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Showing posts from February, 2015

100,000 visitors at Tanabe Tourist Information Center

On Feb 17, 2015 the Tanabe Tourist Information Center celebrated our 100,000th visitor.

The lucky person was a Canadian, congratulations!


Of the the 100,000 visitors nearly 20% were non-Japanese.

Thank you to all involved in the ceremony, and we look forward to hosting our next 100,000 guests in the near future!

Tanabe City's new website to introduce Ume fruit

Tanabe City has created a website to introduce Ume, a local agricultural product.

Since ancient times, Ume (commonly known as Japanese plum, pronounced as "oo-meh") have been regarded as a flower that can withstand the cold and announce the coming of spring. As a healthy and traditional food, they are dear to Japanese people’s hearts.

There are a variety of ways that Ume is processed and consumed, including the much-loved Umeshu, a sweet liqueur.

The Tanabe area is one of Japan's major Ume producing regions.



Ajikoji is a great place to try dishes with Ume >>

Delegation from Yoshino, Nara Prefecture visits Tanabe City

A delegation from Yoshino and other rural villages from Nara visited Tanabe City to learn about our tourism techniques, initiatives and philosophies. 
Yoshino is a small village in the north of it is part of the same world heritage site, Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range. They are looking to transition to a more international market. Because of the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau's unique grassroots community-based tourism programs, Nara is interested in learning more about our model.

We are happy to share our experiences and knowledge, to work together for a stronger regional network for international tourists in the Kii Peninsula. 
Thank you so much for coming to Tanabe city and we look forward to working together in the future.

Presentation at Nakahaya Community Center

On Feb 11th, Brad Towle, the International Tourism Promotion and Development Director of the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau, presented at the Nakahaya community center as part of the Tanabe City Lifelong Learning Department workshop series.

The presentation introduced the projects, philosophies, and objectives of tourism for the region.


The talk was 1 hour long (19:00~20:00) with the title of "Kumano, through the eyes of a foreigner".

We are always thrilled to be invited locally to speak with the community as part of our outreach programs.

Thank you to all those that attended.

Kumano Forum: International Standards for Sustainable Tourism

From Jan 30 to Feb 1, 2015 the Kumano Forum was held in the Kumano Hongu Heritage Center.  The focus of the forum was to introduce the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Criteria into Japan, using Kumano as an example of best practices in the country.


The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Criteria are the result of a worldwide effort to develop a common language about sustainability in tourism. Focusing on social and environmental responsibility, as well as the positive and negative economic and cultural impacts of tourism, the criteria are organized into four topics.

Sustainable management
Socioeconomic impacts
Cultural impacts
Environmental impacts (including consumption of resources, reducing pollution, and conserving biodiversity and landscapes)

The GSTC Criteria have been built on decades of prior work and experience around the world, and they take into account the numerous guidelines and standards for sustainable tourism from every continent. During the proce…

Inbound Tourism Workshop in Nara by Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau

On February 18 and 19, a two day workshop was run in Nara City, by Brad Towle from the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau.

The focus of the workshop was to develop awareness, skills, techniques, and projects in Nara city and surrounding areas in regards to international tourism.


Academic sessions took place, but most of the discussions where about practical tips and advice on how to deal with foreign tourists and marketing techniques.

The Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau was thrilled to be able to share our unique, grassroots, community-based model of tourism with are friends in Nara.

Thank you very much to all of those that attended.

Tanabe Izakaya featured in The Australian

The Australian
Special Report: Destination Japan
Food and drink sensations to savour in Japan
Feb 14, 2015


"Get fresh with fish: We are dining at the counter at Shinbe, one of 200 restaurants, tiny bars and izakaya in the alleyways near the station in Tanabe City, a regional centre on the coast of the Kii Peninsula on the main island, Honshu. Tanabe enjoys a rich variety of local seafood and with two fish markets a day there’s fresh, and then there’s really fresh. Apologies are offered if something is available only from the morning catch rather than the afternoon’s bounty."

Read more >>
Dining information in Tanabe >>

Whale Watching: Nanki Marine Leisure Service has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Nanki Marine Leisure Service is a small business located in the tiny port of Ugui, between Shingu and Katsuura.  Fishermen in the area wanted to share the excitement of experiencing the beauty and power of the ocean they work on everyday with the local people and visitors alike.  This desire to share and explore led them to create whale watching tours.  The Kuroshio black current runs next to the southern tip of the Kii peninsula attracting a diversity of sea life, including whales and dolphins.  The fishing boats take guests out into this vast seascape in search of encounters with these awe-inspiring mammals.  Nature is impossible to control, but with the network of other fishermen in the area, chances are greatly increased to see dolphins and whales in their natural environment.  Free pick-up is available from accommodation in nearby Katsuura Onsen.






Book Nanki Marine Leisure Service online now >>
Kumano Travel community reservation system >>
About Kumano Travel >>

Nanki-Kumano Tourism Seminar Presentation

On February 10, Brad Towle, the International Tourism Promotion and Development Director of the Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau, was a speaker at the Nanki-Kumano Tourism Seminar series sponsored by the Wakayama University.


The presentation focused on the unique initiatives of Tanabe city, especially the joint promotion projects with Santiago de Compostela, and the Kumano Travel community reservation system.

Thank you to all that attended.

2015 Wakayama Tourism Advisory Meeting

This year's Wakayama Prefecture tourism review meeting took place on Feb 9, 2015 in Wakayama City. The Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau is a member of the committee as special tourism advisers: Tada Noriko, Bureau Director and Brad Towle, International Tourism Promotion and Development Director.

This is our chance to learn about the Wakayama prefecture's projects and for us to give input and advice.  It is also an important opportunity for us to give a voice to visitors' and local stakeholders needs and comments.


We continually lobby on behalf of visitors, especially in respect to tourism infrastructure development and improvement of access.

Thank you again to the Wakayama Prefecture's tourism departments for all of their hard work.

Kumano TREK has joined the Kumano Travel community!

Kumano TREK is small group of local guides dedicated to the region and introducing the UNESCO World Heritage Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route to international visitors.  They enjoy walking and sharing stories with guests.  Please enjoy your visit to the Kumano Kodo with us!

This guiding group offers a diversity of walking tours on the Kumano Kodo including multi-day walks.

Book Kumano TREK online now >>
Kumano Travel community reservation system >>
About Kumano Travel >>

Kumano Kodo and Way of St. James "Dual Pilgrim" Program Commencement

Tanabe City and Santiago de Compostela City have started a new Dual Pilgrim initiative.

Are you a Dual Pilgrim?

A "Dual Pilgrim" is someone who has walked both the Kumano Kodo and the Way of St.James (Camino de Santiago).

This program was developed to celebrate, honor, and share the stories of those who have completed both of these UNESCO World Heritage pilgrimage routes.


Dual Pilgrims receive a limited edition "DUAL PILGRIM" pin badge and are featured on the Dual Pilgrim page of spiritual-pilgrimages.com. (Inclusion on the website is optional).

To receive the Dual Pilgrim status, pilgrims must complete one of the options for the Way of St. James, and one of the options for the Kumano Kodo, then register at a designated site.

Learn more >>

Kiri-no-Sato Takahara Lodge wins Trip Advisor Travelers' Choice Award

The 2015 Trip Advisor Travelers' Choice Award chose Kiri-no-Sato Takahara Lodge as number 15 of the top 25 B&Bs and Inns in Japan!

Congratulations on the award and to all of the staff at Kiri-no-Sato Takahara Lodge.  Thank you for all of your hard work!



Kiri-no-Sato Takahara Lodge is located in the ridge top village of Takahara along the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route overlooking the Hatenashi mountain range.  The panoramic views from the lodge are breathtaking, especially when the valley is filled with morning mist.  It was built in 2007 by the Wakayama Prefectural Government and is made of local wood.  The water for the hot spring bath comes from Wataze Onsen in Hongu.  Many of the ingredients for the delicious meals are produced locally and is sometimes refered to as the "Organic Hotel".  Takahara is a very popular destination for photographers.









Book Kiri-no-Sato Takahara Lodge online now >>