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Showing posts from July, 2011

Ogigahama Beach attracts summer visitors

Wakayama Prefecture is known locally for its rugged coast line pocketed with beaches.  The Shirarahama beach is the most well known, with its beautiful white sand and diversity of resort hotels.  




The Ogigahama beach in Tanabe also draws visitors, especially those looking for a smaller, quieter setting.  It is a short 10 minute walk from JR Kii-Tanabe station and has good change and shower facilities.  Parking is close and cheap as well.


During the summer months a beach house, which serves drinks and simple foods, is open.  Enjoying a drink while taking in the sunset is a fun and relaxing way to spend a summer evening in Tanabe.


If you are in Tanabe, for example, on your way to the hot springs in Hongu, or the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes, a refreshing swim at Ogigahama is an excellent option to make the most of summer in Japan.

Flight Center Canada FAM in Kumano

From July 23 to 24, 11 staff from Flight Center Canada toured the spiritual Kumano region during a FAM trip sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism and JNTO Toronto office.  The Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau supported this tour.




The participants were a young mix from Toronto and Vancouver.  It was their first time to Japan and all were impressed as Japan being an excellent tourist destination.  The diversity of the larger cities, such as Osaka and Tokyo, and the sacred mountain landscape of Kumano make for a unique cultural holiday.


Many Canadians are looking for an active, immersive holiday and Kumano is perfect for this type of travel according to the participants.  A highlight for the guests was the Kawayu Onsen, were hot spring water bubbles to the surface of the Oto River.  


The Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route is not really hiking per se, as it goes through villages and areas with human influence; it is more like trekking from village to village.  Of course some of the routes feature …

Australia Agent FAM in Kumano 2

From July 20 to 22, 10 travel agents toured the spiritual Kumano region during a FAM trip sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism and JNTO Sydney office.  The Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau supported this tour. This was the second of two tours in the region.




Because of Typhoon 6 the tour was rearranged a few days but after rescheduling the tour visited the area as planned.


The onsen and Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes were the main features of this press tour, including Yunomine Onsen and Kawayu Onsen.   One night was also included at Shirahama Onsen, a beach resort on the west side of the Kii Peninsula.


There was strong interest in the area, especially as an FIT destination for visitors looking for a slow, relaxing cultural immersive trip.  The possibilities for walking tours on the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes was also seen as a great way to incorporate an activity into a holiday. 


We were happy to host this group and hopefully more Australian visitors will be able to experience this lov…

Australia Agent FAM in Kumano 1

From July 14 to 16, 9 travel agents toured the spiritual Kumano region during a FAM trip sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism and JNTO Sydney office.  The Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau supported this tour. This was the first of two tours in the region.




The onsen and Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes were the main features of this press tour, including Yunomine Onsen and Kawayu Onsen.   One night was also included at Shirahama Onsen, a beach resort on the west side of the Kii Peninsula.


We had wonderful weather and many of the participants were eager to send visitors to the region, especially for FIT visitors wanting to experience the spiritual Japanese countryside.


Thank you very much for joining our Agent FAM trip.

Commemorative Symposium in Hongu

United Nations International Year of Forests 2011
Commemorative Symposium in Hongu
Kami and Hotoke: Spirituality and Forests in Japanese Culture
When: July 10th, 2011
Where: Kumano Hongu Heritage Center
Sponsored by: International Shinto Foundation & Shinto Kokusai Gakkai

MC: Mr. Naotada Osaki, Director General, SKG

Presentations by:
Rev. Ietaka Kuki (Chief Priest, Kumano Hongu Taisha)
"Coexistence of Nature and Mankind ~ from the renovated Kumano Hongu Taisha~"

Prof. Max Moerman (Associate Professor, Barnard College, Columbia University)
"Forest of Gods, Forest of Buddhas: The Construction of Religious Landscape at Kumano"

Prof. Katherine Marshall (Executive Director, World Faiths Development Dialoge/Director, ISF)
"Spiritual leadership and respect for nature"

Prof. Michel Thao Chan (Chairman, Cercle de Reflexion des Nations)
"Forest Culture of Divinities: A Convergence of Consciousness"

Kyodo News Interviews the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau

On June 24th 2011, journalists from Kyodo News visited Tanabe and the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes to interview the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau's International Tourism and Promotion Director, Brad Towle.




Kyodo News (共同通信社 Kyōdō Tsūshinsha) is a nonprofit cooperative news agency based in Minato, Tokyo. It was established in November 1945 and it distributes news to almost all newspapers, and radio and television networks in Japan. The newspapers using its news have about 50 million subscribers.




The focus of this visit to Tanabe City is for an article in their famous installment of “Tankyu Nippon-no-Takara”.  The topic of this article will be “Our Treasure: World Heritage Kumano Kodo”.  




During the interview subjects such as the cultural meanings or purposes of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes were discussed. They queried Brad about what brought him to Japan, why he started working at the Tourism Bureau, and his job outline. Also they asked about the Joint promotion project betw…

Air Macau in-flight Magazine features Kumano

"Iron Monks" by Julie Ihle
Air Macau in-flight magazine
June 2011


Kumano's spiritual Yamabushi mountain ascetic culture featured in Air Macau's in-flight magazine.




-Beginning of article-
The Kii Mountains, accessible in under three hours by express train from Osaka, are the spiritual home to a band of Buddhist monks know as the Yamabushi.  These fleet-footed mystics may blend into society, but they escape regularly into the mountains to perform incredible feats of endurance - all in the name of enlightenment.  Their stomping ground is in Wakayama province in the south of Japan's main island, Honshu.  This rugged region, bisected by the Kumano River, is rife with natural wonders and ancient Shinto and Buddhist shrines.  Known as the "The Land of the Gods" to the Japanese, it tends to be overlooked by tourists, but has been home to the Yamabushi for ages.


NOTE: Julie Ihle was a member of a press trip in September 2009 supported by the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism…

Bashukway Travel agent FAM trip

On July 1st and 2nd, Bashukway Travel joined a short agent FAM trip sponsored by the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau.  



Bashukway Travel is a small, family run Australia-based business operating out of Tokyo who specialize in organizing low-impact, small-group, adventurous and "out of the way" trips.


The tour visited sites along the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route, visits to the local Yunomine and Kawayu Onsens, and the Kumano Hongu Heritage Center.  A boat ride on the Kumano-gawa River was also included.  


Bashukway travel believes in responsible tourism and shares many of the same values as our tourism bureau.  We hope that we are able to create a positive partnership to showcase the sacred Kumano region in a sustainable, ethical manner.


Thank you very much Bashukway travel for visiting us here in Tanabe City.