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 the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau).
Our first stop was lunch at Ginchiro restaurant close to the Kii-Tanabe Station, which is part of our gourmet map project. We visited the Kishu Binchotan charcoal memorial museum after lunch.
The autumn leaves were in full colour in the Ryujin 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. Chris was impressed with the amount of good quality English information available about the region. Before walking the Dainichi-goe section of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes to Yunomine Onsen, we did an inspection of the new Blue Sky Guesthouse. That night we stayed at Minshuku Yamane. Both Blue Sky Guesthouse and Minshuku Yamane were well received, and according to Chris, very good candidates to be included in future publications.
It was a little rainy on day three, but we managed to complete our walk on the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route, Hosshinmon-oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha section. We had a quick lunch at Café Hongu B&B before returning to Kii-Tanabe station so Chris could catch the train back to Kyoto.
Before boarding the train, Chris said that he was very impressed with the region and wished that more places in Japan would put in systems for international travellers like Tanabe City.
Thank you Chris for joining our Press Tour. For more information about Chris Rowthorn and his life in Japan, please visit his site Chris Rowthorn Tours.