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Showing posts from 2010

Bule Sky Guesthouse has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Bule Sky Guesthouse has joined the Kumano Travel community!   

Blue Sky Guesthouse is a guesthouse tucked into a small valley in the town of Hongu, close to the World Heritage Grand Shrine, Kumano Hongu Taisha.  The young owner, Naoya Yamamoto, always dreamed of owning his own guesthouse.  When he travelled to other countries he received gracious hospitality from many people.  He now wants to give back into the karmic travellers’ cycle and create a place that welcomes visitors to fully experience the area.  Each room has its own bath and toilet.  Visitors also have free access to the kitchen and internet.  For those walking the Kumano Kodo or looking for somewhere to stay for multiple nights, this accommodation is a popular choice.  Families also find the Blue Sky Guesthouse convenient.

Blue Sky Guesthouse reservations >>
About Kumano Travel >>

Fujiya Ryokan has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Fujiya Ryokan has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Fujiya Ryokan is one of the largest accommodations in Kawayu Onsen and is located at the east end of the village.  All but three of the rooms are traditional Japanese style.  The other three are modern western theme rooms based on earth, bamboo and wood respectively, all with private baths on the balcony.  All rooms have a view of the Oto River which flows through the village.  The décor is traditional Japanese with Ikebana and other art throughout the facility.  Hot spring water bubbles to the river surface in front of the hotel.

Fujiya Ryokan reservations >>
About Kumano Travel >>

Kameya Ryokan has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Kameya Ryokan has joined the Kumano Travel community!    

Kameya Ryokan is one of the oldest accommodations in Kawayu Onsen.  The main building was built over 150 years ago and is registered as a National Cultural Asset.   The rooms are older but all have views on to the crystal clear Oto River, which flows through the village.  Kameya Ryokan is run by the Kobuchi family and are well known for their excellent meals.  One of Kameya’s specialties is "Kumano Yakusen Ryori" or "Kumano Medicinal Cuisine", made with fresh, local ingredients, to keep the body, mind and spirit healthy.

Kameya Ryokan reservations >>
About Kumano Travel >>

Minshuku Omuraya has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Minshuku Omuraya has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Minshuku Omuraya is a guesthouse run by the Omuraya family in the middle of the Kawayu Onsen hot spring village.  This friendly accommodation has a welcoming “at home” atmosphere with many repeat visitors.  There are three separate buildings at Minshuku Omuraya, one which allows pets.  Many of the rooms have river views.  Guests are free to use the hot spring baths in the river in front of the establishment.

Minshuku Omuraya reservations >> About Kumano Travel >>

Ryokan Adumaya has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Ryokan Adumaya has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Ryokan Adumaya is one of the main traditional inns in Yunomine Onsen, a hot spring village with over 1800 years of history.  It was founded by a shrine priest in the 18th century.  All of the rooms are classic Japanese style with names such as “sakura” (cherry), “take” (bamboo) and “sugi” (cedar).  The atmospheric inside baths are made of wood with lofty ceilings.  The outdoor baths are made of rock, and situated in an elegant Japanese garden setting.  Ryokan Adumaya prides itself on using 100% hot spring water in all of their meals.

Ryokan Adumaya reservations >> About Kumano Travel >>

Minshuku Yunomine-so has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Minshuku Yunomine-so has joined the Kumano Travel community!
This facility is located a few hundred meters south of the Yunomine Onsen village on a ridge above the Yomuragawa River.  It is a quiet accommodation and serves a variety of different set meals that compliment the seasons.  All of the rooms are Japanese style.  There are both indoor and outdoor baths, each with very good quality water. 

Minshuku Yunomine-so reservations >>
About Kumano Travel >>

Minshuku Adumaya-so has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Minshuku Adumaya-so has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Minshuku Adumaya-so is associated with Ryokan Adumaya and is located at the south end of Yunomine Onsen.  It is a simple accommodation with Japanese style rooms.  Meals are served in the communal dining area.  Guests staying at Minshuku Adumaya-so can use the atmospheric hot spring baths at Ryokan Adumaya, a short walk away.

Minshuku Adumaya-so reservations >>
About Kumano Travel >>

Minshuku Yunotaniso has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Minshuku Yunotaniso has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Yunotani-so Minshuku is run by the Kikuchi family and is located at the upper end of the small hot spring village, Yunomine Onsen.  It is a well-run establishment with a good reputation in Japan and around the world (It is featured in the Lonely Planet Japan guide book).  There are both indoor and outdoor hot spring baths in the minshuku.  They enjoy preparing delicious handmade Japanese food for guests, and take great satisfaction in providing traditional countryside hospitality.

Minshuku Yunotaniso reservations >> About Kumano Travel >>

Minshuku Teruteya has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Minshuku Teruteya has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Minshuku Teruteya is a small guesthouse tucked into the mountain side in the hot spring village of Yunomine Onsen, and is run by the hospitable Fujikawa family.  The meals are lovingly handmade with fresh, local ingredients.  Teruteya is the princess in the legend of Oguri Hangan, who was miraculously healed in the Tsuboyu Bath.  The three guestrooms are located on the second floor and the communal dining room and onsen bath are on the ground floor.  This inn is decorated with handmade crafts and paintings by Mrs. Fujikawa.

Minshuku Teruteya reservations >>
About Kumano Travel >>

Tsuboyu Bath "Single Best Onsen"

In hot water” by Wes Lang Photos by David Kawabata Published by Kansai Scene December, 2010

Wes Lang interviewed David Kawabata, a local onsen enthusiast.  David has chronicled his visits to over 200 hot spring baths and has recently opened a website dedicated to his experiences.
In the article David was asked about his favorite bath: "Probably the single best onsen would have to be Tsuboyu located deep in the Wakayama mountains in the village of Yunomine Onsen.  There is something very special about this place, especially if you can share it with someone you love like I did.  The water leaves your skin feeling as if it was coated in soap.  Afterwards, this bath will leave you feeling better than you could imagine.  I can't wait to go back".
More details about Yunomine Onsen >> Accommodation reservations in Yunomine Onsen >>

Kumano featured in ANA Wingspan Inflight Magazine

Road to Paradise” Story by Eugene Tarshis Photographs by Hans Sautter Published in Wingspan, the inflight magazine of the ANA group December, 2010

Note: Eugene Tarshis and Hans Sautter were participants of a Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau press tour in December, 2009. Previous blog entry >>

Minshuku Atarashiya has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Minshuku Atarashiya has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Minshuku Atarashiya is a small guesthouse located in the Yunomine Onsen hot spring village run by the Wada family.   They serve meals in the guestrooms and have a small private bath.

Minshuku Atarashiya reservations >> About Kumano Travel >>

Minshuku Kuraya has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Minshuku Kuraya has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Minshuku Kuraya is a small guesthouse with over 100 years of history and features traditional Japanese construction. It is located by the creek in the middle of the Yunomine Onsen hot spring village.  Minshuku Kuraya serves local “family” meals and the hot spring bath is open 24 hours.  The communal dining room is surrounded by sliding shoji paper screen doors.  The guestrooms look out onto the village.  For those looking for an authentic guesthouse with Japanese architecture this is a good choice.

Minshuku Kuraya reservations >> About Kumano Travel >>

CLAIR Paris workshop

On October 26th, Lionel Crooson, a freelance journalist based in Paris, made a presentation at one of CLAIR Paris’s seminars. He introduced the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau and their initiatives as a model case on how to positively increase international tourism at a grassroots level.

The theme of workshop was “What to do to attract French tourists to Japan” and a summary document is available on CLAIR Paris’s website (Japanese & French) . PDF file (Japanese) >>
This document introduces the “Tanabe City Gourmet Map” produced by Tanabe Tourist Association, Tanabe Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau.  
Other initiatives of the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau that were mentioned during the seminar were the unique Grassroots Tourism Development Seminars and Communication Workshops, multi-lingual websites and pamphlets, and the background of Brad Towle, our bureau’s International Tourism Promotion and Development Director.

Travel Mart 2010

From November 25 to 26, 2010 the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau participated in Travel Mart 2010 at the Makuhari Messe International Exhibition Hall in Chiba.  The organizers of this event were the Japan Tourism Agency and the Japan National Tourism Organization.

There were hundreds of tour companies from around the world coming as "buyers".  Government agents and companies from all over Japan made up the "sellers".
Our bureau was matched with companies from Europe, Australia, Canada, Taiwan, Korean, and China.  Many of them were interested in the area for clients looking for off-the-beaten path destinations.

Le Monde Newspaper Features Kumano and Koyasan

Invitation a la meditation au mont Koya” by Philippe Mesmer Published by Le Monde Newspaper November 25, 2010
Article available for purchase online >>

Note: The Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau supported this press tour.  View blog entry >>

JNTO Toronto Press Tour - Will Aitken

From November 16th to 19th, 2010 Will Aitken, a travel writer from Montreal Canada, toured Koyasan and Kumano on a tour sponsored by JNTO Toronto and the Japanese Ministry of Tourism.  The Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau supported with the itinerary creation and guiding. 

The weather was excellent throughout the tour.  Highlights were visiting the temple of Koyasan with their Buddhist cuisine, Yunomine Onsen, Kawayu Onsen (with the Sennin-buro bath), walking the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route, boating on the Kumano-gawa River, and visiting the sacred Kumano Sanzan shrines.
Thank you very much to JNTO Toronto, the village of Koyasan, Wakayama Prefectural government, and all the other groups involved that made this tour go so smoothly.

KUMANO TRAVEL - New Online Reservation System

On November 10th, the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau opened a new online reservation system called “KUMANO TRAVEL” in Japanese and English.

It has been four and half years since the establishment our bureau.  Our main initiatives were tourism promotion and grassroots tourism development.  But we found that it was difficult for visitors to make reservations in the area.  So to link this special place with visitors we have started an online reservation system.
This online reservation system is aimed to support independent travelers, small groups and tour agents.  It is the first of its kind for Japan.
We are continually adding new contents to the system.  We are also able to help individuals organize/customize their visit to the area.  Please contact us anytime for more information.
Sustainability and quality are important aspects of this new community-based business.
We look forward to working with people who share our same values and are interested in experiencing this special area of J…

KU Agent FAM trip in Kumano

From November 1 to 3, 2010 the Kansai Unity Agent Familiarization trip visited the sacred Kumano region.  There were three tour agents from France, two from America, and two from Germany.

The tour focused on the "Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range" including the Kumano Sanzan shrines and the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Route.
Sites visited and toured were the Kumano Hongu Heritage Center, Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Hayatama Taisha, and Kumano Nachi Taisha.  The made a brief stop in Yunomine Onsen before staying overnight at the Fujiya Ryokan in Kawayu Onsen.
A boat tour on the Kumano-gawa River was enjoyed by all on the second day of the trip before spending the night at Katsuura Onsen on the coast.
Participants walked on the Daimonzaka section of the Kumano Kodo before heading back to Osaka.
Thank you very much for visiting us here in Kumano.

East Asia and Europe Travel Agents Meeting

On October 28th, the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau participated in a event with travel agencies from East Asia and Europe sponsored by the Organization of Kansai Unity and affiliated Prefectures in the Kansai area.

The business negotiation took place at the Osaka International Convention Center.  37 travel agencies in East Asia and Europe were in attendance. 

Our bureau’s Asian tourism promotion staff promoted the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes, the beautiful Onsens, and the abundant local food in Tanabe City.
Our new community based Kumano Travel destination travel company was also discussed and well received as a great way to make reservations for visitors to Kumano.

Pilgrims Walk Japan's Sacred Trails

Pilgrims Walk Japan's Sacred Trails” by Sue Wallace Published by The Senior Traveller July, 2010

Guardian Newspaper Visits Kumano

From October 18th to 20th, a freelance writer researching an article for the Guardian Newspaper toured Kumano.  The Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau helped with organizing and guiding the tour.

The article will be focused on the Noh drama culture and the trip to Kumano was to gain a appreciation for the sacred mountains and spiritual environment that influenced this ancient art.
A walk on the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route and study session at the Kumano Hongu Taisha was the focus of the tour.  Of course a relaxing night at a traditional Ryokan in Yunomine Onsen was also included.
Thank you for the visit and we are looking forward to the article.

Rekishi Kaido Theme Talk in Osaka

Brad Towle, from the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau, was a guest speaker at the Rekishi Kaido event in Osaka on November 16th. 

The event was focused on the Kumano pilgrimage including a special performance based on the legend of Oguri Hangan and princess Teruteya which is connected with Yunomine Onsen.

The final portion of the event was a theme talk with speakers from Nara Prefecture, Wakayama Prefecture and Mie Prefecture.  Brad was the representative of Wakayama Prefecture and spoke about the initiatives of our bureau and the highlights of visiting theKumano region.
Thank you to Rekishi Kaido for inviting us to be a member of this exciting event.

Hong Kong Media “JAPAN TIME TV” features Tanabe City

On September 25th, “JAPAN TIME TV” (Hong Kong's only Japan sightseeing, culture and leisure information TV program) visited Tanabe City.  They were supported by Wakayama Prefectural officials and the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau.

There were four crew members including one Japanese and one Hong Kong reporter. At the Kumano Hongu Taisha they were impressed by the mysterious atmosphere of the shrine ground.  The tour also visited Yunomine Onsen which is registered as UNESCO World Heritage. In Kawayu Onsen they enjoyed elaborate Japanese cuisine at Fujiya Ryokan.
This TV program will focus on the nature, cuisine and culture of Wakayama and Mie Prefectures. In Wakayama Prefecture, they also visited Wakayama City, Nachi-Katsuura Town and Shirahama town in addition to Tanabe City.
The broadcast date has not yet been determined, but it will be aired in Hong Kong and China. This program is aired on the TV program (亜洲電視WORLD) every Sundays and Fridays, in addition to being broadcasted o…

Daily Yomiuri, Tourist spots do more for foreigner

“Tourist spots do more for foreigner”
Published byDaily Yomiuri
September 29, 2010

The Daily Yomiuri discusses three destinations with different approaches to increase international tourism in their respective regions including the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau.

Online article >>

Best Travel Writing 2010, Inside Kumano Kodo

“Inside Kumano Kodo”by Amy Greimann Carlson Published by Traveler's Tales an imprint of Solas House, Inc. September 21, 2010

Traveler's Tales Best Travel Writing 2010 collection features Inside Kumano Kodo, Amy Greimann Carlson's pilgrimage to Kumano, and her attempts to understand, and input the experience into her daily life.
Note: Amy Greimann Carlson joined of the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau's press tours in January 2009.

Spirit of Japan Travel visit's Tanabe City

September 17 & 18, Japan's Community-based Ecotourism & Cultural Heritage Specialist, Spirit of Japan Travel visited Tanabe City to research for a new tour in the area.

They are looking for authentic experienced based activities and believe that this area is rich with potential.
The Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau shares similar philosophies about community based sustainable tourism and hope that Spirit of Japan Travel will enable future visitors to capture the essence of the region during their stay here.

JNTO LAX features Kumano

Journey to the Spiritual Roots of Japan”by Brad Towle Published by JNTO LAX Sept 2nd, 2010

This article is one of five in the series "Five Voices, Five Journeys" to introduce off-the-beaten-path destinations.

The Daily Mainichi News features Kumano

Traveling the ancient roads of Kumano”by Richard Dewey Published by Mainichi Japan August 28th, 2010

French Media Press Tour in Kumano

A correspondent from Le Monde and a freelance photographer based in Tokyo visited the Kumano region from August 24 to 26, to research for upcoming articles.  The Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau supported the tour in the Hongu area.
The press tour focused on the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes and the Kumano Sanzan.  It included a short walk on the pilgrimage route from Hosshinmon-oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha, staying overnight at Yunomine Onsen, a visit to Kawayu Onsen, and a tour of the Kumano Hongu Heritage Center.
The tour went very smoothly and we hope that it was a productive and enjoyable trip for the journalists involved.

Hot Spring Awakening – Australian Doctor

Hot Spring Awakening”by Melanie Ball Published by Australian Doctor August 6th, 2010
A pilgrimage through Japan’s mountainous Kii Peninsula is made a little less arduous by immersing in hot springs.

Note: Melanie Ball visited Kumano with the Japan Holidays tour in November 2009.

Tanabe City and Totsukawa-mura Village Press Tour

On July 29th and 30th, Tanabe City and Totsukawa-mura Village held a press tour for 10 Japanese medias outlets (11 people). City tourism officials from both Tanabe City and Tosukawa-mura Village, along with the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau’s staff supported this tour.
The theme of this press tour was "Cool and relaxing Kumano Travel". The tour included a Dorokyo Gorge Boat Tour in the Yoshino-Kumano National Park region of Totsukawa-mura Village. It was rainy weather, but the gorge was full of mist which added a eerie atmosphere.

For supper we ate “Kumano’s Medicinal Yakuzen Cuisine” in Kameya Ryokan,a long-established Japanese-style inn at Kawayu Onsen. We stayed overnight at Kawayu Midoriya Hotel and had an onsen bath experience in the river to release stress and tiredness.
On the second day, the tour included a walk from Fushiogami-oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha Grand Shrine along the Nakahechi section of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes. On the way, we had a “Wood bed, f…