The Kinokuni Line is operated by JR West between Wakayama Station and Shingu Station, both of which are in Wakayama Prefecture.
The Kuroshio Limited Express is a service that connects Kyoto Station with stations in Wakayama Prefecture via Shin-Osaka and Tennoji stations in Osaka city. On Kyoto Station signage this route is referred to as the Kinokuni Line, though the train doesn’t actually join the Kinokuni Line proper until it reaches Wakayama Station. This service is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass. Trains leave from platforms 6 and 7 in Kyoto Station.
The Kinokuni Line follows the coastline of the Kii Peninsula. Beyond Wakayama Station the route is very beautiful as the train runs between the mountains and the sea. Seats on the right side of the train are recommended for the best views of the ocean.
Wakayama city’s biggest tourist attraction is Wakayama Castle. First built in the 16th century, the current castle is mostly a 1950’s reconstruction as the bulk of it was destroyed in the last world war. The Kuroshio Market in Wakayama Marina City is another popular attraction. Here you can buy fresh seafood, watch a whole tuna being filleted, or eat in one of many seafood restaurants.
Train fare: 3240 yen
Train time: 1 hour and 28 minutes
Tanabe city is a key spot on the ancient pilgrimage route known as the Kumano Kodo. Kumano Hongu Taisha Shrine is in this city, and it is one of the Three Grand Shrines of Kumano as well as being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition the city has many hot spring baths, some of them in the open air by the Kumano river. Kii-Tanabe Station is also just five minutes walk from Ogigahama Beach, a popular recreation spot.
Train fare: 5610 yen
Train time: 2 hours and 39 minutes
Shirahama is best known as a hot spring resort town. Many hot spring baths are located in the open air overlooking the sea. Shirahama is also famous for its beautiful, white, but entirely artificial, beach.
Train fare: 5940 yen
Train time: 2 hours and 52 minutes
Shingu’s main tourist attraction is Kumano Hatayama Grand Shrine, another of the Three Grand Shrines of Kumano and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kamikura Shrine on Mount Kamikura commands a spectacular view over the city. Shingu is also known as the birthplace of Aikido, so many Aikido practitioners come to pay their respects at the Aikido Kumano Juku Dojo.
Train fare: 7560 yen
Train time: 4 hours and 37 minutes
Only two Kuroshio trains leave Kyoto Station each day. Please note that only the Kuroshio Limited Express #3 goes as far as Shingu Station. The Kuroshio Limited Express #23 terminates at Shirahama Station. If these times aren’t convenient for you, there are more Kuroshio services departing from Shin-Osaka and Tennoji stations. You can use the JR West Timetable and Fare Finder to find the most suitable service.
|8.36||Kuroshio Limited Express #3||Shingu Station||6|
|17.47||Kuroshio Limited Express #23||Shirahama Station||7|
Article and photos by Michael Lambe