Shirahama (白浜), on the southwest coast of the Kii Peninsula, is Kansai's leading beach resort and has all the trappings of a major Japanese tourist attraction – huge resort hotels, aquariums, amusement parks etc. It also has several good onsen, a great white-sand beach and rugged coastal scenery.
Kushimoto, Shiono-misaki & Kii-Ōshima
The Kushimoto (串本), Shiono-misaki (潮岬) and Kii-Ōshima (紀伊大島) region, at the southern tip of the Kii Peninsula (and the southernmost point on Honshū), has some stunning coastal scenery and surprising monuments to early interaction between Japan and the rest of the world, from the Americans to the Turks.
Yunomine, Watarase & Kawa-yu Onsen
These three onsen are among Kansai's best, each with its own distinct character and conveniently located to each other. The picture-perfect village of Yunomine (湯峰温泉), said to be one of Japan's first onsen towns, is nestled around a rapidly flowing, narrow river in a wooded valley, with onsen in small ryokan and public baths.
Home to a Unesco World Heritage Site shrine, Hongū (本宮) is also a good starting point for visiting the onsen nearby – Watarase, Yunomine and Kawa-yu. Other highlights include Kumano Hongū Taisha and Kumano Hongū Heritage Centre, and some important Shintō sites. Throw in a lovely guesthouse and cafe and you have the makings of a nice stay.