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Showing posts from November, 2009

Christina Oiticica’s Art Project in Kumano Kodo 1

Brazilian artist Christina Oiticica buried her art works along the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes in February of this year. She arrived in Japan on November 28th to complete her Kumano art project.

In the morning of the 29th staff from the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau, Wakayama Prefectural officials and Tanabe City officials gathered to support Christina’s excavation activity.

The excavation activities were done in four places; the field in front of restaurant Bocu in Chikatsuyu, near the Kumano Kodo Nakahechi Art Museum, on a ridge overlooking Oyunohara and the Nanakoshimine Ridge along the Omine Okugake route.

After exhuming her art she continues to prepare the works for the exhibition at the Kumano Hongu Heritage Center.

We wonder how her art works will be transformed by the energy of Kumano.

We are all looking forward to seeing her art exhibition.

Kumano Symposium

On the 15th of November the Kumano Symposium ~Sharing Kumano with the World~ was held by the Tanabe City ATA Association as a part of their Kumano International Destination Guide Project.

Tanabe City ATA Association will offer 7 training sessions from December 2009 to March 2010 for those who are interested in becoming an English guide for foreign tourists.

ATA stands for “Area Tourism Agency,” which is a Japanese comparable institution to DMC “Destination Management Company.”

Tanabe City ATA Association was established in August 2008 with Wakayama prefecture, Tanabe City, Tanabe Chamber of Commerce and Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau under the common purpose to develop Kumano as an International Tourism Destination.

The symposium started off with the Tanabe City mayor’s greeting speech, and then Brad Towle, Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau’s International Tourism Promotion and Development Director, made a presentation titled “Kumano, an International Perspective—the Importance and V…

Kumano Kodo Press Tour with Totsukawa-mura

For 2 days, from November 19th, a Kumano Kodo Press Tour was held for domestic Japanese media (8 people from 7 companies) with the cooperation of TM office. City tourism officials from both Tanabe City and Totsukawa-mura Village along with theTanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau’s staff supported this tour.

The theme of this press tour was “A tour from the secret region of Totsukawa-mura “a village in the sky” to the sacred place “Kumano Hongu” , A healing trip to the hidden Onsen ~get away from everyday life and be healed in an outside Onsen bath, illuminated by lamplight~”

On the 19th the tour visited Tanabe city’s Kumano Hongu Heritage Center to learn about theKumano Kodo pilgrimage routes. Afterwards, the tour moved to Totsukawa-mura, Nara prefecture, to visit Tamaki-jinja Shrine. Tamaki-jinja Shrine has been said to be the oldest shrine in the Japan. Tamaki-jinja’s Shinto priest spoke about the Mountain faith developed along the Omine Okugake-michi, which had a huge influence on the …

US Travel Agent Kansai FAM Trip

The 2009 US Travel Agent Kansai FAM Trip, sponsored by Kansai Unity, took place from November 16~27. This FAM trip was a part of our two year Kansai promotion project, which includes a variety of groups both public and private groups throughout the Kansai region. Three tour companies from California joined this inspection visit.
The Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau planned and led the Kumano portion of the tour. It was a busy schedule but went smoothly, and the response from the agents was extremely positive. They were very interested to obtain high quality information about off the beaten track areas of Japan.

Day 1:
l Bocu restaurant in Nakahechi for a delicious Macrobiotic lunch.
lKumano Hongu Heritage Center

lHosshinmon-oji along the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route

lKumano Hongu Taisha


lKawayu Onsen

lOvernight at Yunomine Onsen

Day 2:
lKumano River boating experienced
lKumano Hayatama Taisha

lDaimonzaka section of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route

lKumano Nachi Tais

Christina Oiticica Kumano Exhibition in Hongu

Christina Oiticica(wife of the famous author Paulo Coelho)will be exhibiting works from her Kumano pilgrimage project this winter in Hongu.
The original artistic technique used by Oiticica –a world-famous artist- is the transformation of what is known as “ecoart” or “land art” combined with painting, and is based on allowing nature to exercise an aesthetic effect on her works.
She buried 11 pieces of her works along the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routein the spring 2009, which will be exhumed the fall of 2009.
During her career of 20 years, she has exhibited in over 60 galleries from 12 countries.

Kumano Exhibition

When: December 5, 2009 to January 11, 2010

9:00~17:00 everyday

Where: Kumano Hongu Heritage Center

Price: Free admission

Press Release PDF>>

Wakayama Promotion Tour in Europe

From October 19th to 25th, Wakayama prefecture including Mr. Nisaka (the governor of Wakayama), Wakayama assembly members, representatives from private businesses and Ms. Tada (the director of the Tanabe City Kumano tourism Bureau) travelled to Paris, Milan and Rome. The goal was to promote Wakayama as a unique tourism destination.
In Paris the delegation visited 5 different tourism related companies, such as the famous guide book company “Michelin” and “Hachette”, along with the tour company “ASIA” (which specializes in Asia).

According to Ms. Tada,
“Wherever we went, it was very clear that Koyasan is an extremely popular place among the French. Carrying 3 stars in the Michelin guide book is convincing evidence to it. Kumano is also a valuable tourist area with 2 stars. From the information exchanges at the meeting with Michelin, I realized the missing link to receive one more star for Kumano: to establish better infrastructure and information to receive tourists from foreign countries…

Selectour FAM visit to Kumano

On November 13th, a Branch Manager from Selectour, based in Paris, visited the Kumano region on a short FAM trip organized and supported by the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau. She was very interested in Kumano as an off the beaten path destination for clients looking to experience the culture of Japan.

It was a busy day visiting sites along the Nakahechi section of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route and Hongu area. The onsen (hot springs) close to the Kumano Hongu Taisha were a highlight of the visit, including Kawayu Onsen and Yunomine Onsen.

Thank you Selectour for visiting Tanabe City and we are looking forward to working with you in the future.

Kumano Kodo Wins Yomiuri Travel Itinerary Award

As part of its 135th anniversary celebrations, the Daily Yomiuri Newspaper invited readers to submit travel plans incorporating at least one of the 100 Landscapes of Heisei sites. This travel contest, run by the Yomiuri Shimbun, was called the "35 Routes on the Islands of Four Seasons." There were a total of 533 travel plans received from readers aged 11 to 88. 10 Merit Awards and 24 Selected Works were chosen along with the grand winner.
“Visiting the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Route and 3 Grand Shrines” by Brad Towle, (theTanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau’s International Tourism Promotion and Development Director) was chosen as one of the top itineraries and received one of the prestigious Merit Awards. Large thanks for the translation goes out to Eiyo Noriko and Urano Yasuyuki. “I was thrilled to hear the news that the Kumano Kodo and the Grand Shrines of Kumano tour itinerary was chosen as one of the top destinations for people to rediscover Japan. The Kumano region is natural…

Kansai Media Forum 2009

On November 11th, Brad Towle, from the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau, was a panellist at the 15th annual Kansai Media Forum 2009 which was held at the Osaka International House Foundation, which was also a sponsor. Other sponsors of the Media forum are KIPPO and the Kansai Press Club.
This year the theme was 日本の文化“再発見”(Rediscovering Japanese Culture). There were four panellists, all foreigners with a unique insight and experience of Japanese Culture. In addition to the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau’s International Tourism & Promotion Director, there were experts from the fields of Manga, Japanese Cuisine & the instrument Biwa.
It was a lively panel discussion, with a good balance of the serious issue of preserving Japanese culture and the Kansai tradition of playful joking.
Thank you very much to the organizers for including the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau in this worthwhile event.

Event leaflet >>

Media coverage >>

Kansai Window website, summary in English…

Press Tour: Chris Rowthorn

From November 8th to 10th Chris Rowthorn, freelance writer and editor of Lonely Planet’s Japan guide book, joined our press tour of Tanabe City (sponsored by theTanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau).Our first stop was lunch at Ginchiro restaurant close to the Kii-Tanabe Station, which is part of ourgourmet map project. We visited the Kishu Binchotan charcoal memorial museum after lunch. The autumn leaves were in full colour in theRyujin Onsen area, so we headed to the Ryujin Koya skyline highway, which links Koyasan with Ryujin. We were rewarded for our efforts with a panoramic view of the mountains in the soft evening light. A good soak at Marui Ryokan in Ryujin finished of the day.Day 2 took us to Hongu. We inspected a few sites along the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route focusing on shrines, trailheads and places to stay. Some of the sites we visited were Takijiri-oji, Takahara, Chikatsuyu and Nonaka-no-Ipposugi. We made a brief stop at the new Kumano Hongu Heritage Center in Hongu. …

Shanghai Media Press Trip

On November 3rd and 4th, three journalists from Shanghai newspapers visited the area to cover tourism sites in Wakayama Prefecture. The Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau and Wakayama Prefectural officials supported their trip.
We began the tour of the area with an introductory visit to theKumano Hongu Heritage Center. There were impressed with the rich contents of exhibitions which are written in both English and Japanese. A very informative lecture by a local guide was very well received by the journalists. Afterwards we visited the World Heritage Kumano Hongu Taishawhere a Shinto priest discussed the history of the shrine and etiquette of paying homage. It is usually prohibited to take photos inside the shrine compounds, but special permission was given for this occasion.
We stayed at a Japanese traditional Ryokan in Kawayu Onsenand enjoyed a delicious Japanese dinner.On the second day of the tour we went to hot springs “Onsen” in Hongu area. One was the natural outside hot spring …

Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Kohechi Route Survey Hike

The Kumano Kodo pilgrimage“Kohechi route” survey hike was held for 4 days from October 28th, as a part of the bilateral Kumano Kodo promotion project between Tanabe city and Totsukawa-mura village of Nara prefecture. The goal of this project was to experience firsthand the pilgrimage route and assess the infrastructure along the way.

The Kohechi route is located in the middle of the Kii peninsula and connects Koyasan and Kumano Hongu Taisha. It is approximately 70 kilometers long and runs over three challenging high mountainous passes of ~1000 meters in elevation. It is not a technical route but is a demanding walk and should be only attempted by those with experience walking in a mountainous environment.We started from Kongoubuchi temple in Koyasan and walked 56kms through Nosegawa-mura village, Totsukawa-mura village onto our final destination, Kumano Hongu Taisha. After walking this demanding route we were able to recharge during the evening with Onsen and delicious meals made with …

Press Tour: Melanie Ball

During the last week of October, Melanie Ball, a freelance travel writer from Australia, visited the Koya and Kumano region as a member of the Japan Holidays Kumano Pilgrimage Trail tour.This was the first tour run by the Australian company along this section of the Kumano Pilgrimage and the response was very positive. Melanie joined the tour throughout, only separating slightly to cover aspects of the Kumano area slightly off of the itinerary. The Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureausupported Japan Holidays in the developmental stages of the tour, as well as Melanie Ball during the trip.A definite highlight for everyone was the behind the scenes tour and mini concert at the club house of OkuKumano Daiko (Japanese drum group in Hongu) where everyone was able to experience playing these dynamic instruments.