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What to Do with an Extra Day in Tanabe

Hints & Tips 6/25/2024

Spending an extra day/night in Tanabe before you start the Kumano Kodo walk can be restful and provide an immersive experience of local culture.
You could stroll around this ancient Kumano gateway city, taste local izakaya and confectionery cuisine, use the train to make a day hike of the Ohechi, or take part in local experiences!

Here are some suggestions for what do to in Tanabe with an extra day.


Central Tanabe

TANABE Tourist Information Center

Visit the TANABE Tourist Information Center

The TANABE Tourist Information Center, located next to JR Kii-Tanabe Station, has maps, bus and trail information, and English-speaking staff who can offer suggestions and answer questions about the area.

Open: 9:00 to 18:00, every day

Pick up a copy of the Central Tanabe map
3. Tanabe

The two-sided Central Tanabe map lists local sites in English and Japanese, great for finding local sights, restaurants, and accommodation locations.

Rent a power assist electric bicycle

Power-assisted bicycles are a great way to explore villages and towns at a leisurely pace along the Kumano Kodo.

Location: TANABE Tourist Information Center
Cost: 1,000 yen deposit, 500 yen back when bike is returned
Rental Hours: 9:00 to 17:00 (last rental 16:30)

Bikes may not be available if the weather is bad.

Batteries for the bikes have a limited range. Bikes are intended for local area, not long distance, use.


Visit Tokei-jinja shrine just 10 minutes from Kii-Tanabe Station.

This UNESCO-listed Kumano shrine was established in the 5th century and was a common point for aristocrats and pilgrims to seek blessings before starting the Kumano Kodo.

Ogigahama Beach

This popular swimming spot in the summer just 20 minutes walk from Kii-Tanabe Station has a great view of the Pacific Ocean across Tanabe Bay. Stroll along the beach or watch a sunset.

Local park nearby is a great place to take kids. Tanabe Municipal Budokan is also close by.

Tanabe Municipal Budokan and Ueshiba Morihei Memorial Museum

The Ueshiba Morihei Memorial Museum is housed in the state-of-the-art Tanabe Municipal Budokan near Ogigahama Beach about a 20-minute walk from the Kii-Tanabe train station. Information about the founder of Aikido in English and Japanese is available.

Martial arts training, competitions, and demonstrations are held in the Budokan hall as well as immersive Aikido experiences.

Location: The Ueshiba Morihei Memorial Museum
Hours: 10:00 to 17:00 (last entry 16:30), closed Mondays.

Kozan-ji Temple

Kozan-ji is a scenic, hilltop temple located close to Kii-Tanabe station and features the graves of martial art Aikido founder Ueshiba Morihei and local naturalist/biologist/folklorist Minakata Kumagusu. It is not far from the Aizu River which also makes a great walk from the sea.

The atmosphere is relaxing and meditative and the garden and cherry trees are quite photogenic.

Cape Tenjin-zaki

This photogenic marine habitat and cape is popular at sunset with photographers to capture mirror-like reflection seascape shots. It is about 45 minutes on foot, 15 minutes by power-assisted bicycle.

It is also the site of Japan’s first Natural National Trust for its protected natural marine life and reef.

Minakata Kumagusu Archives and Residence

Minakata Kumagusu was an eccentric genius researcher and pioneering environmentalist who devoted his life to learning. A collection of his extensive works is stored here as well as informative panels in English and Japanese about his life, travels, and studies.

His residence next door is a great example of a late 19th-century Japanese home.

Archives, free. Minakata Kumagusu house, adults 350 yen, students senior high school age and under, free.

Aritoshi-jinja Shrine

Aritoshi-jinja shrine, literally “ant passing,” is a local Minato area shrine with a long history and amusing origins, features a 2,000-year-old camphor tree, and is praised as a spot for healing and protection, as well as the guardian deity for the area.

Tanabe City Museum of Art

Local art museum featuring rotating artists at its stylish exhibition center.

Large, nearby public Shinjo Park is a popular spacious and green gathering point.

A public bus can be taken from JR Kii-Tanabe Station to 新庄病院前 (Shinjo Byoin Mae) located in front of the hospital.  5 min walk from there to the museum and park.

Greater Tanabe

These areas are a little farther from the Kii-Tanabe Station area, and a power assist bicycle (with a full battery) is recommended to reach these. Ask for directions and information at the TANABE Tourist Information Center and be sure to get a local map while you are there.

Kizekkyo Gorge

Kizekkyo is a little gorge upstream of Tanabe’s Aizu River, featuring colorful fall foilage and the tranquil Fudo waterfall amid a mountainous landscape. Parking and public toilets are nearby.

Distance from Kii-Tanabe Station~8 km
Estimated time (one way) by bicycle~40 minutes

Mt. Takao

Mt. Takao is a popular 600+ meter mountain that looks out over the Akizu valley and towards the sea.
The entrance is near Fudo Falls at Kizekkyo Gorge.

※ Signs in English not readily available.

Height606 meters
Estimated trail walking time (round trip)3-4 hours (with break)
Total trail distance (round trip)~4 km

Hiki-iwa Recreation Area

“Hiki-iwa” translates to “frog rock” attributed to the unique rock formations here. Short hiking trail with great views of the coast and mikan orange and ume orchards is nearby. Part of Yoshino-Kumano National Park.

※ Signs in English not readily available.

Domekkyo Gorge and pond, Lion’s Park, Furusato Shizen Park Center with public toilets, and parking areas are nearby.

Distance from Kii-Tanabe Station~4 km
Estimated time (one way) by bicycle~20 minutes
Trail distance and timeVariety of short trail options possible


Local festivals and events are a great inroad to observing, and possibly participating in, rural Japanese culture.
There may be booths with traditional food, period costumes, centuries-old rituals, fireworks, and interaction with the local population!
Check the calendar to see if your visit overlaps with a local event.

Local Cuisine & Specialty Shops

Ajikoji Entertainment District

“Ajikoji” is literally the “bright lights, taste” entertainment district of Tanabe not far from Kii-Tanabe Station with a selection of delicious izakaya restaurants and lively snack bars packed within a square mile (2.5 sq. km) area.

Local Restaurants and Shops

Along with the traditional Ajikoji area restaurants, there are a variety of cafes, Japanese confectionery, tea shops, restaurants, convenience stores, fruit grocers, coffee shops, organic goods, and bento shops along the main street or close to the station and surrounding areas.
Some like Tsuji-no-Mochi and Suzuya have 100 years of history in the area.
It’s fun to explore.
Ask the TANABE Tourist Information Center for ideas. They can point them out on the Central Tanabe map.

tanabe en+

tanabe en+ is a cafe, local souvenir goods shop and shared workspace community building recently built across the street from the Kii-Tanabe Station.
Feel free to use the tables to relax.
Great place to pass some time before catching a bus to the Kumano Kodo.


For last-minute hiking goods for the Kumano Kodo trail, visitors might check out STOCK OUTDOOR.
There is a limited selection of rain jackets, trekking poles, caps, day packs, and more.
Ask about their location at the TANABE Tourist Information Center or google the shop name when you get to town.
The shop is about a 5-minute walk from the station.

※ For suggestions of grocery or convenience stores, places to buy snacks or other shopping suggestions, please ask at the TANABE Tourist Information Center.

Local Experiences

Deepen your understanding of Japan by participating in local experiences.
Please note that transportation may not necessarily be included in the experience plan, and use of a taxi may be required to get to the experience.


Try the Japanese martial art of Aikido in Tanabe, the birthplace of its founder Morihei Ueshiba, at Tanabe Municipal Budokan martial arts hall located about 1 km from Kii-Tanabe Station at Tanabe Ogigahama Beach.

Aikido Experience must be booked at least 10 days or more in advance.

Visit the Ueshiba Morihei Museum on the second floor for free any time during regular hours (10:00 to 17:00, 16:30 last admission, closed Mondays) and try a virtual Aikido experience as well.

Sea Kayak

Do guided sea kayaking excursions in Tanabe Bay.

Local Transportation

Riding local buses to some of the locations (like the Tanabe City Museum of Art) listed above may be possible. Ask at the TANABE Tourist Information Center for more information.

Local taxis are usually available from in front of JR Kii-Tanabe Station.

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