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Showing posts from February, 2010

Rough Guide visits Kumano

From February 7th to 10th, Sally McLaren, freelance writer and contributor to the Rough Guide Japan, and photographer joined a press tour sponsored by the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau.  Currently Kumano is not mentioned in the guide book but is planned to be introduced the next edition as a newly discovered off-the-beaten-path destination for those interested in Japanese culture and nature. 

We visited multiple places throughout the duration of the tour included an Izakaya Japanese pub in Tanabe, sites along the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route, Ryujin Onsen, Yunomine Onsen, Kawayu Onsen, Kumano Hongu Taisha and the Kumano Hongu Heritage Center.  The tour also visited the other two grand shrines of Kumano: Kumano Hayatama Taisha and Kumano Nachi Taisha. The ume blossoms in Tanabe were in full bloom and provided a great chance for some photos.
We covered a lot of ground and we are glad that we had the chance to meet Sally and introduce her to the region.  

Sally Mclaren's Kansai Eye…

Daily Yomiuri Online features Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau

Daily Yomiuri Online Kansai & West - Ways of making the world feel welcome
Story by Hiroko Ihara
February 4th, 2010

TANABE, Wakayama--Canadian Brad Towle is working to improve local hospitality for foreign tourists visiting Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes by promoting the use of English among local tourism-related businesses.

Towle, 35, an employee of the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau in Tanabe, Wakayama Prefecture, has offered training in foreign guest hospitality to workers of local inns, restaurants, bus companies and shrines.

He has given them English menus and lists of simple sentences handy for talking to foreign visitors, based on the belief that improving hospitality is a key to boosting local tourism.

"If tourists come before you're ready to accept them, they might leave with a bad impression, and they won't come again," Towle said in Japanese. "They might also share their disappointment on the Internet, and we want to avoid that."

The bure…

JNTO Germany Press Tour in Kumano

On February 6th and 7th, six journalists from Germany representing a variety of media including newspapers, magazines and radio visited the Kumano region on a JNTO press tour.

The tour spent one day exploring the sites and shrines along the Nakahechi section of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route including Takijri-oji, Tsugizakura-oji (and the giant cedar trees), Kumano Hongu Heritage Center, and the Kumano Hongu Taisha.  After having lunch at a nearby Michi-no-Eki rest stop, we spent the afternoon walking the pilgrimage route from Hosshinmon-oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha.  On the way to our accommodations at Kawayu Onsen, we made a brief stop at Yunomine Onsen.  The journalists commented that the “sennin-buro” hot spring bath in the Oto River at Kawayu Onsen was a definite highlight of their trip to Japan.
The second day we visited the Kumano Hayatama Taisha and the Kumano Nachi Taisha, including a visit to Seiganto-ji Temple and the Nachi falls.  The group returned to Osaka by train after e…

Hong Kong media FAM trip in Hongu

On February 1st, two journalists from Hong Kong newspapers and their interpreters visited the Hongu area of Tanabe city. The Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau and Wakayama Prefectural officials supported their trip.

The journalists that visited were from major publishing companies in Hong Kong, “東方日報 Oriental Daily News” and “頭條日報Headline Daily”.
They focused their coverage on the hot spring areas such as Yunomine Onsen and Kawayu Onsen
They visited Yunomine Onsen, which is the site of the Tsuboyu bath, the only hot spring that you can bath in that is registered as UNESCO World Heritage.  They also boiled eggs in the public hot spring basin located in the center of the village.
At Kawayu Onsen they filmed a large natural outside bath called “Sennin buro” which is made in the OtoRiver that runs through the community. Fujiya Ryokan, a long-established Japanese-style inn, allowed us access of the inside bath and made traditional Japanese cuisine as well.
Although it was rainy, the particip…

Shandong Province Tourism Bureau visits Tanabe

On January 29th, 2010, 26 participants from the Travel and Tourism Bureau in Shandong Province Government, media and travel agents from China, visited WakayamaPrefecture for promotion and inspection purposes. The Tanabe City Tourism Bureau and Wakayama Prefectural officials supported their visit to the Kumano Hongu Heritage Center and the Kumano Hongu Taisha.

First, we began the tour of the area with an introduction of the KumanoHonguHeritageCenter by its director. A local guide spoke about the UNESCO World Heritage Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes and then a question-and-answer session took place.
The chief priest in Kumano Hongu Taisha spoke briefly. Participants said that they were deeply impressed by the special appearance and peaceful atmosphere of the grand shrine.

We would like to thank the ShandongProvince Government for taking the time to visit our area, and we hope that they will be able to return someday soon.