Wakayama City occupies 4% of the land area and has 40% of Wakayama Prefecture's population. The city was founded on April 1, 1889. It is on the northern edge of Wakayama Prefecture, bordering Osaka Prefecture. Southern Wakayama Prefecture is largely rural.
The city population rose from 382,155 in 2003 to 386,501 in 2004, a growth of 1.87%. The population density as of October 1, 2010, was 1,755.47 persons per km². The total area is 209.20 km².
This population increase has occurred despite Wakayama's beleaguered economy, which has suffered since Sumitomo Steel moved much of its steel producing operations to China. The Wakayama steel mills have since been reduced and restructured, with part of the industry completely shutting in 2004.
Wakayama is cleft in two by the Kinokawa River. The city is bordered at the north by mountains and Osaka Prefecture.
In the city center is Wakayama Castle, built on Mt. Torafusu (the name means "a tiger leaning on his side") in a city central park. During the Edo period, the Kishū Tokugawa daimyo ruled from Wakayama Castle. Tokugawa Yoshimune, the fifth Kishū Tokugawa daimyo, became the eighth Tokugawa shogun. This castle is a concrete replica of the original, which was destroyed in World War II.
Wakayama is home to one of Japan's three Melody Roads, which is made from grooves cut into the pavement, which when driven over causes a tactile vibration and audible rumbling transmitted through the wheels into the car body.
Wakayama Prefecture is famous across Japan for its umeboshi, salty pickled plums, and mikan (tangerines).
Wakayama has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) with hot summers and cool winters. Precipitation is significant throughout the year, and is greater in summer than in winter.West Japan Railway Company
Kisei Main Line
Wakayama Electric Railway
Wakayama Marina City
The Museum of Modern Art, Wakayama
The city has a North Korean school, Wakayama Korean Elementary and Middle School (和歌山朝鮮初中級学校).
Wakayama has sister-city relationships with four overseas municipalities: Bakersfield, California, United States
Jeju, South Korea
Richmond, British Columbia, Canada
Jinan, Shandong, China
Wakayama City formed a sister-city relationship with the city of Jinan in China mainly due to the efforts of Hiroshi Yamazaki (山崎 宏), who was an escaped medic in the Imperial Japanese Army and stayed in China after the war. He married and runs his own clinic in China. In 1976, he visited Wakayama after nearly 40 years.