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Student Volunteers at Tanabe Information Center

From August 2014, six grade 10 students have been volunteering at the Tanabe Information Center during weekends and holidays on a rotational basis.

This work experience program is a joint project between Tanabe City government, Tanabe High School, and the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau.

The goal is for the students to improve communication skills, gain real life work experience, and learn more about their home town to increase awareness and civic pride.

It is a program to use tourism in a unique and positive way to benefit the community.


Thank you very much to the students of Tanabe High School.  It is so much fun having you as part of our team!

Kumano Sanzan featured in Thai Guidebook

“Best of JAPAN”
Published by: D Plus Guide
2014

D Plus Guide is a major travel guide book series in Thailand.

Kumano Sanzan, a term for the three grand shrines of Kumano, is ranked as one of the top 10 World Heritage Sites in Japan.



More Kumano Sanzan >>

The New Zealand Herald features the Kumano Kodo

Japan: Ancient pilgrimage through the mountains
Text: Kate Hodal
Published by: The New Zealand Herald
Dec, 2014

Follow the locals' instructions and this Unesco World Heritage-listed walking trail in the Kii Mountains could make your dreams come true, writes Kate Hodal.


Read more >>
More Kumano Kodo >>

Kumano's Community-based Tourism Case Study Presented in Nagasaki

Nagasaki is working towards UNESCO World Heritage status for some of its sites.  In preparation for this the Nagasaki Regional Employment Creation Council held a seminar on December 15, 2014.  Around 15 core stakeholders attended the seminar.

Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau was invited to share their success story of grassroots tourism development, an example of positively adapting to World Heritage status, especially in regards to international tourism.


We hope that our model of a successful community-based, sustainable tourism development program was helpful to future programs in Nagasaki.

Thank you and good luck with your World Heritage application.

Japan Times: Soaking up the very best of Wakayama’s hot springs

Soaking up the very best of Wakayama’s hot springs
Text: Mandy Bartok
Published by The Japan Times
Dec 20, 2014

"The two sounds occur almost simultaneously: Just as my cellphone alarm begins its melodious chime to rouse me from sleep, the dark clouds above my guesthouse in the town of Tanabe on the Kii Peninsula burst forth with a pounding rain. Within minutes, it’s clear that my plans of spending three days hiking the Nakahechi branch of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail have quite literally gone awash.

A quick post-breakfast consultation with my fellow hiking partners, James and Felicity, confirms our cancelation. With rain running in rivers in Tanabe’s streets, we quickly re-evaluate our long weekend. Luckily, Felicity has visited the area before and it’s not long before we’re steering her car south in search of Wakayama Prefecture’s best onsen (hot spring)."


Read more >>
More Yunomine Onsen >>
More Kawayu Onsen >>
More Kumano Kodo >>

30% off, Konyamachiya Townhouse Winter Campaign

Stay at the beautiful Konyamachiya Townhouse between Jan 4th and Feb 28th, 2015 and receive a 30% discount.

※Discount is not available for the breakfast or yukata set plans.

Book Now >>







Kumano Press Tour for Petit Fute French Guide Book

From Dec 10~12, 2014 a press tour was run by the Wakayama Prefecture, and the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau for the Petit Fute guidebook from France.

The Petit Fute is a major guide book for the French speaking population of the world and we are thrilled that more information about Wakayama will be included in the next edition.

The Koyasan and Kumano region attracts large numbers of French visitors looking for authentic and immersive experiences in Japan.


We look forward to hosting more French speaking travelers to the sacred mountains of Kumano with the support of the Petit Fute.

New Shingu City Walking Tour Online Now

A new walking tour of Shingu is now online!

This tour on the Kumano Travel community-based platform is designed as an extension of the Traditional boat tour on the Kumano-gawa River and visits the Kumano Hayatama Taisha and Kamikura-jinja Shrine.

Having a guide from Mi-Kumano to introduce the main sights and back streets of Shingu is an excellent way to visit the area.




Book Shingu Walking Tour online >>
Book Traditional Boat Tour online >>
More about Kumano Travel >>

Kumano Kodo featured in Zoom Japan

Limited Bus Pass for "JR Kansai WIDE Area Pass"

For holders of the JR Kansai WIDE Area Pass there is a bus pass for the southern Wakayama area.

Available only until Feb 27, 2015.


There are two passes available.

Kinan Area Pass
Prices:
Adult 1,850 yen
Child 930 yen
Validity:2 days

Wide Kinan Area Pass
Prices:
Adult 4,000 yen
Child 2,000 yen
Validity : 3 days

Purchased can be made at the ticket counters of major train stations in Wakayama.(Wakayama station, Kainan station, Gobo station, Kii-Tanabe station,Shirahama station, Kushimoto station, Kii-Katsuura station,Shingu station)

More information >>

Kumano's Tourism Infrastructure Research Trip by Oki Islands

Oki is a set of islands of the west coast of Japan.  It is a relatively isolated and features beautiful natural landscapes.  The islands history and culture is one of intrigue, being the location where political prisoners were sent into exile, with examples dated back to the imperial family in the 13th century.

The delegation from the Oki Island visited us because they were researching how a small isolated area could take control of their tourism development and successfully adapt to international visitors in a positive, sustainable way.


The Kumano area is a global leader in community-based tourism, and we hope the ideas, philosophies, and systems that have been implemented here with the help of a diversity of stakeholders, are helpful for the Oki islands to reach their goals.


Thank you very much for taking the time to travel all the way to Kumano to visit with us!

Kumano's Community-based Tourism Case Study Presented in Nara

With the recent influx of international visitors to Japan many destinations are re-evaluating their approaches to inbound tourism.  Nara is one of these places.

Nara has a long history of tourism but it is focused on a relatively small number of sites.  The prefecture and region are struggling to diversity it tourism offerings to international visitors.

A local group invited the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau to share their success story of grassroots tourism development.


The presentation and talk session took place on December 4th, 2014 in Nara City and was attended by ~100 people from a variety of backgrounds.


We hope that our story of a successful community-based, sustainable tourism development program was helpful.

Thank you very much for inviting us, your hospitality was world-class!

Kumano press tour Spanish freelance journalist

From Dec 1~5, 2014 a press tour was sponsored and supported by the Wakayama Prefecture, and the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau for a freelance journalist from Spain.

The Way of St.James is a famous pilgrimage route in Spain and the relationship with the Kumano Kodo is of increasing interest to the Spanish.  We were thrilled to have this freelance journalist visit.

This press tour covered the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range", focusing on the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes, and the three grand shrines of Kumano: Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Hayatama Taisha, and Kumano Nachi Taisha.


Stops in Takahara, Kumano Hongu Heritage Center, Yunomine Onsen, and Kawayu Onsen were also included.

Thank you for joining our press tour in Kumano and thank you for spreading the message of Kumano in Spain.

Yunomine Onsen featured in Munchies

I Ate a Meal Cooked in a Stinky Hot Spring
Text: Elyssa Goldberg
Published by Munchies
Dec 4, 2014

"A pack of shrieking Japanese macaques, endowed with red testicles and red faces, crossed the road in front of us, distracting us just enough to miss the last bus to our lodging in Yunomine Onsen. When we arrived, we were greeted with the stench of sulfur that rises out of Yunomine’s hot spring, the onsen that made the place famous.

We had been trekking the Kumano Kodo, an ancient Buddhist pilgrimage route across central Japan’s Wakayama Prefecture, and we were exhausted. After speed-hiking the first half of the Nakahechi route, trying to make up for the two days we lost to the over-hyped Typhoon Vongfong, our legs were weary. We hiked a mountainous 22.1 kilometers that day.


Yunomine Onsen, a one-street town that’s built along a creek in rural Japan, is credited as the country’s oldest spa. It may be the world’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site you can soak in, and it’s blessed with …

Kumano Kodo in The Sentinel

Japan: Travel Feature
Text: Kate Hodal
Published by The Sentinel
Nov 28, 2014

Follow Kate Hodal as she journeys from the busy capital of Tokyo to the sacred mountains of Kumano.


Read more >>
More Kumano Kodo >>

Kumano press tour for UK and Italian Media

From Nov 24~26, 2014 four media representatives from the UK and Italy.  This press tour was sponsored and supported by the Foundation for Kansai Region Promotion, Wakayama Prefecture, and the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau.

This press tour covered the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range", focusing on the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes, and the three grand shrines of Kumano: Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Hayatama Taisha, and Kumano Nachi Taisha.


Stops in Takahara, Kumano Hongu Heritage Center, Yunomine Onsen, and Kawayu Onsen were also included.

Thank you for joining our press tour in Kumano and we look forward to reading your articles in the future.

Kumano Kodo in The Japan Times

Seeking Japan’s gods and nobles in roots, stone and moss
Text: Amy Chavez
Published by The Japan Times
Nov 26, 2014

"If you’ve had a hankering to go hiking with Shinto gods, then I recommend trying Japan’s Kumano Kodo: the Kumano Old Road. This UNESCO World Heritage site, located on the Kii Peninsula in Wakayama Prefecture, offers three pilgrimage routes that take you to the Three Grand Shrines of Kumano (Kumano Sanzan). Emperors and nobility traveled the Kumano Kodo from Kyoto during the Heian Period (794-1185), when Kyoto was the capital city.

The Kumano Kodo is very well-sign-posted in both English and Japanese. There are even signs to tell you when you’re going the wrong way. Other boards indicate where historical events took place, and some reference the court diary (kanbun nikki) of Fujiwara Munetada, who, as a court noble, documented religious practices of the nobility in his diary, called the “Chuyuki” (1109).


The pilgrimage was eventually adopted by commoners and became …

Kurhaus Shirahama has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Kurhaus Shirahama is a well located accommodation within walking distance of the Shirarahama beach in Shirahama Onsen.  The modern, simple design of the interior was produced by a female architect making for a relaxed atmosphere. There are both spacious Japanese and Western rooms, some with ensuite outdoor baths! Health and wellness is an important concept of Kurhaus Shirahama which is reflected in the diversity of fitness facilities available. There is an indoor swimming pool, fitness area, sauna, whirlpools, steam seat, and onsen baths, all free for guests.    Meals are carefully produced by high level chefs to bring the most out of the fresh ingredients.






Book Kurhaus Shirahama online now >>
Kumano Travel community reservation system >>
About Kumano Travel >>

Kumano Consulting in Nikko National Park

For three days from October 22~24, 2014 the Ministry of the Environment held a monitor tour in Nikko National Park, which is one of two areas to be re-evaluated for international visitors.
The Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau was a member of this tour, giving feedback and consultation based on our experiences in Kumano.





Thank you very much for inviting us to be members of this trip.


Experience Beautiful Umi-giri Sea Fog in Kumano

In Kushimoto, the rocky Arafune coastline is famous for its Umi-giri sea fog drawing photographers from around the country.
This beautiful natural phenomenon is best seen at sunrise during the winter months.  This calm, and mysterious phenomenon has just started this year.

The best place to view this is near the Arafune Resort.   Book your stay now with Kumano Travel to experience this breathtaking natural phenomenon.

Kumano Kodo in The Australian

The accidental pilgrims in Japan
Text: Stella Martin
Published by The Australian
Nov 8, 2014


IF Australia is painted in broad brushstrokes, Japan is an elaborately stitched embroidery. Most travellers focus on the wonders of Kyoto and Nara and it is easy to overlook the nearby Kii Peninsula, a mountainous area threaded with ancient pilgrimage trails and dotted with temples.

Read more >>
More Kumano Kodo >>

Watarase Onsen, Hotel Himeyuri has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Watarase Onsen is a onsen facility near Kumano Hongu Taisha featuring the largest outdoor hot spring baths in western Japan.  Hotel Himeyuri is an annex building near Hotel Yamayuri.  The first floor is a large meeting room, and on the second floor are four mixed western and Japanese style rooms.  There are a diversity of communal and private baths next to Hotel Yamayuri, so guests can enjoy the Japanese bathing culture in a relaxed, personal atmosphere; perfect for couples and families!  The surrounding verdant mountains offer green vistas from every angle.  Meals are Japanese style made with fresh ingredients served in the dining room with river views.






Book Watarase Onsen, Hotel Himeyuri online now >> Kumano Travel community reservation system >> About Kumano Travel >>

Watarase Onsen, Hotel Yamayuri has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Watarase Onsen is a onsen facility near Kumano Hongu Taisha featuring the largest outdoor hot spring baths in western Japan.  Hotel Yamayuri is the middle end building located on the banks of the Yomura-gawa river.  A suspension footbridge links Hotel Yamayuri to Hotel Sasayuri.  There are a diversity of communal and private baths next to Hotel Yamayuri, so guests can enjoy the Japanese bathing culture in a relaxed, personal atmosphere; perfect for couples and families!  The surrounding verdant mountains offer green vistas from every angle.  Meals are Japanese style made with fresh ingredients served in the dining room with river views.








Book Watarase Onsen, Hotel Yamayuri online now >>
Kumano Travel community reservation system >>
About Kumano Travel >>

Kumano Kodo featured in DestinAsian

Japan’s Ancient Kumano Kodo Trail
Text & Photos: Leisa Tyler
Published by: DestinAsian
Nov, 2013


A millennium ago, in the heyday of Japan’s imperial court, nobles from Kyoto would embark on weeks-long treks to pray at the three main Shinto-Buddhist shrines of Ku- mano, a rugged swath of the Kii Peninsula in southernmost Honshu. The journey would take them over waterfall-laced mountains that in spring were awash with the blossoms of wild cherry trees, and through dark forests threaded with raging streams. Dressed in byakue, the white coat of the pilgrim, they would make offerings to the dozens of smaller subsidiary shrines, or oji, that marked the way, as well as to the trees and rocks themselves. Trekking the Kumano Kodo, as the network of trails came to be known—kodo means “old ways”—was as much a purification rite as a celebration of nature.

And people have been walking the ancient pilgrimage circuit ever since. Yet by the dawn of Japan’s modern era in the late 19th century, …