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Showing posts from June, 2014

CNN Travel: Ryujin Onsen, Kamigoten Ryokan

"Fountain of youth? Historic Japanese inn famous for beatifying baths "
Text: Karla Cripps
Published by CNN Travel
June 25, 2014

Kamigoten Ryokan in Ryujin Onsen was featured on CNN Travel.

"Like many small inns in Japan, the riverside Kamigoten Ryokan has been run by the same family for multiple generations.

But few can lay claim to a stretch like this.

The Ryujin family has been operating this historic Wakayama inn in the Ryujin village in mountainous Kii Peninsula since 1658, when it was constructed for an ancient samurai ruler as a holiday retreat.

Twenty-nine generations later, the Ryujin family remains in charge.

There's a key reason this beautiful property is still going strong after more than 350 years: beautifying baths."

Book Kamigoten Ryokan Now >>

NOTE: On June 2, 2014 , the Wakayama prefecture government sponsored a press tour for Karla Cripps and the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau supported her during their visit.

Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Infrastructure Monitoring

For two days from June 19 to 20, 2014 the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau, staff from local the government offices, and Wakayama prefecture government official walked the Kogumotori-goe and Ogumotori-goe sections of the UNESCO World Heritage Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Routes.

The objective of this technical walk was to check the infrastructure holistically, such as signs, bus access, trail conditions, etc. with special consideration to international visitors needs, especially safety.

This year marks the 10 year anniversary of the "Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range" registration as World Heritage.  Our office and local governments are taking this opportunity to re-evaluate and reflect on the changes to the area, both positive and negative.  And use these experiences to improve the experience for visitors and locals alike.

We sincerely thank the local and regional government staff to support our dream of creating a quality, sustainable destination ope…

Kumano Kodo on Spanish National TV

On June 14th, 2014 the Kumano Kodo and was featured on Spanish National TV.
Corporación de Radio y Televisión Española >>

The Kumano Kodo and the Camino de Santiago de Compostela are the only two pilgrimage route landscapes registered as UNESCO World Heritage.

The piece begins at 41:20.  Watch the program >>

Kumano, Japan's Soccer Roots

Kumano is the home of Japanese soccer with a special connection both past and present.

Kakunosuke Nakamura 中村覚之助, the founding father of Japan’s soccer.

In May 1878, Kakunosuke Nakamura was born in Hamanomiya, Nachi-Katsuura town, Wakayama Prefecture.

In 1900, he entered the Tokyo Academy of Higher Education (the present University of Tsukuba), and translated an English book, “Association Football” 「アッソシエーションフットボール」. This book was the basis of the introduction of legitimate soccer to Japan in 1902.  In the same year, Nakamura established Japan’s first soccer team, the so-called “Ashiki Shukyu-bu” 「ア式蹴球部」(association football club).

In 1904, his team had its first match against a foreign team in Yokohama.  Newspapers reported the game nationally and he was deluged with requests for coaching from middle schools throughout Japan.

Although he died young at the age of 29 in 1906, he introduced soccer to Japan and made a great contribution to its popularization.

The Yatagar…

Camino de Santiago signpost in Hongu Japan

Galicia Region in northwest Spain and Wakayama Prefecture share a rich history of pilgrimage tradition, home to the "Way of St. James" and the "Kumano Kodo" respectively, which are two unique pilgrimage cultural landscapes, the only two registered as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage.

This memorial signpost (places at the entrance to the Kumano Hongu Heritage Center) is a gift from Galicia to Wakayama to commemorate the Spain-Japan Dual Year 2013-2014, and the 10th anniversary of the registration of the "Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range" as an UNESCO World Heritage property.

The signpost is the same as those used on the "Way of St. James" where the stylized shell points the way to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.  This memorial signpost points to Oyunohara, with the distance to Santiago de Compostela: 10,755 km.

In 1998 the Wakayama and Galician governments signed a "Sister Road Agreement" between the …

Tanabe City Information Center Celebrates 50,000 Visitor

The Tanabe Information Center next to the JR Kii-Tanabe was rebuilt in September, 2013.  Since then it has been visited by thousands of people who are coming to explore the region.

Kii-Tanabe station is the entrance to the UNESCO World registered Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route, and thus important infrastructure for pilgrims and walkers.

On June 6th, the 50,000 visitors used the facility.  Congratulations! There was a special prize, and photo shoot with a model in traditional Kimono from the 9th century, now a symbol of the Kumano Kodo.

We look forward to hosting more visitors into the future, and strive to deliver accurate, timely, and useful information in a friendly atmosphere.

If you are in Tanabe, please drop in!

Kii-Tanabe and Shirahama JR Stations Communication Level-up Workshop

On June 6, 2014 the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau held a one day communication level up workshop for staff at the JR Kii-Tanabe and Shirahama station.

The goal of the workshop was to make the experience for international visitors at the train stations smoother, and more enjoyable.

It was a positive exchange of ideas and we look forward to the results as we work together on future projects.  Thank you.

CNN press tour in Ryujin Onsen

On June 2, 2014, Karla Cripps from CNN Travel, joined a press tour sponsored by the Wakayama Tourism Federation and supported by the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau.

One of the spots covered was Kamigoten Ryokan in Ryujin Onsen.

Kamigoten Ryokan is a traditional Japanese Inn with 100s of years of history located in the isolated Ryujin Onsen hot spring village.  It was built in 1657 for Yorinobu Tokugawa, the feudal lord of Kinokuni as a site for bathing and relaxing.  The main structure was designated in 1999 as a tangible cultural asset and precious cultural heritage.

The Onarino-ma (the room built for the ruler) is where the feudal lord used to stay, and is decorated with beautiful antique art. There is a private outdoor bath overlooking the Hiki-gawa River.  The silky smooth hot spring water is famous for its beautifying properties.

The Ryujin family has been running this inn for 29 generations, and they pride themselves on serving delicious meals made with the best ingredient…

Wakayama Marina City Royal Pines Hotel has joined the Kumano Travel community!

The Wakayama Marina City Royal Pines Hotel is a ocean front resort hotel inspired by Italian design.  All guest rooms feature beautiful ocean views and the neighboring yacht club, home of the Japanese National Yacht Team. Special care was taken to get the best views possible from the restaurant (with floor to ceiling windows), and guests room: even the bathtubs were designed with views!  Professional chefs serve original Italian dishes and sophisticated Japanese cuisine. The Caterina Café and Bakery serves up freshly baked bread and pastries.  Nearby is the Kishu Kuroshio Onsen, perfect for a soothing soak, and the lively Kuroshio Market, and Porto Europa theme park.
Wakayama Marina City Royal Pines Hotel reservations>> Kumano Travel reservation system>> About Kumano Travel >>

Sara Pretelli press tour in Kumano

From May 25~29, 2014 Sara Pretelli, freelance photographer joined a press tour sponsored and supported by the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau and InsideJapan Tours.

This press tour focused on the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range", focused 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, Yunomine Onsen, and Kawayu Onsen were also included.

The rice fields were just starting to be planted and were filled with water, making for some images with beautiful reflections.

Sara, thank you very much for visit Kumano. It was our pleasure exploring the region with you.

Kumano Kodo press tour for Doc and Road from Spain

From May 22~25,2014, a crew from Doc and Road in Spain toured Kumano as part of their yearlong project called Pacific.  The press tour was sponsored and supported by the Wakayama Tourism Federation and the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau.

The Kumano Kodo and Kumano Sanzan shrines were visited.  The unique part of this project is the length of their travel, one year, and they use a drone to film from the air.

The footage was fantastic and we look forward to seeing their programs on air in the future.

Thank you very much for coming to include Kumano in your tremendous project.

Hongu Community Tourism Development Meeting

On May 22 in Hongu village, Tanabe City there was community meeting with local stakeholders, such as accommodation owners, guide groups, fire department, prefectural government officials, city government officials, and the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau.

Topics for discussion were tourism development issues, especially those regarding the increase of international visitors.

The Hongu area is popular for the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes, Kumano Hongu Taisha, Yunomine Onsen, and Kawayu Onsen.

The meeting was full of energy and ideas reflecting the positive, strong and proactive attitudes to hosting international visitors with world class, country-side hospitality.

Thank you to all of those in attendance, and we look forward to creating new and effective projects into the near future together.

Tanabe and Santiago de Compostela sign "Tourism Partnership Cities" Agreement

On May 13th, 2014 in Santiago de Compostela City, Tanabe City and Santiago de Compostela City signed a historic "Tourism Partnership Cities" agreement, further strengthening ties between these two important cities, which host UNESCO World Heritage registered sacred sites and pilgrimage routes.

There was a large delegation from Tanabe City and Wakayama Prefecture, which were received with world class hospitality.

Thank you so much and we look forward to working, learning, and sharing together into the future.

Here is a copy of the agreement.

"Tourism Partnership Cities" Agreement
Santiago de Compostela City & Tanabe City

Santiago de Compostela in Galicia Region, Spain and Tanabe City in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan (hereinafter 'the two parties') share a rich history of pilgrimage tradition.  Networks of ancient pilgrimage routes lead to both the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela and Tanabe’s Kumano Hongu Taisha, one of the three Grand Shrines of Kuman…

6 Pilgrimages and Walks That Could Change Your Life

6 Pilgrimages and Walks That Could Change Your Life
Text and Photo: Allie Goolrick
Published by: The Weather Channel
May, 2014

Kumano Kodo is featured as one of 6 pilgrimages and walks that could change your life.

"It would be hard not to feel a sense of spiritual reverence when making a journey on Japan’s Kumano Kodo, or "Old Road," an ancient pilgrimage dotted by sacred Buddhist/Shinto temples and shrines. If you pause amidst the trail’s peaceful cedar forests, you may be able to imagine the Japanese imperials and aristocrats who traveled the route thousands of years ago.

Winding its way through the Kii Mountains an hour south of Osaka, the Kumano Kodo is made up of seven trails that connect three grand shrines: Hongu Taisha, Hayatama Taisha and Nachi Taisha, according to CNN. Since the 6th century, people have traveled the 190-mile route as part of an important religious and purification rite through what is seen as sacred land."