#JapanAuthentic: Top 7 Things To Do in Tanabe
13 September 2017
Tanabe is the second largest city located in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan. It is located on the coast, surrounded by mountains and acts as a point at which the Kumano Kodō ancient pilgrimage road turns inland. From outdoor activities such as kayaking and jungle trekking to the more relaxing onsen experience, Tanabe is a great city to explore the more traditional and authentic side of Japan. To get here, take a local train from Osaka station to Tennoji, which would take about 20 minutes. From Tennoji station, take the JR express train “Kuroshio” southbound to Kii Tanabe Station. This would take about 2 hours then you’re there!
Akizuno Garten is a refurbished two story wooden elementary school, accommodation, and restaurant a few kilometers from Tanabe City Centre. Besides eating at the restaurant famed for their many local dishes made from regional products, You can also visit an orange orchard, pick your own oranges and then create your own homemade jam that you can take home with you as a souvenir.
Kumano Kodo refers to a network of pilgrimage trails through the southern Kansai region. Walking the routes are a fantastic way to get out into Japan‘s spiritual country. The pilgrimage routes developed as a way for people to move between the sacred areas on the Kii Peninsula. At the center of this religious area are the three Kumano shrines: Hongu Taisha, Hayatama Taisha and Nachi Taisha, collectively known as Kumano Sanzan.
Learn a new form of art by joining an Aikido Dojo Class experience where you are trained by mirroring and matching the movements of the instructors. The instructor demonstrates the technique to be practiced first, then participants will pair up or practice in groups. As you practice, the instructor will be giving advice or helping you learn the movements of the technique.
Travelling by jet boat is a fun and easy way to experience this natural treasures along the Kitayama-gawa River. The sightseeing tour takes about 2 hours and there is a short stop in the upper gorge. The boats have large windows and the roof opens on clear days in the upper reaches of the valley so guests can get a good look at the sheer rock walls.
From December to February, forces of nature create a giant bath in the river called Sennin-buro, which literally means “one thousand people bath” implying that it is so large that it can fit 1000 people at a time. Sennin-buro is approximately 40 meters by 15 meters in size while the temperature of the water can change often. It is recommended to try out different spots to find the right temperature for you.
For those interested in delving deeper into the unique mountain culture of Kumano Kodo but not interested in having a physical tour guide, then here is a great option for you. An audio guide was designed to decipher this spiritual landscape while walking the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route and it can be downloaded from the website along with a map to guide you through.
The Kumano River is part of the Kumano Kodo and is the only waterway on the planet that is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Pilgrimage route and is a fantastic place for kayaking. Seeing Kumano from the seat of a kayak is another unique way to actively experience Kumano and Japan’s pilgrimage culture.
For more information on the authentic lifestyle in rural Japan, visit https://authentic-visit.jp/.