Loggerhead turtles land the beach covered with colorful gravels
Shichirimihama is a part of Kumano Kodo Iseji (Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range) registered as a World Heritage site. The 22 km-long gravel beach spreads from Kumano, Mie, to Wakayama. The beach is also selected as one of "the 100 natural landscapes to bequeath to the 21st century," "100 best beaches of Japan" and "100 beaches with white sand and green pines. "The place is also known as Hamakaido (beach road).
Smooth and rounded gravels on the beach are called "Mihama koishi" and used for various purposes; for go stones, accessories, garden stones, for example. It is said walking barefoot on a gravel beach will stimulate pressure points on the bottom of your foot and improve blood circulation with a refreshing effect.
A part of the long beach is famous for landing of loggerhead turtles. Driving cars or motor bikes onto the area is controlled from May 1 to September 30 every year to protect loggerhead turtles coming to lay eggs. No swimming is allowed because waves are large and the current is strong. Though sea bathing is not allowed, there are many sights to be seen in the vicinity including the oldest temple in Japan.
Address: Atawa, Minamimuro-gun Mihama-cho, Mie
Phone: 059-224-5904(Mie Prefectural Tourism Association)
Directions: (Train) A 10-minute walk from Kumano City Station on the JR Kisei Honsen.