Travel Diary

Exploring the Streets of Kumano

The “Hito-Fude Tabi” walking route paints a vivid picture of the Kumano’s history and brush-making culture.

Sakazura Lake
The walking route starts at Kumano’s famous Fudenosato Kobo Museum. More precisely, it starts at the Sakazura Lake behind the main museum building.

Although it looks like a simple lake full of elegant koi carp and a heart-shaped art installation, incredibly, this man-made body of water dates back to 1683. Local farmers dug away at the hillside to create this lake to hold irrigation water.

Today, the lake is lined with stone monuments, each displaying the work of a famous calligrapher commissioned every year during Kumano’s annual brush festival.
Kumano Hongusha Shrine & Sakakiyama Shrine
So much of Kumano’s cultural heritage is focused around the impressive Kumano Hongusha Shrine and Sakakiyama Shrine. The shrines have been standing side by side for over a thousand years, tucked away in a quiet wooded hilltop overlooking the town.

The Sakakiyama Shrine bursts into life every year during Kumano’s annual brush festival where it plays a central role in the festivities.

Kumano Hongusha Shrine

Sakakiyama Shrine
Kumano History Museum
Housed inside a former sake brewery, the Kumano History Museum is a treasure trove of historical artifacts and memorabilia that paints a vivid picture of life in Kumano in years gone by.

There is a particular focus on Kazuma Bota, a famous children’s songwriter and a son of Kumano Town, who lived during the first half of the 20th century. Although he died tragically young at 39, his songs still live on. His original piano is on display in the museum as well as other artifacts relating to his work.
Lunch at Midorichaya
An offshoot of the long-established and high-end kaiseki restaurant Midoriya across the road, the Midorichaya is a delightful bistro providing delicious seasonal food at reasonable prices.

The presentation of the dishes at Midorichaya is immaculate, making them both a feast for your tastebuds and your eyes. Make sure you don’t forget to try their desserts – some of them are out of this world.
Illustrated Letter Painting Experience at the Fudenosato Kobo Museum
The “Hito-Fude Tabi” walking route takes you back full circle to your starting-point – the Fudenosato Kobo Museum. As well as being a state-of-the-art museum with information and displays about the history and culture of brushes and brush making, the Fudenosato Kobo Museum also offers a range of fun workshops where you can experiment with calligraphy yourself.

In the Illustrated Letter Painting Experience, you can draw on a sheet of Japanese washi paper using a selection of authentic Japanese calligraphy brushes. Don’t worry if you’re a beginner, the museum staff are on hand to give you tips and advice. Let your imagination run wild as you create your original illustrated message or letterhead.

*Museum admission fee is not included in the price of the workshop.
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