After the amazing event I experienced yesterday I had headed back and arrived at the hotel around 6pm, from here I fell instantly asleep and awoke this morning at around 9am feeling fully refreshed, and fully healed of the nightmare of the previous week.
Leaving in high spirits I set off to explore Wakayama in what would be my final full day in Japan. My first port of call was to change up the £20 note I had with me, as now into my last 1000 yen. I asked around and was given the name and location of a bank in the city centre that should be able to help me.
Armed with this information I made my way into the city centre and tried to locate the bank, after a bit of searching (and entering an insurance office by mistake!), I found the place and managed to get everything sorted out, the people inside were fantastic in helping me get everything done. After this I spent a bit of time wandering the shopping streets and city centre.
Back to the castle
I decided to walk back up toward the castle to revisit the area just incase there were any events on today, however the clearing which had housed so many people the day before was now completely silent and empty. I stood for a while just picturing and playing back the event in my mind, before moving on to explore the rest of the castle grounds that I missed the day before.
This led me to the sloping bridge over the moat, a unique structure to see and stranger to walk through. I headed around into the covered bridge and the floor was wooden slatted steps, the slope was very noticeable and the it was weird to walk on.
Windows lined the sides of the bridge which contained a view out over the moat, down below there were even a lot of turtles swimming about and basking in the sunshine.
I checked a map in the castle grounds and worked out that if I headed south then I should pass a temple, hit the beech and be able to then double back past another temple.
I walked for a couple of miles before reaching the first temple on my route, the entrance was marked by a stone torii gate that revealed a path leading into the woods.
Following the path through the woods and up and high elevation of steps I found myself in the courtyard of a small temple, it had some small monkey statues lined up in front of some old artillery shells.
As I went to exit the temple I was presented with a view in the distance of the beeches and coastline of Wakayama.
I descended the steps and headed in that direction. The path took me along a river and toward a small ancient bridge, was is famous for something but I can’t remember why.
The river didn’t have much water in it as it was tidal, the old stone bridge was a great work of architecture and presented a nice view of the area from it. Behind the bridge lay another more modern bridge for cars to use, from here I could see out across the bay.
There was a large section of water, though again it was very low as the tide was out. In the distance I could see way across to the mountains and other temple I was aiming for. Heading really far out I could see a theme park in the distance, however I knew that to be to far away for me to reach, and with my limited funds and missing bank card I wouldn’t have been able to do much there anyway.
I proceeded to head south through a park that was on a small strip of land heading out into the sea. It was a nice walk, though the park seemed like it didn’t get many visitors anymore as the stream that ran through it was dry and showed signs it hadn’t been full for a while, the fountain in the middle was turned off, and the other small pools of rocks which once contained water were again bone dry. I actually got the sad impression that maybe the tourism sector was not doing well in Wakayama, I had seen some signs around the castle park which back this up a little as well.
I hope I am wrong and maybe things pick up in a different season, as Wakayama is a magical place and it would be a shame if people are not coming here. My guess is that most people who land at the airport head north to Osaka and don’t ever venture south to Wakayama.
I found myself following a long sea wall heading out across the water, the wind was quiet strong as it cut across the open sea, but it was a nice feeling in the sunshine. At the tip of the wall there wasn’t much to do other than take in the view before turning round and walking back. On the walk back I climbed down the wall and jumped back along the rocks at the base of the wall.
Eventually the rocks thinned and opened out into a full beech. I walked along the sandy beeches which were pretty much deserted for some reason. Enjoying the sea view I spent some time relaxing in the sun, before doing the customary thing of writing some messages in the sand to send to some friends.
Having left the beech I then head along the coastline toward the mountains and the next temple on my route. It was a peaceful walk along the seafront and through some city streets as I got nearer. Arriving at the temple I headed up some stairs high up the mountainside, this led to the main temple complex, one of the buildings housed the worlds largest wooden statue.
It was a magnificent sight to see, it stood tall in the dark building with the gold paint shimmering from the lights below. Outside the building I got a great view out over Wakayama City and the sea. Again I strongly recommend visiting this place, it really is a hidden gem of Japan!
I explored more of the temple grounds and buildings, near the rear of the temple there was a funny sign which I am still trying to work out, it either meant wild boars will attack your for carrots, or in the event of seeing a wild boar through a carrot at it!
A short walk after leaving the temple steps I was greeted with the big sign for a Mos Burger, a franchise I had been told to try for a fantastic burger in Japan. Having not eaten for the whole day I decided this would be worth a go, and as it happens it was well worth it! The food was delicious and an ice cold drink was exactly what was needed after being out in the hot sun.
After dinner it was now a case of heading back to the hotel, it was about 3.5 miles away so a long walk back. Along the way Wakayama still threw up a few surprises for me, there was a old wooden waterwheel, a massive arcade complex, a big sign saying ‘Central City’ (A reference to The Flash that made me laugh), and a few other fun shops and signs.
Eventually arriving back at the hotel it was time for me to make final checks ready for the airport in the morning before turning in for the night.