In the seaside area, including picturesque Engetsu Islet, you can see into the sea's depths from a Glass Bottom Boat, visit Kyoto University Shirahama Aquarium and the Kumagusu Minakata Museum, enjoy lovely marine views and learn about the natural world.
The boats depart from the shore at Rinkai. The tour lasts about 25 minutes. The boat's glass bottom allow you to witness the many mysteries of the deep. There is a "Ama"(women diver) performance by "Ama"(women diver) as well.
Attached to the Seto Marine Biological Laboratory of Kyoto University, exhibiting a variety of marine invertebrates and other sea creatures with English descriptions.
Wakayama-born Kumagusu Minakata was best remembered for his research on fungus. This world-renowned biologist's research materials, specimens, books and many other articles are on exhibit here.
In front of the museum is a stone monument inscribed with a poem composed by the late Emperor Showa (Hirohito) when he stayed at Shirahama Onsen in 1962 after Minakata's death, in remembrance of the biologist who had once guided and delivered a lecture to him on the island of Kashima in Tanabe Bay: Ame ni keburu Kashima o mite Kii-no-kuni no umishi Minakata Kumagusu o omofu (Looking out at Kashima shrouded in mist and rain, I remember Minakata Kumagusu, son of the land of Kii)
A bansho was an Edo Period (1603-1868) guard house. From this are derived the names of Bansho-yama Hill on Banshozaki Cape, which as the stone marker showing the former location of the guard house describes, was one of the Kii Domain's lookout points for foreign ships during the Edo Period up until the Meiji Restoration of 1868. The hill offers a lovely view of the blue Pacific and the town of Tanabe across the bay.
ENGETSU ISLET 円月島
Located south, just off the Rinkai inlet is a small islet 130 meters in length from north to south, 35 meters in width and 25 meters in height. The island's offical name is Takashima. Because of erosion,the center of island has an opening that resembles the full moon. Today, because of this resemblance, people refer to the islet as the Engetsuto (Full Moon Island). During the summer and winter sunsets, the silhouette of the Engetsuto is an example of nature's wonder and beauty.
Since the Edo period the buddhist priests here have collected more than 1000 rare seashells,lending the nickname "seashell temple".A particular type of shell first discovered it Shirahama was named after this temple.