/wah"kah yah"mah/, n.
a seaport on S Honshu, in S Japan. 401,462.

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      city, capital of Wakayama ken (prefecture), west-central Honshu, Japan. It is situated in the northwestern part of the prefecture at the mouth of the Kino River, on the Kii Peninsula, and lies along the Kii Strait, which leads from the Pacific Ocean into the Inland Sea. It is the capital and largest city of Wakayama prefecture. The settlement's growth began in 1585 with the construction of a castle there ordered by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Wakayama subsequently became the headquarters of the Kii branch of the ruling Tokugawa family of Japan. The last seven shoguns of Japan, ruling from 1716 to 1867, were members of this branch. Wakayama's traditional industries were the manufacture of furniture and cotton textiles, but steel and petrochemical plants were established there after World War II. The original Wakayama Castle founded by Hideyoshi was bombed and destroyed by fire in World War II but was later rebuilt, the grounds around it being made into a public park. The nearby Buddhist Kimii Temple is another notable attraction. Pop. (2005 prelim.) 375,718.

      ken (prefecture), west-central Honshu, Japan. It occupies the Kii Peninsula, which faces the Kii Strait (west) and the Pacific Ocean (south). Most of its area is mountainous and broken by deep river valleys, such as the Toro Gorge on the Kumano River. Despite frequent typhoons in summer, the climate is mild, and the coastal plain and some large valleys are rich agricultural regions. Fishing for tuna, bonito, mackerel, and sardines has been carried on along the coast since early historic times.

      Industrialization is confined largely to the northwest, where the city of Wakayama (the prefectural capital) and neighbouring Kainan are part of the Hanshin Industrial Zone. These cities' major products include petrochemicals, textiles, iron, and steel. A thermoelectric plant began operation near Kainan during the early 1970s.

      Wakayama prefecture is also a major tourist area, with attractions including the seascape, beaches, hot-spring resorts, and Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. Nachi-Katsura, in Yoshino-Kumano National Park, is a tourist centre located near hot springs and the Nachi Waterfall. The town of Taiji is considered the birthplace of Japanese whaling and contains a whaling museum. Mount Kōya, in the northern part of the prefecture, is crowned by a Buddhist temple complex, monastery, and extensive cemetery founded in the 9th century AD. A university was founded there in 1949. Area 1,825 square miles (4,726 square km). Pop. (2005 prelim.) 1,036,061.

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Universalium. 2010.

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