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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 spirit.

Q. Did you have any problems in relation to the situation caused by the March 11, 2011 earthquake in the Northeast of Japan?
A. No.

Q. What were the highlights of your trip?
A. The grand welcome we got at Kawayu Onsen and Hongu Taisha and getting a close up view of life around our guide’s family temple in Tanabe city. A memorable experience making the front page of the national newspaper and being on regional television! The romantic outdoor Onsens were sheer luxury for both body and soul. We came away refreshed, relaxed and rejuvenated for experiencing life to its fullest.

Q. Did you walk on the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route and was it a good experience?
A. We walked about seven kilometres of the pilgrimage route. The walking was easy, the scenery lovely and the people so welcoming. We would have loved to walk longer on the pilgrimage routes.

Q. Were the accommodations and meals satisfactory?
A. The comfort, warmth and graciousness of each establishment were unique. The meals were a feast for the eyes and the palate. The colours, texture and display of every course was an art from in itself.

Q. How was the service of your local English speaking guide?
A. The kindness and helpfulness of the guide was impeccable. She was patient and diligent in tending to each of our needs. If she did not have an answer to a question, she called around till she did have an answer for us. She was most gracious in introducing us to her friends and family and easing our way around every situation.

Q. Did the services of the local Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau help you make the most of your trip?
A. We could not have had a more fulfilling and eventual trip as the one put together for us by the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau. We cannot sing your praises loud enough! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Q. What kind of people do you think would enjoy a journey to Koyasan and Kumano?
A. Young and old with an interest in the rich arts and culture of Japan, people interested in natural beauty and the uplift that the outdoors gives and people with an abiding connection to the spiritual world and the meditative path.

Q. Would you recommend others to visit Koyasan and Kumano?
A. Definitely! A restful cleansing of body and soul!

Q. Do you have any tips or suggestions for those planning a trip to the region?
A. Travel light and absorb everything the region has to offer. Go Japanese style all the way!

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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…