|The gentle flow of the life-giving
Kinokawa River has brought innumerable blessings since ancient
times to the Kihoku region in Wakayama Prefecture. The region
occupies nearly half of the plains area in this mountainous
prefecture. There is a large grain belt located here, and it
is where most of the population is concentrated.
The prefectural capital, Wakayama City, is located at the mouth
of the Kinokawa River. In times past, it flourished as a castle
town that provided 555,000 goku of rice in tribute to the shogun.
It continues to grow today as the center of the prefectures
government, economy, and culture. Countless cultural heritages
have been handed down to the present in the surrounding area,
including one of Japans foremost religious areas, Koyasan.
The Koya culture blossomed here in ancient times.
In contrast, the cities of Hashimoto and Iwade are rapidly growing
as bedroom communities close to Osaka. Very close to this region,
the Kansai International Airport opened in 1994, becoming Japans
first 24-hour airport.
The Kihoku region is developing as an area open to the world.
|Snaking through the prefectures
mountainous areas, the Arida and Hidaka Rivers flow into the
Kii Water System. The Kichu region extends through the basins
of both these rivers. Owing to the superb conditions of mild
temperatures and abundant rainfall, the cultivation of the Kishu
mandarin orange and Japanese plums flourish in this region.
The city of Arida is known nationwide as the home of the Arida
mandarin oranges, and Minabe-cho boasts the largest Japanese
plum harvest in the country.
The regions distinctively jagged coastline is exceptionally
beautiful, and it is also a paradise for such sports and leisure
activities as fishing and swimming. In the past, however, the
many reefs and lack of arable land forced many from the area
to seek a life overseas. More than half the residents emigrated
to the United States.
|The coastline is drenched in sunshine
and the dancing Black Tide. The Kinan region is particularly
reminiscent of more southern climes in Wakayama Prefecture,
which is warm throughout the year.
There is a large forested belt in this region, which has become
the main forest area in Wakayama Prefecture, which is known
for its trees.
The two castle towns of Tanabe and Shingu play a core role in
politics, the economy, and culture, and they are located next
to Shirahama and Katsuura, two well-known hot spring towns.
The latter two resorts are filled throughout the year with visitors.
Essential sights for tourists are the Nachi no Taki waterfall,
the Toro Gorge, and the Hashikuiiwa rock formation. The works
of art fashioned by nature are too numerous to mention.
There has been a recent surge in popularity in the ancient Kumano
road, a historical trail that once had so many travelers travel
along it that the journey along it was called the Kumano
Pilgrimage of Ants. Kumano, the spiritual hometown of
Japan, has once again become the center of attention.