Travel Diary

Enjoy traditions, cultures and gourmet food in Kumano Town, famous for brushes

Kumano Town boasts Japan’s largest production of brushes.

The history of brush making goes back more than 180 years.

This time, I will introduce some spots related to Kumano brushes, as well as shops loved by local residents!

Tomo Bio Park
The first destination is “Tomo Bio Park,” where you can enjoy eating, shopping, and BBQ.
The park is filled with facilities including playground equipment made of bamboo and wood and a dog run!
At the adjacent “Sato-no-Eki” (roadside market), you can enjoy homemade pizzas and drinks. They also sell tableware and clothing imported from all over the world.
The farmer’s market that sells local products is very popular, and it is recommended that you get there early.

Tomo Bio Park
Fudenosato Kobo
“Fudenosato Kobo,” a museum of brushes, is a must-visit spot in Kumano Town.
Inside the museum, there is a huge brush about 3.7 meters long as well as an area where you can see a traditional craftsman making brushes right in front of you.
In addition, there are a restaurant, a specialty store, and a rest area on the terrace.
This time, I tried the popular “tapestry experience”!
On a large piece of Japanese calligraphy paper attached to a hanging scroll, you can freely write kanji or other characters or draw pictures.
An advisor will teach you how to hold and use a brush, so even beginners can enjoy this activity.
I wrote my favorite Japanese word “天空” (sky)!

Fudenosato Kobo
Bajo Shuzo Brewery
Next, I visited “Bajo Shuzo,” a sake brewery that has been in business for 130 years and loved by local residents.
The brewery is famous for “Daigorei,” which has a fruity aroma and a clean taste.
The sake is handmade using traditional methods.
It is brewed at a low temperature using only Hiroshima rice, homemade rice malt, and water, with no additives.
From October to February, you can tour the brewery.
The toji (master brewer) will explain in detail how the sake is made, so you can learn a lot.
If you find a sake that you like, why not buy a bottle and take it home to enjoy?
Sakakiyama Shrine
“Sakakiyama Shrine” is a sacred site with 1,100 years of history.
On its vast premises, there are four small shrines, including Kumano Hongusha Shrine.
The sacred tree, which is over 800 years old, is awesome!
I felt its energy by touching it.
In Kumano Town, the “Brush Festival” is held every year on the autumnal equinox day.
A Shinto ritual to offer thanks for used brushes is held at the Sakakiyama Shrine, the main venue of the festival.

Sakakiyama Shrine
patisserie cochonnet
I ended my sojourn with a visit to a cute Western-style confectionery shop in a quiet residential area.
There are about 15 kinds of Western and baked confectioneries in the showcase.
It was hard to decide which one to try.
The shop owner, Ms. Yamawaki, who learned confectionery making in France, recommended “quatre-quarts au citron,” a moist French poundcake with just a slight sweetness.
In the future, she plans to sell sweets using sakekasu (sake lees) from a local brewery.

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