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Showing posts from August, 2014

New Hongu and Tokyo Access Page online now!

As the Kumano Kodo is getting better known around the world, many guests are now travelling directly from Tokyo, the capital of Japan to this isolated sacred site.

Therefore a new access page, outlining the options has been developed.

View the Hongu and Tokyo access page >>

Kumano Kodo Video by Sara Pretelli

Sara Pretelli's Kumano Kodo video is on YouTube now!

Experience the Kumano Kodo through the eyes of this young freelance travel journalist.

Global Sustainable Tourism Council Criteria Seminar

The Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau is dedicated to our mission of creating a high quality, sustainable tourist destination open to the world.

Our projects and initiatives are grassroots, community-based, adapting best practices in sustainable tourism to our regional cultural context.

Recently the Global Sustainable Tourism Council has formulated global criteria for sustainable tourism.

On August 21, the first seminar and research exchange on bringing these global standards to Japan was held in Nara, the site of the UNWTO Regional Support Office for Asia and the Pacific.

Sustainable tourism experts, University professors, NPOs, UNWTO staff, Ecotourism Japan, and the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau, etc attended the meeting.

As leaders and pioneers in community-based, sustainable tourism in Japan, Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau is working towards holding the first Forum on the introduction of these global criteria to Japan.

The concept of sustainable tourism in still relatively…

Kumano Experience Lecture in Kyushu

Japan is a diverse and rich country, culturally and geographically. Every year more international visitors travel to this country of endless discovery.  But there are still many beautiful sites not experienced by non-Japanese guests, including the network of National Parks.

This year the Ministry of the Environment has set out to change this, and has begun a project to increase international visitors to the country’s natural treasures.  Two areas have been chosen as model areas: Nikko, and Kyushu.

For 2 days, from August 19 to 20, a group of local stakeholders, and tourism professionals toured the Kirishima-Kinokowan National Park to research and evaluate the possibilities of increasing international tourist to the area.

This national park is located in the south of Kyushu Island and features unique, majestic volcanic craters.

Brad Towle, the director of international tourism promotion and development for the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau, was a keynote presenter, and consultant …

Tourism and Community Development: Regenerating Japan's Spiritual Roots


The sacred Kumano region has directly benefited from well planned and implemented grassroots community based tourism, regenerating the spiritual roots of Japan.


Tanabe is a small city (pop. ~80,000) in the ancient Kumano region.  Kumano's history dates to pre-historic times and is the legendary "Land of the Dead" in Japanese mythology, a sacred otherworldly site linking the world of man to the spiritual realm.  The religious origins are based on nature worship, with natural objects believed to be imbued with the divine. Pilgrims have walked the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes to the Kumano Grand Shrines for over 1000 years in search of healing, regeneration, and salvation.

There have been many recent changes in the area both social and politically.  Villages are suffering from rapid ageing and depopulation, young people are moving to large urban centers, few return, risking the integrity o…

Lonely Planet on assignment in Kumano

From August 8~14, 2014 Andrew Bender from Lonely Planet was on assignment in Kumano researching for the next edition of the Lonely Planet Japan guide book.

Thank you for visiting and we look forward to the new edition of this popular guide.

New Hongu to Nachisan Access Page online now!

A very common place to visit after Kumano Hongu Taisha is the Kumano Nachi Taisha and Japan's tallest waterfall.  We have put together some options for travelling between these two sacred sites, including tours and activities along the way.

View the Hongu to Nachisan access page >>

Nikkei Newspaper features Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau

On August 6, 2014 the Nihon Keizai Shinbum (Nikkei Newspaper) has featured Brad Towle, the International Tourism Promotion and Development Director of the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau in their column "Jidai-no-Sozoshu" Architect of the Next Era.

Recently the Kumano area has made a successful shift to grassroots, community-based tourism, with a special approach to international tourism.

This article showcases a portion of this project.

Read article online (Japanese only) >>

Kumano Kodo, Kohechi Sign Project

The Kohechi route of the Kumano Kodo is a rugged 4 day walk between Koyasan and Kumano Hongu Taisha.  The trail climbs over many passes with elevations of over 1000 meters.  It is a long and challenging route.

The infrastructure is not as developed at the Nakahechi route further to the south.

The Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau is working with local governments to improve this route to make it more accessible and safer for people from across Japan and around the world to experience.

Today we worked with the Nosegawa village government in Nara Prefecture, visiting sections of the trails to check signage.  Currently they are old, broken, and only include Japanese.  We are going to install new signs, which will have more consistent designs (matching other sections of the Kumano Kodo) and include English.

This is two year project with the first set of signs being installed the fall of 2014, and the next series tentatively scheduled for the summer of 2015.

Ryokan Adumaya Deluxe Ichii Room Plan online now!

Ryokan Adumaya is one of the main traditional inns in Yunomine Onsen, a hot spring village with over 1800 years of history.  It was founded by a shrine priest in the 18th century.  The atmospheric inside baths are made of wood with lofty ceilings.  The outdoor baths are made of rock, and situated in an elegant Japanese garden setting.  Ryokan Adumaya prides itself on using 100% hot spring water in all of their meals.

Ichii is a deluxe room featuring an ensuite outdoor hot spring bath "Rotenburo". It is one of the nicest guestrooms at Ryokan Adumaya.

Book you stay at Ichii deluxe room at Adumaya Ryokan with the Kumano Travel community reservation system >>

Kumano Kodo featured in The Australian Way, Qantas in-flight magazine

“Kumano Kodo”
Text: Alistair Jones
Published by: The Australian Way, Qantas in-flight magazine
August, 2014

In Japan, visiting shrines and temples to make an offering and request a little heavenly intervention is a national pastime with deep cultural roots. High on the list of sacred sites is the Kumano Kodo, a 66km network of ancient pilgrim trails connecting three grand shrines in the densely wooded mountains at the tip of the Kii Peninsula. Here, at the southernmost point on the main island of Honshu, a journey on foot across steep terrain with striking scenery can be as rewarding as reaching the devotional destinations. The Kumano trails snake through tightly packed ranges with hidden valleys, spectacular rock formations and waterfalls. The mysterious Kumano forests could be a portal into Tolkien’s Middle Earth.

The Australian Way, Qantas in-flight magazine >>

NOTE: In November, 2013 , the Wakayama prefecture government sponsored a press tour for Alistair Jones and the Tanab…

Special Guided Tour on the Kumano Kodo

The tour is a lovely half-day walk on the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route with a local guide and overnight at distinguished guesthouse.  This section of trail runs for 7 kilometers through forests and isolated ridge-top villages, before arriving at Kumano Hongu Taisha, one of the main shrines of Kumano.  There are excellent viewpoints of the mountains along the way.

Tour dates:

    November 5 (Wed) to 6 (Thu), 2014 (1 night, 2 days)
    November, 6 (Thu) to 7 (Fri), 2014 (1 night, 2 days)
    December, 10 (Wed) to 11 (Thu), 2014 (1 night, 2 days)
    December, 17 (Wed) to 18 (Thu) , 2014 (1 night, 2 days)

Price: 8,000 yen (2 person per room), Single occupancy plus 1000 yen.

Included in tour:

    One night stay at Blue Sky Guesthouse in Hongu (with breakfast)
    Kumano Kodo Lunch Box (Minshuku Omuraya)
    Kumano Kodo Walk. Hosshinmon-oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha guided walk.

More information and book online >>

New Vegetarian Kaiseki Plan at Kameya Ryokan in Kawayu Onsen

Kameya Ryokan is one of the oldest accommodations in Kawayu Onsen.  The main building was built over 150 years ago and is registered as a National Cultural Asset.   The rooms are older but all have views on to the crystal clear Oto River, which flows through the village.  Kameya Ryokan is run by the Kobuchi family and are well known for their excellent meals.

Kameya Ryokan now serves a vegetarian Kaiseki, arranging the best of country-side Japanese cuisine with an original vegetarian twist. They use fresh local, seasonal ingredients to reflect the seasonal flavors of the Kumano region.

This is a great place to stay if you require strict (yet delicious!) vegetarian meals.