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Showing posts from 2011

Everett Brown Photo Shoot

Dec 27. 2011 Everett Brown Photo Shoot

Everett Brown, Regional Chief Photographer of the European pressphoto agency, visited Kumano for 2 weeks shooting photos for an upcoming book about the area.  The Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau supported him during his visit.
He uses a camera from the Meiji era with glass plate negatives.  It takes about 30 to 40 minutes to produce one images.  
His goal is to produce timeless images that reflect the timeless traditions of Kumano's sacred mountains.

Pictures were taken along the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage route, Kumano Hongu Taisha and Kumano Nachi Taisha

He is planning to return to the area in the future to continue this interesting project.

We are looking forward to seeing the results of this painstaking process.

Shirahama Kanko Taxi has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Shirahama Kanko Taxi has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Shirahama Kanko Taxi is a transportation company that covers the southern portion of the Kii Peninsula plus Koyasan.  It is based in the Tanabe and Shirahama area.  They have normal taxis as well as Jumbo taxis.

Below are set plans but we can arrange charter service to any destination.  The Jumbo Taxi charter service is excellent for those wanting to see the region smoothly and efficiently without the restrictions of public transport or the responsibility of rental cars.  Please contact us for more information.

Shirahama Kanko Taxi reservations >>
About Kumano Travel >>

Minshuku Kobuchi has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Minshuku Kobuchi has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Minshuku Kobuchi is a small family run guesthouse on the west side of Kawayu Onsen.  It is lovingly decorated and radiates a warm feeling when stepping into the entrance foyer.  They have a selection of CDs and often have soft music playing in the background.  The family’s daughter wants female travelers to feel comfortable and welcome. The food is healthy and delicious.  The bath has its own onsen source supplying a constant flow of hot spring water.

Minshuku Kobuchi reservations >>
About Kumano Travel >>

Akitsuno Garuten has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Akitsuno Garuten has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Akitsuno Gartuen is a green tourism complex inland a few kilometers from Tanabe City.  It includes a refurbished two story wooden elementary school, accommodation, and restaurant.  The surrounding agricultural area is home to expansive orange and ume orchards. Akitsuno Garten has become a center for many experience programs with a focus on the agricultural culture of the area.  The restaurant serves a buffet of local dishes made from regional products.  The courtyard is a lovely green space great for relaxing.

Akitsuno Garuten reservations >>
About Kumano Travel >>

Kawayu Matsuya has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Kawayu Matsuya has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Kawayu Matsuya is a practical, simple business hotel associated with Kawayu Midoriya Hotel.  The rooms are western style and elevated Japanese style platform with futon.  There is a hot spring bath in the hotel, but guests can also use the bathing facilities at Kawayu Midoriya for no extra charge.  The outdoor baths at Kawayu Midoriya are set in the river bank. Meals are served at Kawayu Midoriya in the basement floor which features large windows looking onto the river.  Guest rooms look onto the Oto river. Guests can also use the Kumano Kodo run by Kawayu Midoriya.

Kawayu Matsuya reservations >>
About Kumano Travel >>

Kumano Kodo Preservation Walking Tours

In the beginning of September 2011 Typhoon Talas hit the Kii Peninsula.  There were heavy rains which damages some of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route.

The Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau, Tanabe City government, Wakayama World Heritage Center, and local accommodations teamed together to make Kumano Kodo preservation volunteer tours.

Four tours were held: November 12, 19, 26 and December 3.
166 participants from near and far joined. 
It was a great success and we sincerely thank all those that volunteered their time to help us fix our culture heritage.

Deluxe Tour Package & Local Specialty Products Draw

Deluxe Tour Package & Local Specialty Products Draw
Tanabe City is holding a draw for 16 deluxe tour packages for two (value ~100,000 yen) and 400 sets of local specialty products (value ~6,000 yen) including Mikan oranges and Ume based foodstuffs.

Eligible participants must have stayed overnight at an accommodation in the Tanabe City area between Thursday, December 1, 2011 ~ Saturday, March 31, 2012.

Entry Deadline
Friday, April 6, 2012
Draw Date
The beginning of April, 2012
Mailing of Prizes
The middle of April, 2012
Deluxe tour prizes can be organized to the convenience of winners.
How to Enter
Fill out the postcard attached to the campaign leaflet, receive a stamp from the accommodation where you stayed, attach a 50 yen postage stamp, and put it in the mail. Campaign leaflets are available at accommodations.

Postcards without stamps by accommodations will not be accepted.
Local specialty products can only be mailed to Japanese addresses.

30,000 yen Travel Coupon Draw for 200 people

30,000 yen Travel Coupon Draw for 200 people

Tanabe City is holding an online draw for 200 travel coupons worth a value of 30,000 yen each.

These travel coupon can be used to purchase accommodations, tours and activities, or travel services in the Tanabe City area from the KUMANO TRAVEL reservation site.
Anyone can enter!

Please Note: services and products outside of Tanabe City are not available for this campaign.

KUMANO TRAVEL Reservation System >>

Entry Deadline
Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Draw Date
The beginning of January, 2012
Mailing of Coupons
The middle of January, 2012

Coupon Availability Period
January 16, 2012 ~ April 15, 2012

How to Enter
Enter online here!
Hint: The answer to the Quiz is "Tanabe". Please include this in the form.

Experience Kumano: Farm Stay, Onsen & Kumano Kodo Walking Tour (Jan 27~29, 2012) Special Price, only 10,000 yen!

Experience Kumano: Farm Stay, Onsen & Kumano Kodo Walking Tour (Jan 27~29, 2012) Special Price, only 10,000 yen!


Experience the agricultural and spiritual culture of the Kumano region in the south of the Kii-Hanto peninsula.  This two night, three day tour from Osaka is an excellent introduction to the region, including an immersive farm stay with a local family, a stay at traditional Ryokan inn with unique river hot spring, and a walk on the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route.  Please join us for this inexpensive, unique tour!

This is monitor tour partially sponsored by the Japanese Government.  It is only open to non-Japanese guests and participants will be asked to fill in a questionnaire at the end of the trip.

Tour Date: Friday, January 27 to Sunday, January 29, 2012 (2 nights, 3 days)
Price: 10,000 yen !
Sign-up Period: From mid November
Number of Guests: maximum 15, Please note that if there is a large amount of guests apply for this tour, not everyone will be accept.  Than…

Travel Agencies from China visit Wakayama

On October 27th, 6 travel agencies from Guangdong, China were invited for the international event for travel agencies at the Royal Pines Hotel in Wakayama City sponsored by Nara and Wakayama prefectures.

16 Japanese agencies including the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau were in attendance. 

The Chinese market is shifting from group tour towards FIT travel with the restrictions of visas for Chinese tourists.  Wakayama prefecture has many attractive tourism possibilities including world heritage, Onsens, and local foods.

We were happy to meet these new travel agencies and with them success in their new tourism vision.

Marui Ryokan - Kumano Kodo Free Shuttle Service

The lovely Marui Ryokan in Ryujin Onsen has started a limited time only Free Kumano Kodo shuttle service.
Price Plan: Free Limited Time Kodo Kumano (Takijiri-oji) Shuttle, Supper & Breakfast

This plan is perfect for those wanting to visit Koyasan and walk the Kumano Kodo, with a night to enjoy Ryujin Onsen’s silky smooth hot springs on the way.  Busses run from Koyasan to right in front of the Ryokan. (bus timetable 7)  There is no direct public transit from Ryujin Onsen to Takijiri-oji, a popular trail route of the Kumano Kodo. 

Normally guests need to go to Tanabe on the coast and then change busses to head back into the mountains to Takijiri-oji, which makes this shuttle service extremely popular with walkers.  Please visit the Kumano Kodo Nakahechi Route Guide for more information on the pilgrimage route.

● Free shuttle to Takijiri-oji (~30 min drive), shuttle leaves at 8:00 am
● Valid until December 22, 2011
● Available Weekdays and Sundays
● 1 group per day (2~7 guests)
● I…

Kumano featured in the Sydney Morning Herald

Voices | Visitors Interview October 19, 2011

Nationality: American
Date questionnaire was written: October 19th, 2011

Q. Where did you go during your holiday to Japan?
A. Kyoto, Nara, Koyasan, Ryujin Onsen, Kawayu Onsen, Kumano Kodo (Hongu Taisha), Shirahama and Osaka.

Q. Why did you choose to visit the Kii-Hanto peninsula?
A. I read about the area and loved the depth of history, cultural significance and natural beauty it promised. I felt our group would gain a greater understanding of the Japanese arts and culture with a glimpse of an area rooted in its history far removed from the busting modern cities.

Q. Your visit was one month after the Typhoon Talas.  Did you feel like the area was safe for visitors?  Any other comments on the situation?
A. We felt very safe traveling around the region. We saw ruminants of the typhoon damage but what amazed us all was how quickly everything had been restored so businesses could function as normal again. We came away with great admiration for the Japanese people and their indomitable spir…

Kumano featured in the Guardian

"Japan's magical landscapes: there's noh place like it" By Tom Yarwood Published by: The Guardian

Beginning of article:
Noh is Japan's classical theatre, a living medieval tradition that has had many illustrious modern fans, from Yeats and Brecht to Britten and Kurosawa. It's the kind of thing one ought to know more about, and doubtless would if the words "medieval" and "tradition" did not instil ghastly foreboding. I finally overcame my resistance to it while working for Scottish Opera in Glasgow, when my curiosity about Japanese drama was piqued by a Zen-inspired piece we were producing.
Turns out Yeats and Britten knew best. I felt bashful about my former scepticism and, stirred by the poetry of the plays and their deep sense of place, decided to go to Japan to see them on stage. My favourite play, Matsukaze, conjures its setting, Suma beach, in moody autumnal images – the wind whistling above the shore, the silvery reflection of the moon in…

Kumano featured in the Focus Online

Kumano Kodo featured in Time magazine

"Divine Path: The Kumano Kodo Links Shrines, Hot Springs and Scenery" By C. James Dale Published by: Time Magazine
Beginning of article:
Fresh from a long hike through the lush hills and valleys of Japan's southwestern Kii Peninsula, Shugendo monks stand in their mud-splashed boots in front of the thatched-roof pavilions of the Kumano Hongu Taisha. Some chant and pray, others blow conch shells. The monks, whose spirituality mixes Shintoism, Buddhism, Taoism and animism, have arrived to worship after navigating the Kumano Kodo — a network of well-marked and well-maintained trails that winds through forests, fields, towns and villages nearly 600 km from Tokyo. It's a journey religious figures, royalty and regular folk have been making since the Heian period (794-1192).

The Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes and the sacred sites they connect have attracted more attention since making the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2004, taking their place alongside Spain's Camino de Santia…

Tanabe City Visits Santiago

On September 26th and 27th the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau and the Wakayama Prefecture Government visited the city of Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

The Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau and Turismo de Santiago de Compostela have been working together during joint promotion since 2008.  The Kumano Kodo and the Way of St. James are the only two pilgrimage routes registered as UNESCO World Heritage sites. 

During this trip we met with officials from the Galicia Government and the City of Santiago de Compostela. 

We are working towards creating joint posters and panels highlighting these two sacred routes, which was the focus of this trip.

Thank you very much for the always hospitable welcome from the City of Santiago de Compostela and we are looking forward to hosting a visit from you again in the near future.

Joint Promotion site:

Wakayama Prefecture at Top Resa

Wakayama Prefecture, Nara, Osaka and Kansai International Airport were a joint delegation in the Japan booth at the Top Resa in Paris, France from September 20th to 23rd.  The Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau was a member of this group.
There was much interest in the Kansai area of Japan including the isolated sacred sites of Koyasan and Kumano, two popular sites for French visitors to Japan.

What is IFTM Top Resa?
IFTM Top Resa is France’s international travel and tourism trade fair. The industry’s leading event for networking, doing business, innovating and keeping abreast of market developments, the exhibition offers a 360° panorama of the travel industry, covering all sectors: leisure, business and events.

Spanish Journalist Press Tour in Kumano

For four days starting from September 2, a Journalist from the Spanish Newspaper El Mundo visited the Kumano region for a press tour.

The Kumano Kodo and Way of St. James are the only two pilgrimage routes registered as UNESCO World Heritage. 
The Kumano Kodo has become very popular with not only the Spanish but also many European countries including France, Germany, and England.
This press tour was a joint venture by the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau and the Wakayama Prefecture government.  JNTO also helped organize this tour.

Toronto Star features Kumano

"A journey to Japan`s deep woods" by C. James Dale Published by the Toronto Star Print and Web Sept 2, 2011

Beginning of article: TANABE CITY, JAPAN—We could hear the haunting cry of the conch as we trudged up the long, stone staircase. Once we arrived at the sombre, thatched-roof pavilions that form the heart of the Kumano Hongu Taisha, one of the Grand Shrines that draws the faithful and the curious to this part of Japan, we discovered the source of the sound. A group of Shugendo monks — whose spirituality mixes Shintoism, Buddhism, Taoism, and animism — had recently arrived to worship after a trek through the lush hills and valleys of the Kii Peninsula in Wakayama prefecture.
“You can tell from the mud on their boots they’ve spent the last little while hiking in the woods,” said Brad Towle, a Canadian who works for a local tourism bureau and is tasked with luring international travellers here.
The monks, their robes accented with fur and beads and tiny black hats, prayed, chant…

Hotel Seamore has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Hotel Seamore has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Hotel Seamore is one of the main hotels in the Shirahama resort town.  It is located to the south of the Shirarahama beach, famous for its white sand.  The hotel is positioned on a cliff overlooking the ocean allowing for expansive, scenic views from the hot spring baths, restaurant, and many rooms.  The sunsets here are known as some of the best in Japan.  There are a diversity of rooms including Japanese, Western and mixed styles.  The outdoor baths feature large barrels that were used for pickling Japanese ume apricots, some of which are over 100 years old.  Hotel Seamore is referred to as "Umedaru Onsen" or "Ume barrel hot spring" because of this. Soaking in one of these authentic and unique onsen baths is a highlight for many visitors.   Meals include high quality seafood such as the "Kue" fish (longtooth grouper), a local delicacy.

Hotel Seamore reservations >> About Kumano Travel >>

Iseya has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Iseya  has joined the Kumano Travel community!                 

Iseya is closed from the end of 2011.

Iseya Ryokan is in the center of Yunomine Onsen featuring steamy thermal baths and decorated with seasonal flower arrangements.  These Ikebana art works are prepared by the Okami landlady who collects flowers from the surrounding mountains.  Because of this Iseya Ryokan is often referred to as "Hana ya Ki no Yado" or "Flower and Tree Inn".  Iseya Ryokan is a long-standing lodging established in 1772 and was totally remodeled in 1991.  The dining area features "Horigotatsu" style seating with sunken areas beneath the tables for comfortable leg room.

Iseya reservations >>
About Kumano Travel >>

Kumano featured in "Essence of Japan" Newsletter

Organization of Kansai Unity, Newsletter “Experience, the Essence of Japan” Vol.21 (2011/8/03)
This newsletter introduces various tourist attractions in the Kansai region of Japan, including information related to history, culture, nature, latest shopping trends and entertainment.
Contents: 1. Kansai's sightseeing spots recommended by foreigners living in Kansai: Introduction to Kumano Kodo (ancient pilgrimage routes) in Wakayama and local features.

☆ Kansai's sightseeing spots recommended by foreigners living in Kansai
Sightseeing spots introduced in this issue are recommended by Brad Towle, the International Tourism and Promotion Director for the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau in Wakayama Prefecture.  Originally from Canada, Brad has been living and working in the area for over 10 years.
◇ Ancient Kumano Region
Kumano is an ancient name for the southern portion of the Kii Peninsula.  It is a mountainous region with a rugged coastline, crisscrossed with historic pilgrimage rout…

Directours agent FAM trip

From August 2~6 the French travel company Directours toured Wakayama Prefecture including Koyasan and Kumano.  This tour was sponsored and supported by the Wakayama Prefectural Government and the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau.

Koyasan is a Buddhist community in the northern mountains of Wakayama and very popular with French visitors.  Recently the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes were featured in the newly published Michelin Green Guide to Japan receiving the top rating of three stars, making it a must see for French visitors to Japan.  Also featured in this prestigious guide book are Yunomine Onsen, Katsuura Onsen, and Totsukawa Onsen.

Directours is very interested in introducing these isolated sacred sites and hot springs in the Kumano region.

We hope that Directours enjoyed their FAM trip to the area and have now more of an idea of the possibilities of what the region has to offer to French visitors looking for the spiritual origins of Japan.

Hiraizumi and Kumano joint promotion meeting

On June 25, 2011 the Temple of Hiraizumi was registered on the UNESCO World Heritage list.  

The cities of Hiraizumi and Tanabe are sister cities based on the legendary warrior monk Mukashibo Benkei.  Benkei was born in Tanabe, and Hiraizumi was where he died protecting his master, Yoshitsune.

Now with both cities featuring World Heritage sites, new similarities and opportunities to work together have emerged.  Tanabe features sections of the “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes of the Kii Mountain Range”.

To congratulate and support Hiraizumi and the Tohoku region, a delegation from Tanabe City, including staff of the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau, visited the area from August 1 to 3.

We met with the Mayor and staff of the Tourism Promotion section of Hiraizumi city hall to discuss many subjects, including the changes caused by World Heritage designation, and the responsibilities of balancing tourism with preservation.

Tanabe City has been widely featured in domestic media for its uniq…