Test tour to Tanabe includes farm stay, trekking
Mi-Kumano led walking and hiking tours for three days during a test tour organized by the Tanabe City Tourism Bureau. Twenty foreign residents of the Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe area chosen by lottery also participated in a farm stay, stayed in a hot spring hotel, and sampled some well known restaurants in the Tanabe area.
The first tour was a two-hour walk through the historical districts of downtown Tanabe, starting in the Aji-koji restaurant and bar area near the station and ending at Kozan-ji Temple across the Aizu River. Along the way, participants learned about samurai houses and traditional stores, the ruins of Tanabe castle and its moat, and tempura–not the tempura you usually think about, but Tanabe’s special fried fish cake.
At Minakata Kumagusu’s museum they learned about the eccentric genius scientist and were happy to hear of his ability to make the best of a bad situation by discovering a new slime mold during one of his stays in prison.
The next day the group met at Akizu Garten, where most of the vegetables used in meals are grown by the staff. The participants told their guides about the small but important differences between Wakayama cuisine and foods in other parts of Kansai: the prevalence of hand-made pickles and the number of ume plum-based sauces and dishes, to name two.
On the way into the country they stopped at Takijiri Oji to see the museum exhibits and shrine, then at Kumano Takahara Shrine and overlook, and continued to Kawayu hot spring area, where a hot spring wells up in the middle of a mountain river. They had a very Japanese evening soaking in the bath and enjoying the local delicacies served at their ryokan-style hotel.
The famous hike from Hosshinmon gate to the Kumano Hongu Grand Shrine was their final activity on the last day, and the visitors reported that they enjoyed the forests and grand views on the way down to the shrine’s precincts.
The test tour gave Mi-Kumano a great chance to work with larger groups of tourists. We hope to see some of our new friends back here again!