Kihō (紀宝町 : Kihō-chō) is the southern-most town in Mie and has a population of about 12,000 people. It's the last town before Wakayama Prefecture and is the final stop in the Deep South. Kihō's English Wikipedia entry is located here, and its Japanese Wikipedia entry is located here. If you can read any Japanese, the latter contains a great deal more information.
"Kihō" roughly translates as the "Treasure of Kii", Kii being the name of the old province which stretched from Wakayama City all the way around the coastline up to Kii-Nagashima in Kihoku.
Kihō is on Route 42, which runs the length of Mie prefecture from North to South. Because buses and trains are very infrequent in the rural deep south, use of a car for traveling in and around Kihō is highly reccomended.
The main station is Udono (鵜殿) Station, a local stop on the Kisei Main Line, one stop north of Shingū (新宮) Station. Both stations are approximately equally accessible. For this reason, and because it is a larger station serving more trains, Shingu station is often preferred.
One well-known trick for travelling from Kihō to larger cities like Osaka, Nara or Kyoto is to travel by car into Nara prefecture and to take a Kintetsu train. The nearest Kintetsu station is Yoshinojingu (吉野神宮), approximately three hours by car. Travelling via this method takes approximately the same amount of time as travelling via train from Shingu station, but is much cheaper. Unlimited parking is available near Yoshinojingu station for 300円.
Travelling by bus within Kiho itself is cheap but very inconvenient. The buses stop running between 5 and 6 PM and there are only 4-5 runs per day. Fortunately, they are only 100円.
The Sanco bus company offers daily bus runs to Nagoya, and an overnight bus to Tokyo. These can be a reasonable alternative to taking the train - travelling to Nagoya by bus is quicker than travelling by train, and slightly cheaper. The buses are quite comfortable, and stop occasionally to allow for washroom breaks and snacks.
Things to See
Kihō is known for sea turtles (海亀). There is a sea turtle park in the northern part of town where rescued endangered sea turtles live.
Events and Festivals
- Kihō has the police station for Minamimuro region (there is none on Mihama), and it is located just south of the Marui Mart. This is where you go to change the address of a driver's license, report stolen/lost things, etc.
- Buying/selling used goods
- There is a recycle shop near the Marui Mart (right turn at the lights coming from the south, left coming from the north, and look for the house with all the electronics and junk out front). For all your 80s fashion needs.
Although Kihō does have a hardware store, super market and convenience store, a much larger variety of shopping can be found across the river in Shingū.
- Marui Mart
- The only dedicated grocery store in Kiho. Located at the Northern end of town, on route 42. A little on the small side, but has everything you might need on a day-to-day basis. Has a small farmer's market section, and a Takoyaki stand outside. Closes fairly early.
- A bulk foods and local produce store. Prices here are the lowest among grocery stores in Kiho and Shingu. Sells a number of food items that cannot be easily found elsewhere, such as bagels and organic foods. Located on route 42, just past Jusco.
- Jusco / Aeon
- Located in Shingū, along route 42. Stays open until 11:00 PM. In addition to the (quite large) grocery store, the building contains several other stores that sell nearly anything you might want. Fish and bread go on sale at around 8:00 PM.
- Okuwa Super Center
- The largest grocery store in southern Mie / Wakayama. Located halfway between Shingū and Nachi-Katsuura. Has an impressive selection of groceries, including imported alcohol and chocolate. Odds are, if you can't find it here, you probably can't find it in Japan. Rather out of the way for daily grocery shopping. Also has McDonalds, KFC, Mr. Donut, and Baskin Robbins!
- Super Ape
- For your more modernly fashionable used clothing needs, there is a used clothing store south of Marui Mart. You can see a small sign for it near the ground on the right side of the road if you're driving north on route 42. A bit more expensive than you'd want a used clothing store to be, though.
- A 100 yen store located near the post office in Kiho. Not affiliated with Jusco, and tend to have a nicer selection. Great music, too.
Food and Drink
- Hakuhou (白鳳）
- Located on route 42 across from the Marui Mart, this is probably the best Chinese restaurant in the deep south. Closed Tuesdays.
- Umigame Koen
- The top floor of the building next to the turtle park has some nice food.
Recreation and Entertainment
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