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Showing posts from 2008

Press Tour: Lionel Crooson

Lionel Crooson, a French freelance writer, visited Wakayama Prefecture and Tanabe City from December 17th to 24th. His focus of research was for an article on a train journey through the Kii-hanto Peninsula. Lionel Crooson also writes for the French guide book “Guide Bleu”, by Hachette Inc. The Guide Bleu was the first guidebook in France to introduce Kumano in a detailed format.His trip included stops at Wakayama City, Yuasa, Shirahama, Kushimoto, Kastuura and Tanabe City.
The Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau hopes that through Lionel Crosoon’s diligent coverage of the area more people from France will be able to enjoy the joys of travelling here.

Shimane Prefecture Tourism Seminar

On December 19th the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau was invited to make a presentation for all of the Shimane Prefecture government officials involved in Tourism.  The contents of the presentation focused on our bureau’s international tourism promotion and development initiatives, specifically relating to the UNESCO World Heritage property “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range”.  Approximately 40 participants attend the seminar in Matsue City which ran from 15:30 to 17:00 in the Shimane Prefecture Municipal Promotion Center.

Kolner Stadt-Anzeiger–Kumano Travel Article–(Germany)

“Pilgern auf Japanisch” by Harald Biskup
Published by Kolner Stadt-Anzeiger
December 17th, 2008

Kolner Stadt-Anzeiger website >>

Harald Biskup was a member of a press tour supported by the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau.

Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau’s 2008 Domestic Press Tour

For two days from November 27th, we held apress tour for Japanese media outlets. Six companies from Kanto (eastern area of Japan) and 3 from Kansai (western area of Japan) participated. On the first day, we introduced Akitsuno Garden, which newly opened on November 1st. Akitsuno Garden serves a lunch buffet cooked by local mothers. All of the ingredients are local produced making a healthy & environmentally friendly meal. After lunch we introduced an orange picking experience in a location with fine scenery and conversations with local farmers.Afterwards we visited a couple of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route highlights: Takijiri-oji, Nonaka-no-Ipposugi and Okeya (cooper).We also observed Suhi Oke (a traditional tub for Sushi rice) and Ohitsu (a traditional style rice holder) being made by a local craftsman.We overnighted at Minshuku Chikatsuyu and enjoyed the specialty dish called minshuku Ayugohan (steamed rice with Ayu sweetfish).On the 2nd day, blessed with fine weather, we …

Volunteer Guide National Convention in Tanabe

The Japan Tourism Association held a National Sightseeing Volunteer Guides Convention in Tanabe for 2 days from November 20th. Over 800 volunteer guides gathered from around the nation to participate in workshops and visit the city of Tanabe and Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes. On the first day sectional meetings were held at venues in Tanabe, Hongu, Nakahachi and Ryujin. Volunteer guides walked the Kumano Kodo at other various locations. Lectures and get-togethers for information exchanges also took place.On the second day participants gathered in the Tanabe’s main venue and reported on the group meetings of previous days. After the ceremony, a keynote lecture about the Kumano Hongu Mandara was given by Mr. Hayamizu, who works for the Wakayama World Heritage Center. During the closing ceremony the responsibility for next year’s volunteer convention was handed over to next year’s host: Nara city.This was a large event and we congratulate organizers and participants for the success of the…

Wakayama Tourism, Internationalization & Promotion Symposium

The “Wakayama Tourism, Internationalization & Promotion Symposium”, sponsored by Consortium Wakayama, was held at the Big U in Tanabe City from 13:30~16:30.  Brad Towle, Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau’s International Tourism Promotion and Development Director, made a presentation regarding Tourism in the Kumano region.  A panel discussion followed the presentations which included a prefectural government official, a local business representative and a monk from Koyasan.

Nicht nur Wasser gibt Kraft–Kumano Travel Article–(Germany)

“Nicht nur Wasser gibt Kraft” by Thomas Schrott
Published by Mannheimer Morgen
November 22nd, 2008

Mannheimer Morgen website >>

Thomas Schrott was a member of a press tour supported by the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau.

Press Tour: Taiwan Media

On November 18th four Taiwanese media visited Tanabe City. They were here to gather info for various media including magazines, newspapers and a FM radio broadcast.First they went to Kishu Binchotan Park. They learned the difference between black, white and bamboo charcoal. The various uses and effects of Binchotan charcoal were also introduced.Afterwards they experienced making a wind chime made of Binchotan charcoal.On the 19th we visited Ryujin Onsen and Gomasan Sky Tower, and on the 20thKawayu Onsen and Kumano Hongu Taisha.The Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau thanks our friends from Taiwan for visiting us and hope that they will return again someday soon.

Arakawa City, Tokyo – study tour of Tanabe City

For 2 days from November 18th, 11 people from Arakawa City Congress visited Tanabe City to study the progressive initiatives of the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau and local tourism associations in Tanabe. On the first day they visited the Wakayama World Heritage Center and then walked the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route from Sangenjaya to Kumano Hongu Taisha.On the second day, a presentation was made concerning the establishment of our bureau and business summary since its foundation. These presentations were delivered by the Tanabe City tourism department manager and our Bureau chief.A question-and–answer session was held after the presentation. They were interested in the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau’s comprehensive efforts to support foreign tourists, especially the development of communication tools developed for people who don’t speak English.There is a historic link between Arakawa City and Tanabe. In Arakawa City there is a area named “Kumano-mae”, which originally derive…

Nakatsugawa City, Gifu – Study of Kumano Kodo, Tanabe City

On November 5th,18 people from Gifu prefecture, Mayor of Nakatugawa city and a party of 17 from Nakatsugawa City Tourism Association, visited Tanabe City to study our regional approach to tourism associated with the World Heritage Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes.On the first day, after the greeting of Mayor of Tanabe, a presentation about the general outline of Tanabe’s tourism initiatives was delivered by the manager of the Tanabe city tourism dept. The establishment of our Bureau, and what we have done since the foundation, was delivered by the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau’s chief.They were especially interested in Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route and the 10th International Aikido Congress which was held in Tanabe in last month.On the second day, they walked Kumano Kodo from Hosshinmon-oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha with a Kataribe (story telling guide).We hope that the visit was a successful one for all of those involved.

Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau and Turismo de Santiago de Compostela Joint Promotion launch in Spain

Kumano, where the sun rises&Way of St. James, where the sun sets
Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau and the Turismo de Santiago de Compostela launched their joint promotion project in Santiago de Compostela City (October 27) and Madrid (October 29).This is the first time for our bureau to affiliate with an overseas association and we believe that it is the first of its kind in Japan.Both cities have a central sacred site associated with a registered UNESCO World Heritage pilgrimage route.
2008 marks the 10th anniversary in celebration of the friendship agreement between Wakayama Prefecture and Galicia Province. We seized on this milestone anniversary as a meaningful start for both cities to share knowledge and experience via our common values.
To start our joint promotion project, we will collaborate to produce pamphlets and an internet website. We are also working together to share ideas about creating high quality sustainable tourism destinations. Thank you Turismo de Santiago de Co…

Hong Kong TV Program

On October 28th, with the support of the Japanese governmental project “Visit Japan Campaign”, one of the largest broadcast TV stations ”TVB” from Hong Kong visited Tanabe.The purpose of this campaign is to introduce Japanese attractions, such as tourist sites, local cuisine and culture, to increase foreign tourism. Osaka, Hyogo, Nara and Wakayama participated in this Hong Kong TV program.The TV show “TVB channel” (in Cantonese) is one of the two biggest broadcasting programs in Hong Kong and with approximately 1,300,000 viewers. The show will also be aired in Guangdong province.Photo above is shooting scenes in Ryujin Onsen.
They filmed the Rotenburo bath and a traditional Japanese room at the historic Ryokan Kamigoten, before heading to Hongu.In Hongu they filmed the Kumano Hongu Taisha, Oyunohara and Kawayu Onsen. They also covered Yakuzen Ryori (Medicinal dishes) at Kameya Ryokan.Air date is in December.Thank you to all the local businesses and organization that helped the Tanabe C…

Travel Mart 2008 (autumn) in Yokohama

Travel Mart 2008 autumn edition was held on October 23rd and 24th, at the Pacifico Yokohama conference center in Yokohama City. Three groups from Wakayama prefecture attended the busy business event; Prefectural Office, Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau and Kumano Regional group.This Travel Mart is an important initiative of the federal government promotional project “VISIT JAPAN CAMPAIGN”. At this event travel agencies and media from overseas can freely talk with Japanese agencies from all over Japan. About 300 buyers from overseas came joined this year’s Travel Mart.The Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau rented a booth to promote Tanabe. We offered information regarding the world heritage Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes, high quality Onsens and fresh local foods that can be found in the Kumano region. During the two day event we had business negotiations with around 30 agencies. Most of them were from Europe and mainly deal with individual travelers. It was a very successful trip and we…

Press Tour: Shanghai Media

On October 21st, Shanghai Media (The Discovery Channel and two travel-related publishing companies) visited Tanabe to cover Ryujin Onsen, Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes, Kumano Hongu Taisha, and Yunomine Onsen.At Ryujin Onsen, the manager of Ryokan Shimogoten explained the effectiveness of the local hot spring waters; making skin smooth as silk.Afterwards the press tour travelled to Hongu and to visit Yunomine Onsen.At Adumaya Ryokan the quality and effects of the onsen water and accommodation facilities were introcuded. Onsen Kayu (porridge made with Onsen mineral water) was served.It was well received and many of the press asked for refills!The Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau was glad to see that the visiting media was able to relax and enjoy the area while filming under such busy schedules.

Press Tour: British & German Media

The Sacred Place Kumano and International Aikido Congress
With the corporation of Wakayama Tourism Association and Aikido related parties, a press tour for journalists from England and Germany was arranged to coincide with the Aikido demonstration at the Kumano Hongu Taisha during the 10th International Aikido Congress in Tanabe.
The tour started off from Tanabe, the venue of the International Aikido Congress, visiting the Minakata Kumagusu Archiveand Cape Tenjinzaki. The tour then headed to the Hongu area to experience the world heritageKumano Kodo pilgrimage routes, Kumano Hongu Taisha, the Wakayama World Heritage Center and local Onsen.
Other sites visited during this tour were theKumano Hayatama Taisha, Fudarakusan-ji Temple and Kumano Nachi Taisha.
Nine journalists in total joined the tour, three from England and six from Germany.
The Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau would like to take this opportunity to thank all who helped us make this press tour happen.

Photos from the top
1) Tsu…

Press Tour: Swedish Journalist

During the 10th International Aikido Congress a Swedish journalist attending the event inquired about media coverage possibilities in Kumano. The Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau arranged an improvised press tour to accommodate his interests.From the 11th to 12th, we introduced the sites along the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route such as Takijiri-oji, Takahara, Chikatsuyu-oji, Tsugizakura-oji and Kumano Hongu Taisha.During the evening on the 11th he experienced the Aikido demonstration event at Kumano Hongu Taisha. He stayed at Yunomine Onsen, and had Ryokan experience.
We hope our improvised press tour inspired ideas for articles concerning the area.

Canadian Travel Agencies FAM trip

A group of travel agencies from Canada toured Japan as part of FAM trip.

They were here to inspect Kyoto and Kumano.

Ten agencies visited Tanabe City including the Wakayama World Heritage Center, Kumano Hongu Taisha,Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes and Ryujin Onsen.
Most of the participants visited Japan for the first time, so many aspects of Japanese cultural interested them. With the guidance the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau’s staff, Brad Towle, they learned about the sites and culture of the area.

The agents really enjoy immersing themselves in the rural Japan lifestyle.

We hope more people from Canada area able to visit the area with the help of the agents new found knowledge and experience.

Communication Level Up Seminar at Kumano Hongu Taisha

On October 1st, in preparation for the upcoming International Aikido Congress, the communication level up seminar was held for Shinto priests and priestesses at Kumano Hongu Taisha.Since the foundation of Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau, we have held communication level up seminars for tourism related groups such as accommodation facilities, transportation companies and travel information centers. But this was our first initiative with Shinto priests and priestesses. In fact, this is the first time for this kind of seminar held for a sacred site in the entire country of Japan.Before the International Aikido Congress in Tanabe, which will start on October 5th, our office aims to aid and enhance the experience of visiting Aikido practitioners by developing the tourism infrastructure, and especially to support local citizens be able to communicate with non-Japanese speaking visitors.The seminar was held in a workshop style so that they can learn interactively. Six Shinto priests and pr…

Tsuruoka City, Yamagata – Tanabe City study tour

On September 10th, a party of Tsuruoka City Tourism Association visited Tanabe city from Yamagata Prefecture to study our tourism initiatives concerning the world heritage Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route.A lecture titled “Tanabe’s tourism & Kumano Kodo” was given at the Tanabe City Hall.The manager of the City Tourism Dept. explained a general outline of Tanabe’s tourism and the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau chief delivered a presentation about the establishment of our Bureau and what we have done since the foundation.They were very interested in Tanabe’s promotion of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route. They asked many specific questions and unfortunately we ran out of time. But it was a quality discussion with both sides benefiting from the meeting.Thank you Tsuruoka City Tourism Association for making the long trip to Tanabe City.

Magazine “ARUMONI” by Hitachi Capital interview with Brad Towle

On August 8th reporters from Tokyo visited Tanabe for a feature article about Brad Towle, Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau’s International Tourism Promotion and Development Director.The article is for the quarterly magazine “ARUMONI” issued by Hitachi Capital, which has a circulation of 15000 copies per printing. At our office Brad explained the process of founding the Bureau and our various initiatives as well as his personally background and philosophies regarding sustainable tourism.The group then visited the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route in Nakahechi stopping at Takijiri-ji and Takahara.After learning the story of Minakata Kumagusu’s protest campaign against the synthesis of shrines by the federal government, they were very touched to see Takahara Kumano-jinja Shrine and Nonaka-no-Ippo Sugi cedar trees that he preserved.