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 unique tourism initiatives, especially concerning inbound tourism. The Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau offered to support and consult Hiraizumi in this regard.
Future possibilities for joint promotion projects were also discussed.
Congratulations to Hiraizumi and thank you for the wonderful hospitality showed to us.