Nachi Katsuura is a small town located in the southeastern part of the Kii Peninsula in Wakayama Prefecture. It is famous for tuna fishing and has developed as a fishing town because of the Kuroshio Current. This current flows from the south, bringing in a lot of fish. It is also the location boasting an intricate coastline that has the advantage to avoid wilder waves. The attractive town attracts a lot of people because of the hot springs. Moreover, the village is a starting or ending point for those who trek the Kumano Kodo. Read this travel guide for more information on this interesting town!
Katsuura Fish Market
The Katsuura Fish Market is famous for dealing with tuna. It is not a huge market, but the volume of fresh tuna sold here is the largest in Japan. The tuna is not only caught around the area, but fishermen bring them from all over the country. There are many different types such as the Pacific bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, and bigeye tuna. Pacific bluefin tuna is the most expensive one, and Japanese people love it!
Tuna is sold at the auction every morning from 7 am. Only on Saturday and Tuesday, the market is usually closed. They do, however, open on some Tuesdays so please check the market schedule before you visit. The auction can be observed from upstairs without a reservation. You can see the whole auction floor from there, and it is interesting to see the floor covered with so many tunas.
If you make a reservation, you can see the auction from the same floor as where the auction takes place. The auction takes place quietly. In some markets in Japan, the auctioneers shout the price, but here, they indicate the price using hand signs.
Nachi Katsuura Seafood Restaurants
Because of the abundance of fresh tuna, there are many great seafood restaurants in the town. You can get information at the tourist information located at the Kii-Katsuura Station, or you can get good recommendations from the hotel.
Nachi-Katsuura is also known as a town of hot springs. Some hotels are located on the island or on the opposite side of the bay, so they provide boats for the guests. It is interesting to go to the hotel by boat because you will feel a bit as if you are staying on a private island.
You can enjoy a nice view of the ocean and the bay from the hotel and from the hot spring. Some hotels even have open-air hot springs close to the ocean.
Sightseeing Around Town
Nachi Taisha Shrine and Nachi Waterfalls
Kumano Nachi Taisha is one of the sanctuaries on the Kumano Kodo. The Kumano Kodo has been an old trail for pilgrimages since ancient times. Kumano Nachi Taisha is a large complex with the main shrine, the Seigantoji Temple, and the Nachi Waterfalls. The Shinto shrine and Buddhist temple building are standing next to each other.
The Nachi Falls is the highest waterfall in Japan with a height of 133 meters. The waterfall itself is like a god in the philosophy of Shinto, so it is a sacred place. Here you can take a very Japanese photo of the waterfalls including the three-storied pagoda. Many pilgrims start their Kumano Kodo hiking from here. It takes about 30 minutes by bus from Kii-Katsuura Station to get here.
Hashi means bridge and Kui means pillar. There are a series of rocks that look like pillars of a bridge, so it is called Hashikuiiwa. As you can see, it is a very unique scenery. It takes 40 minutes from Kii Katsuura Station to Kii Hime Station, then a 20-minute walk.
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Nachi Katsuura Access Information
From Shin-Osaka Station: Take JR Kuroshio Express. It goes directly to Kii Katsuura Station. It takes about 4 hours.
From Nagoya Station: Take JR Wide-view Nanki Express. It goes directly to Kii Katsuura Station. It takes about 4 hours.