Shirasaki Ocean Park hosts record number of tourists

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Shirasaki Ocean Park hosts record number of tourists

The observation deck in Shirasaki Ocean Park in Yura, Wakayama Prefecture, on April 10, Shinichi Katsube YURA, Wakayama Prefecture, attracting hordes of visitors with a view so magnificent it has been nicknamed Japan's Aegean Sea. A representative of Yura town said we will show off the spot's beauty and draw in even more people.

Shirasaki Ocean Park, which is located on the Shirasaki coast and marked by clear waters and white rocks, hosted more than 160,000 tourists last year, a record high over the five years from 2017 on the Shirasaki coast.

A representative of the tourism promotion division of Yura town said the fact that it is outdoors means there is less risk of visitors contracting coronaviruses. It is also closer to the Keihanshin area around Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe than other tourist destinations in the Wakayama Prefecture A music video featuring Hyde, a famous musician from Wakayama, was filmed at the park and released last summer. A tourism official said it was likely that it contributed to the tourism boom.

Between September and November there were 48,300 sightseers.

The upward trend has continued even though there has been a decrease in sightseeing nationwide due to the ongoing health scare.

A captivating sight comprising the blue Pacific and white limestone can be seen from the Shirasaki coast. In 1997, Shirasaki Ocean Park opened its operations, characterized by a log house, an observation deck, a camping site and a diving facility equipped with one of the country's largest divers pools.

In 2017 there were 148,587 visitors, according to Yura town. In 2018 the figure was down to 102,714 because the park was temporarily closed after being severely damaged by Typhoon No. The observation deck and tourism information bureau reopened in April 2019, while a souvenir store and a restaurant resumed operations in October of this year. The annual visitors were a meager 59,064.

In 2020, Shirasaki Ocean Park was closed due to the novel coronaviruses crisis. An accommodation facility began accepting guests on May 22 to coincide with the park's restart, bringing back the tourist number to 117,987.

In 2021, the visitor number rose to 165,948.

According to preliminary data from the Wakayama Prefecture's sightseer survey, 24.8 million tourists, 30 percent less than the record number logged in 2019, traveled to the prefecture last year.

Of these, 4.6 million people visited the Wakayama city and 2.4 million went to the noted resort area in Shirahama.

Both figures were down 30 percent from 2019 as well.

From April 2023, Yura town plans to have a designated administrator, such as a private company or organization.