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Showing posts from March, 2009

Press Tour: Ray Bartlett

Ray Bartlett, a travel writer and producer of the “Onsen Japan” website, toured Kumano for 3 days starting from March 22nd.He was very interested in Onsen and we visitedRyujin Onsen,Yunomine Onsen,Kawayu Onsenand Kii-Katsuura. He is well versed in the Japanese Onsen culture and thoroughly enjoyed his soothing soaks. In fact, we bathed in Onsens several times during the day, throughout the tour!On the last day we visited the charcoal kilns at the “Kishu Binchotan” (Kii Peninsula Bincho charcoal made from Quercus phillyraeoides). We covered the history and process of making this famous product. During the moment the red hot charcoal was removed from the kiln, he commented that, “it is such an honor to watch the traditional process of making Binchotan charcoal by such skilled craftsman.”

Invitation to Wakayama Prefectural Tourism Advisory Committee

Tada Noriko, the Director of the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau, and Brad Towle, Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau’s International Tourism Promotion and Development director, were invited to be members of an advisory committee concerning the Wakayama Prefecture Tourism Promotion Action Plan. 

The committee will be composed of 30 tourism professionals from private, public, and academic sectors.  Some of the topics to be discussed will be tourism development, and rural & international tourism promotion.

Some of the issues and comments that the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau is planning to bring to the table include the following:
(This list is not in any order of importance)

lIndependent travellers are increasing and important for Wakayama Prefecture.  They need good information to travel.
lTransportation Information in English
àbus stops, timetables, announcements on busses and trains, etc.
àEnglish website.
lWider area information at information centers (for example, Kumano Inform…

Press Tour: Guillaume Loiret

Guillaume Loiret, a freelance writer from France, joined ourTanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau for 4 days from March 18th.It was a busy press tour that covered many spots in the Kii Peninsula including Ryujin Onsen, the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes, Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kawayu Onsen, Yunomine Onsen, Kumano Hayatama Taisha, Kumano Nachi Taisha, Kii-Katsuura and an Izakaya experience in Ajikoji.

Mr. Loiret was very interested in the traditional umeboshi production so we worked in a last minute visit to two umeboshi companies, Nakata Food Co., Ltd. and Kihouen Co., Ltd.According to Mr. Loiret, there were many possibilities for articles from this trip, and an article for the Wasabi magazine in France focusing on ume production in Tanabe will be the first to be published.
※Ume = a apricot like fruit often translated as plum. They are a specialty of the Tanabe region. ※Umeboshi = pickled ume.

Nakatsugawa City Study Tour in Tanabe

On March 17th, a party of 7 from Nakatsugawa City Tourism Association in Gifu Prefecture visited Tanabe to study the progressive and unique projects of the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau.Our bureau chief presented a brief history of our bureau and projects which was followed by a question-and–answer session.They were especially interested in our Bureau’s website as an outlet of detailed information and comprehensive efforts to support foreign tourists.The delegation was very appreciative of the presentation and stated that they would refer to our works to redefine their own tourism systems. We are thrilled that more areas in Japan are working to improve their tourism infrastructure by referring to our Bureau’s model for sustainable tourism.

Akitsuno Garden - Wakayama Kishu-Kan Press Tour

Wakayama Kishu-Kan, the antenna shop of Wakayama prefecture in Yuraku-cho Tokyo, invited 17 publishing companies from the Kanto area (eastern area of Japan) for a press tour to various Wakayama cities.The tour visited Akitsuno Garden in Tanabe city. The Akitsuno Garden is a refurbished wooden school which was closed for many years. At Akitsuno Garden you can experience regional life via local foods, handicrafts and agriculture.There is also a cafeteria where you can enjoy home-style cuisine lunch buffets made with local fresh ingredients. All of the Chefs are mothers from the surrounding neighborhoods. After lunch the tour visited nearby orchards to experience picking oranges firsthand. Tanabe is well known for orange production because of its temperate climate. In fact, over 70 varieties are grown in the area.Now it is the harvest season of “Kiyomi” oranges. After harvesting some fruit we squeezed them to make fresh juice back at Akitsuno Garden. Some of press was having nostalgic …

Italian TV ”Rei3” visits Tanabe City

From March 8th to 9th, the Italian National Broadcasting program production TV “Rei3” visited Tanabe City to cover Ryujin Onsen and the Minachi cypress hat workshop. “Rei3” is famous for broadcasting documentaries of nature, history, world culture, and religion.
Ryujin Onsen is an isolated hot spring area famous for its “beautifying” silky smooth waters. This was also the resort area of the feudal lord of the Wakayama in times past. Minachi cypress hats are a local product with a long history, especially associated with the Kumano pilgrimage. They are conical shaped and excellent headwear for the local environment. When the weather is dry, there are vent holes in-between the bark shaving for ventilation. When the weather is wet, the bark swells, sealing the hat from the rain. Voila, Nature’s Gore-tex!The Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureausupported with on the ground logistics, etc.
Photos from top down:1. Ryokan Kamigoten 2. The crews checking video with our staff 3. Mr. Shiba Yasuo in…

“Otona gumi” Monthly Magazine visits Tanabe City

“Otona gumi” (Japanese) Monthly Magazine visited Tanabe City to cover the Nakahechi area. They covered the giant trees at “Nonaka-no-Ippo Sugi” (#15 on the Kumano Kodo Audio Guide), wooden tub craft shop and Nakahechi Art Museum. They also visited “Minshuku Irori-An”, a newly opened guesthouse along the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route. The special featured article of Nakahechi will be on their April 2009 issue.
UPDATE: The special featured article of Nakahechi came out on their MAY issue >> click to see the issue!! (sorry only in Japanese)

Press Tour: Kansai Scene

Kansai Scene, the free magazine for foreign residents in the Kansai area of Japan, joined the March Press Tour sponsored by the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau.The tour included a walk along the Oto Hyakkenzan Keikoku (Oto Hyakkenzan Valley) to the Amagoi-no-Taki (Amagoi Falls). The rushing stream after the rain was overflowing with intense beauty. After the walk we headed north and stayed at a hotel in Ryujin. We bathed in Ryujin Onsen: one of the famous three Onsens of beautifying water in Japan.The next day our tour covered other sites in the Ryujin area. We visited a sword smithy and a Tofu factory “Ryujingama Tofuruan”, which is preserving traditional methods and taste. At the tofu factory we experienced tofu making as well as eating the delicious finished product. “I’ve lived in Japan for a long time but this is the first time for me to have such a tasty tofu!” commented the press tour participant.Thank you very much to Kansai Scene for joining out Press Tour.

TNT Magazine–Pilgrim’s Progress–(England)

“Pilgrim’s Progress” by Mark Stratton

Published by TNT Magazine
March 2nd, 2009

TNT Magazine website >>

Mark Stratton was a member of a press tour supported by the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau.

Outdoor Japan Magazine featured Kumano area.

Outdoor Japan Magazine featured Kumano area.