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Kumano Hongu Okami Level Up Seminar

The pillar of culture at a traditional Japanese style inn is the Okami.  Okami is the not only the Japanese style version of a hotel manager, but the center of a long and rich tradition of hospitality.

The Okami-no-Kai association in Kumano Hongu, which focuses on the Yunomine Onsen and Kawayu Onsen, are working towards building skills, relationships and systems to further enhance, and facility an enjoyable and smooth stay for the increasing number of international visitors from around the globe.


On June 25th in Hongu, the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau in cooperation with Kumano Hongu Tourist Association held a "Level Up" seminar for the Kumano Hongu Okami-no-Kai.

The conversations were lively and constructive.  Topics included luggage storage, vegetarianism, cultural differences, communication tools, etc.

Thank you to all of the wonderful Okami that joined our seminar, and we look forward to continuing working together.



Description of Okami from the Japan Ryokan Association

"The okami not only bears the greatest responsibility for waiting on and taking care of guests but also acts as the chief service manager on behalf of the ryokan.

The okami's role corresponds to that of a general manager in a Western hotel. In many cases, the okami is the owner of the ryokan or the wife of the owner, which means that the okami, as the representative of the ryokan, attends to all external affairs such as business matters and cooperation with the local community.

Among the numerous ryokans which have developed as family businesses, the okami has constantly supervised guest service in general and continues to play the central role. For this reason, many of the ryokans have been handed down through successive generations within the same family. The traditions of ryokans are often preserved by three generations together, namely the oo-okami (grand okami), the okami, and the waka-okami (young okami).

In the majority of ryokans, the role of the okami is handed down from mother to daughter or to daughter-in-law. In either case, the younger generation studies under the older generation, and devotes herself to mastering the responsibilities and principles of the position of okami. The ryokan staff include all kinds of professionals offering service to guests. Having mastered the essence of the art of hospitality and backed by extensive experience, they dedicate themselves to making their guests' stay a pleasant one, in such a manner that the guests will long remember the services provided. Communicating with these ryokan members, who do their utmost to please guests, will greatly enhance the impression of your travels."

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