Wakayama Prefecture

Wakayama Prefecture (和歌山, Wakayama-ken) is a prefecture of Japan located in the Kansai region of Honshu.[1]: 1026  Wakayama Prefecture has a population of 944,320 (as of 1 October 2017) and has a geographic area of 4,724 square kilometres (1,824 sq mi). Wakayama Prefecture borders Osaka Prefecture to the north, and Mie Prefecture and Nara Prefecture to the northeast.

Wakayama Prefecture
Japanese transcription(s)
 • Japanese和歌山県
 • RōmajiWakayama-ken
Cherry blossoms bloom in the courtyard of Negoro-ji Temple in Iwade City, Wakayama Prefecture
Cherry blossoms bloom in the courtyard of Negoro-ji Temple in Iwade City, Wakayama Prefecture
Flag of Wakayama Prefecture
Official logo of Wakayama Prefecture
Anthem: Wakayama kenminka
Location of Wakayama Prefecture
CapitalWakayama (city)
SubdivisionsDistricts: 6, Municipalities: 30
 • GovernorShūhei Kishimoto (since December 17, 2022)
 • Total4,724.69 km2 (1,824.21 sq mi)
 • Rank30th
 (1 October 2017)
 • Total944,320
 • Rank39th
 • Density199.87/km2 (517.7/sq mi)
 • Dialects
ISO 3166 codeJP-30
Symbols of Japan
BirdJapanese white-eye (Zosterops japonica)
FlowerUme blossom (Prunus mume)
TreeUbame oak (Quercus phillyraeoides)

Wakayama is the capital and largest city of Wakayama Prefecture, with other major cities including Tanabe, Hashimoto, and Kinokawa.[2]: 1025  Wakayama Prefecture is located on the western coast of the Kii Peninsula on the Kii Channel, connecting the Pacific Ocean and Seto Inland Sea, across from Tokushima Prefecture on the island of Shikoku.


Present-day Wakayama is mostly the western part of the province of Kii.[3]

1953 flood disasterEdit

On July 17–18, 1953, a torrential heavy rain occurred, followed by collapse of levees, river flooding and landslides in a wide area. Many bridges and houses were destroyed. According to an officially confirmed report by the Government of Japan, 1,015 people died, with 5,709 injured and 7,115 houses lost.[citation needed]


Map of Wakayama Prefecture.
     City      Town      Village

As of 31 March 2020, 13 percent of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as Natural Parks, namely the Setonaikai and Yoshino-Kumano National Parks; Kongō-Ikoma-Kisen and Kōya-Ryūjin Quasi-National Parks; and Enju Kaigan, Hatenashi Sanmyaku, Hikigawa, Jōgamori Hokodai, Kōyasanchō Ishimichi-Tamagawakyō, Kozagawa, Nishiarida, Oishi Kōgen, Ōtōsan, Ryūmonzan, Shiramisan-Wadagawakyō, and Shirasaki Kaigan Prefectural Natural Parks.[4]


Nine cities are in Wakayama Prefecture:

Name Area (km2) Population Map
Rōmaji Kanji
  Arida 有田市 36.91 27,963  
  Gobō 御坊市 43.78 27,483  
  Hashimoto 橋本市 130.31 62,941  
  Iwade 岩出市 38.5 53,280  
  Kainan 海南市 101.18 51,112  
  Kinokawa 紀の川市 228.24 61,850  
  Shingū 新宮市 255.43 26,815  
  Tanabe 田辺市 1,026.91 70,410  
  Wakayama (capital) 和歌山市 210.25 360,664  

Towns and villagesEdit

These are the towns and villages in each district:

Name Area (km2) Population District Type Map
Rōmaji Kanji
  Aridagawa 有田川町 351.77 26,245 Arida District Town  
  Hidaka 日高町 46.42 7,666 Hidaka District Town  
  Hidakagawa 日高川町 331.61 9,615 Hidaka District Town  
  Hirogawa 広川町 65.35 7,059 Arida District Town  
  Inami 印南町 113.63 7,949 Hidaka District Town  
  Kamitonda 上富田町 57.49 15,047 Nishimuro District Town  
  Katsuragi かつらぎ町 151.73 16,686 Ito District Town  
  Kimino 紀美野町 128.31 8,989 Kaisō District Town  
  Kitayama 北山村 48.21 432 Higashimuro District Village  
  Kōya 高野町 137.08 3,279 Ito District Town  
  Kozagawa 古座川町 294.52 2,749 Higashimuro District Town  
  Kudoyama 九度山町 44.19 4,295 Ito District Town  
  Kushimoto 串本町 135.78 16,243 Higashimuro District Town  
  Mihama 美浜町 12.79 7,391 Hidaka District Town  
  Minabe みなべ町 120.26 12,561 Hidaka District Town  
  Nachikatsuura 那智勝浦町 183.45 17,261 Higashimuro District Town  
  Shirahama 白浜町 201.04 23,325 Nishimuro District Town  
  Susami すさみ町 174.71 4,011 Nishimuro District Town  
  Taiji 太地町 5.96 3,428 Higashimuro District Town  
  Yuasa 湯浅町 20.8 11,960 Arida District Town  
  Yura 由良町 30.74 5,738 Hidaka District Town  



Wakayama prefecture population pyramid in 2020

Since 1996, population of Wakayama Prefecture has kept declining, and since 2010, it has been the only prefecture in Kansai region with population below 1,000,000. In 2017, Wakayama is ranked 40th by population in Japan with a population of 944,320. In the 2020 census, close to 32% of the population was over 65 years of age - the highest percentage in Japan and one of the highest for national subdivisions worldwide.[5]


List of governors of WakayamaEdit

State-appointed governors:

Publicly-elected governors:


Mount Kōya (高野山, Kōya-san) in the Ito District is the headquarters of the Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism. It is home to one of the first Japanese style Buddhist temples in Japan and remains a pilgrimage site and an increasingly popular tourist destination as people flock to see its ancient temples set amidst the towering cedar trees at the top of the mountain. The Sacred sites and pilgrimage routes in the Kii Mountain Range extend for miles throughout the prefecture and together have been recognized as Japan's 11th UNESCO World Heritage Site.[6]

The Kumano Shrines are on the southern tip of the prefecture. Tomogashima (a cluster of four islands) is part of the prefecture.



Wakayama Prefecture ranks first in the production of oranges in Japan. Wakayama has its own brand of oranges, which is produced in Arida District and called 'Arida-Orange'. Arida District, where oranges have been produced for more than 400 years,[7] yields about half of the orange crops in Wakayama today.[8] Furthermore, the yield of Arida-Oranges accounts for about 10 percent of Japanese domestic production of oranges.[9]

Japanese apricot (Ume)Edit

According to the survey by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan, Wakayama stands first in the production of Japanese apricots (, Ume) in Japan. As of 2016, Wakayama made up about 70 percent of Japanese domestic production of Japanese apricots.[10]

Sister relationshipsEdit

Wakayama Prefecture has friendship and sister relationships with six places outside Japan:[11]Shandong, People's Republic of China; Pyrénées-Orientales, France; Florida, United States; Sinaloa, Mexico; Galicia, Spain and Sichuan, People's Republic of China.


Wakayama Prefecture has hot springs such as Shirahama, Kawayu, and Yunomine Onsen.





  • Hanwa Expressway
  • Keinawa Expressway
  • Yuasa Gobo Road
  • Nachi Katsuura Road

National HighwayEdit






  1. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Wakayama prefecture" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 1026, p. 1026, at Google Books; "Kansai" in p. 477, p. 477, at Google Books.
  2. ^ Nussbaum, "Wakayama" in p. 1025, p. 1025, at Google Books.
  3. ^ Nussbaum, "Provinces and prefectures" in p. 780, p. 780, at Google Books.
  4. ^ 自然公園都道府県別面積総括 [General overview of area figures for Natural Parks by prefecture] (PDF) (in Japanese). Ministry of the Environment. 31 March 2020. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  5. ^ 2020 population census of Japan. https://www.stat.go.jp/english/data/kokusei/2020/summary.html
  6. ^ UNESCO.org
  7. ^ 今月の旬 Wakayama Prefecture website, accessed May 31, 2017
  8. ^ 農林水産 特産品 Wakayama Prefecture website, accessed May 31, 2017
  9. ^ 有田みかんについて JA Arida website, accessed May 31, 2017
  10. ^ 作況調査(果樹): 農林水産省 The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries website, accessed June 1, 2017
  11. ^ 友好・姉妹提携 Archived 2011-06-11 at the Wayback Machine Wakayama Prefecture website, retrieved May 16, 2008


External linksEdit

Coordinates: 34°3′N 135°21′E / 34.050°N 135.350°E / 34.050; 135.350