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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 bureau is now considering helping organize tours for these travelers, and its approach has attracted the attention of the tourism industry and the central government's Japan Tourism Agency.

The Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes straddling Wakayama, Nara and Mie prefectures were listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 2004 along with the sacred sites in Kii Peninsula such as Koyasan and Kumano Sanzan, both in Wakayama Prefecture.

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NEW Ise-Kumano-Wakayama Area Tourist Pass

NEW Ise-Kumano-Wakayama Area Tourist Pass
This is an easy way to do a loop of the Kii Peninsula.

From July 15, 2016 (Friday)
PRICE Adult 11,000 yen Children 5,500 yen (Children 6 to 11 years old)
NOTE: This pass is not available for purchase in Japan.
VALIDITY PERIOD Five consecutive days
AREA ●JR conventional lines: Nagoya-Shingu-within Osaka City (via lse Tetsudo Line or Kameyama, via Kisei Main Line/Hanwa Line) ●Nagoya-Kameyama-Nara-within Osaka City (via Kansai Main Line) Taki Toba (Sangu Line) ●Kansai International Airport-Hineno (Kansai Airport Line) ●Bus routes for accessing Kumano Kodo, Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Nachi Taisha (Only Kumano Kotsu Bus); and Select bus routes
TRAIN TYPES ●Unlimited use of non-reserved seats on ordinary cars on all JR conventional line trains in the subject section. ●Reserved seats can be used up to four times on ordinary cars of limited express and rapid trains. ●Only non-reserved seats can be used on the limited express "Haruka' between the Kansai Inte…