Text: Adam Miller
Published by: Tokyo Weekender
Rich with pilgrimage sites, natural hot springs, beautiful scenery, ancient walking routes and the friendliest locals you will ever meet, for those fascinated by Japan’s traditional side, the sacred area of Kumano is a must visit.
Kumano has been a well-known retreat amongst Japanese people for centuries. Over the past few years it has become more and more accessible, in turn gaining popularity amongst foreigners, too.
A sharp increase in the number of English speakers is no doubt due to the hard work of the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau and their man in the field, Brad Towle.
Having come to the area over a decade ago, Towle’s story is a familiar one to many foreigners in Japan, starting his life in Japan by teaching at public schools in the area. After moving back to his native Canada, Brad combined his interests in the outdoors and Japanese culture by guiding Japanese visitors on wilderness trips.
It was whilst living the outdoor life that Towle received the call that was to lead him back to Japan, to head up the newly-reorganized Tourism Bureau, which has gone from strength to strength since his arrival.
Fascinated by the plethora of historical and spiritual sites, he has a vast knowledge of the area and has used that (along with his obvious passion) to create in-depth English explanations about almost every single aspect of Kumano.
NOTE: Tokyo Weekender was a supportedduring their press trip in May 2012 by the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau.