a local (2.5 hrs for ¥1470) or limited express train (1.5 hrs for ¥3000) to Kirishima Jingu Station, and hop on to buses towards Kirishima National Park.

(Source: Japan-guide linked!)

3. Udo-jingū 鵜戸神宮

Udo-jingū is also located on the Nichinan coast and was on the bus route. I actually visited Udo before the Sun Messe statues and probably should have done it the other way round with the time I had on hand. Udo is a Shinto shrine and is the mythical birthplace of Emperor Jimmu’s father Ugayafukiaezu.

It was absolutely breathtaking and I preferred this over the Sun Messe statues. I would come back to see this again instead of the Sun Messe so it’s ranked higher. Best part is it’s free!

2. Aoshima

After that little adventure along the Nichinan coast, I returned to Aoshima where I stayed the night. I explored the tiny island a little before my surf session the next morning. There is the Aoshima shrine that you could visit, and the Devil’s Washboard on the way to the Shrine.

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Sunset at Devil’s Washboard

The next day I surfed at 宮崎市木崎浜 (Kisakihama Surf Point). It was a good spot to brush up surfing. The waves weren’t too big! Maki and Takeda from FirstTrip Surf picked me up.

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Before leaving to Miyazaki, I grabbed hearty bowls of udon with Maki and Takeda too at Chutaro Teahouse 忠太郎茶屋. It’s their favourite udon spot after surfing. I concur! I also really like the Inari. They also recommended tons of izakaya which I’m sure I’ll hit up next time.

1. Takachiho Gorge

The last thing on this list is the Takachiho Gorge and I loved it the most! You can take a bus from Miyazaki city to Takachicho. The nearer you get to Takachiho, the more rural it will get, and the lower the frequency of buses. The bus stations look more and more sketchy too, but I came out okay.

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Accommodation was such a hassle to find. If I had to do it again, I probably wouldn’t stay overnight. I would just wake up early have do a day trip. There is a lot to see but you could probably squeeze them all in because it is a relatively small place.

The gorge is a must-see! You can rent a boat for ¥2000 for 30 minutes (3 people max per boat) and they are open from 8.30 – 16.30 (untill 18.00 in the summer) daily. Here is more information.

Other things that you could do is do a small hike to the Amanoiwato Shrine. The Shrine is in a cave! The Takachiho Shrine and Amanoiwato Shrine Nishihongu are also a pretty big one. Mount Sabo is a beautiful hike in the morning, you can see the mountain top curtained by clouds in the morning from the base of the mountain. (All of these attractions can be found on Google, and visit the tourist information centre, they have maps + the staff are fluent in English). Everything is easier if you had a car though, public transport services are pretty limited and some command of Japanese would be useful in this small town. Overall, pretty worth it though!

I flew to Kagoshima from Osaka via Peach Air and from there I used buses and JR trains to travel from Kagoshima to Miyazaki and throughout Miyazaki. It was quite easy to get around although I had a little trouble finding accomodation and communicating with the hosts near Takachiho (you would need to have some command of the Japanese language to speak to the hosts there). Other than that, I had a pretty smooth journey and I genuinely loved Miyazaki. I loved the food, the people, being near the ocean, soaking up the sun… it was Okinawa 2.0 for me. Although I could’ve planned it better, I am grateful that the trip happened the way it did because it was still pretty rad.

With Love,
N

Guide to Wakayama, Japan 和歌山県

The Wakayama Prefecture is a prefecture for all ocean lovers – from divers, surfers, waterfall hikers to snorkelling, this land of water is surrounded by clean beaches where you can touch the crystal clear ocean, beautiful coastlines and gorges and breathtaking waterfall hikes. It is 100% for all you ramen lovers and loud slurpers too. It is not a particularly large prefecture, but allocate a weekend at the very least if you are planning to explore this magical land of water.

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Wakayama Castle in Wakayama City

We spent an entire weekend in Wakayama and it was not enough, especially for me. If I have the chance to return to Wakayama (I really hope I do), I hope that I can do more waterfall hikes and maybe not miss a bus to catch a flight to Singapore (my friend did). I also want to see the Doro-Kyo Gorge, it looks so gorgeous. Fortunately, I travelled to Miyazaki and managed to kayak down the Takachiho Gorge (Kyūshū region) as well as to Tokushima and cruised down the Iya Valley (Shikoku region).Evidently, I can’t get enough of the ocean.

So what can you do in Wakayama? The capital city of Wakayama Prefecture is Wakayama where we stayed a night, but we enjoyed being next to the coast more so there is where we spent a majority of our time (all the action took place there any way!). To get to Wakayama you can take the train or bus. You can check the timetables for the JR West railway and bus (JR West focuses on the Kansai area). I prefer booking the bus on Willer to Wakayama City and figuring out day passes for trains at the central station you get dropped off at especially if you are on a budget (buses are relatively cheaper or purchase a JR pass before you fly to Japan, it’s cheaper. This article explains it well.)

Accommodation wise, there are lots of guesthouses that you can look up on Hostelworld. We highly recommend Guesthouse Rico if you are in the city – the service was excellent, you can sleep tatami style and everything was clean. There is also a great family-ran ramen place called Tsuta (first Michelin-Starred ramen too!) and after trying lots of ramen, Wakayama Style ramen is quite frankly the top of my list – you HAVE to try it! AJI ramen opened until late and we had a great experience too (Cash-Only).

Enough of the logistics – here are my favourite spots in Wakayama so far:

1. Porto Europe and Kuroshio Market

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Windy Day at Porto Europe

We started off the trip walking around Wakayama City and bused out to the Marina area: Porto Europe – a theme park and replica of European streets and architecture so if you are ever missing Europe, you could pay this quaint little place a visit. It is also right next to the real attraction in my heart: the Kuroshio Market.

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Delicious Tuna Nigiri at Kuroshio Market

Kuroshio Market is located in Marina City, and is famous for its tuna cutting shows that take place three times a day. Even Zac Efron watched in awe as a giant tuna is skillfully cut! Kuroshio Market is the place to go for fresh local products and yummy meals.

2. Shirahama Beach

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Shirahama Beach

Shirahama is a stunning seaside district known for its clean, white-sand beach & its slow and relaxing atmosphere. This area boasts the best beach in all of the Kansai region and is home to many historic onsens (i.e. Saki-no-yu) and seafood fare. Highly recommend going to any izakaya nearby and spend the night singing away karaoke. For enthusiastic divers or to-be licensed divers, the Shirahama neighbourhood is also known to mother beautiful corals too. Everything is relatively nearby in Shirahama Town, and you can get around by foot reasonably.

3. Shirasaki Coast

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Shirasaki Coast

The Shirasaki Coast left us speechless. This long, chalky cape that resembles an iceberg faces a deep blue ocean and is a wonderful natural sight to the eye. This unspoiled beauty is unusually formed by a group of limestone rocks 250 million years ago. Even the Official Wakayama Tourism Board thinks this is a must-see during the day or at sunset because the rock reflects the colour of the sky and the sunset.

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Little Mermaid at a beach nearby Shirasaki Coast!

It was a little challenging to get to the coast, we had to taxi from a nearby station and hitched a ride back from a friendly diver. It was also a little far from Shirahama town, you have to take the train to get there. However, people are really friendly, and it was a very safe area so you don’t have much to worry about other than the cab fare which are known to be crazy in Japan. Remember to go back to the train on time if you aren’t staying overnight too, services are more limited in less busy areas such as this.

4. Senjojiki

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We decided to hit up yet another rock formation. This venue was accessible by public bus from Shirahama Town, just remember to keep the bus routes map and bus timetables that are offered to you (goes for ANYWHERE in Japan!) so that you know. It was a little bit of a search and a bit of a walking distance from the bus station but it was worth it.

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Senjojiki means a thousand tatami mats in English. You can see why when you see layers of flat rocks piled up in an unorganized manner. The best thing about these cliffs is that you can walk close to the edges and breath in the fresh air whilst you feel the breeze of the ocean. There are people fishing and you can observe small sea creatures atop the rocks near the edges of the cliffs too. Superb to start the day with and an excellent but underrated tourist attraction, the second best thing is that it is not crowded!

5. Nachi Falls

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Nachi Waterfall

This well-known waterfall is the highest waterfall in Japan (133m), located in a sacred site in Kumano where nature worship still takes place today and is the object of worship of Hiro-jinja Shrine (associated with Kumano Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine). There are different versions of the hike up to this view too, make sure you google and know which route you are taking. This view is 100% worth the hike, and man, the calorie burn just means you can eat more after.

Wakayama is amongst my top 5 prefectures to visit in Japan. Maybe because it reminds me of Brighton, U.K. It’s near the ocean, is blessed with beautiful coastlines and cliffs s instead of pubs, is filled with local izakayas that serves bloody fresh seafare.

I received most of the information to see all these places on the Visit Wakayama Website. Take a look at it for more inspiration. The unspoiled landscapes and relaxing vibes certainly makes it worth the extra bit travel from Osaka or Tokyo if you are flying from overseas. I have also linked all the places mentioned to their respective Google Map location so that you can save them to your list. I hope this helps your planning and that your trip to Wakayama is just as amazing.

Xoxo,

Nicole