Tanabe, Wakayama


Tanabe, Wakayama

Infobox City Japan
Name= Tanabe
JapaneseName= 田辺市
Map

Region= Kansai
Prefecture= Wakayama
District=
Area_km2= 1026.77
PopDate= January 2008
Population= 80,398
Density_km2= 78.3
Coords=
LatitudeDegrees= 33
LatitudeMinutes= 44
LatitudeSeconds=
LongtitudeDegrees= 135
LongtitudeMinutes= 23
LongtitudeSeconds=
Tree= Ubamegashi (Quercus phillyraeoides)
Flower= Ume
Bird= Japanese White-eye
Symbol

SymbolDescription= Flag
Mayor= Mitsutoshi Manago
CityHallPostalCode= 646-8545
CityHallAddress= 1 Shin'yashikimachi, Tanabe-shi, Wakayama-ken
CityHallPhone= 0739-22-5300
CityHallLink= [http://www.city.tanabe.wakayama.jp/ Tanabe City]

nihongo|Tanabe|田辺市|Tanabe-shi is the second biggest city in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan.

As of 2008 (after uniting the old Tanabe city with several smaller villages including Hongū, Ryūjin, Nakahechi and Ōtō), the city has an estimated population of 80,398 and a density of 78.3 persons per km². The total area is 1026.77 km². The city was founded on May 20, 1942.

Tanabe is on the coast and surrounded by mountains. Tanabe is the point at which the Kumano Kodō (熊野古道) ancient pilgrimage road turns inland from the coast. There is a district with many bars in front of JR Kii-Tanabe (紀伊田辺) train station. There is a bridge to a nearby island called Motoshima. Kashima Island, off the coast of Tanabe, is closed to the general public.

Fishing is a major industry, particularly small minnow-like fish called shirasu. Citrus fruits and umeboshi (pickled "ume" fruit) are also important to the local economy.

A major attraction is Ogigahama beach, which has recently been expanded. A nearby city, Shirahama, is famous for its artificial white beach, and Tanabe has now constructed a beach of its own in hopes of drawing more tourists. The beachfront area is the site of the Benkei Matsuri (a Yosakoi dance festival that takes place in October).

Another beach in the main city is Tenjinzaki Cape, a preserved beach made of layered slabs of rock formation. The beach is submerged with water during high tides and revealed during low tides. It is also known as the birthplace of the Japan National Trust movement. Tenjinzaki Cape serves as a place of recreation and relaxation for citizens. People also enjoy fishing and shellfish gathering.

Within Tanabe City, there are many famous sites on the Kumano Kodō ancient pilgramage road, particularly in the Nakahechi and Hongu districts. Famous sites include Kumano Hongū Taisha (熊野本宮大社), one of the three major Kumano shrines in Wakayama prefecture, numerous small Ōji shrines, and the Nakahechi Route of the Kumano Kodō, approximately 65 kilometers in length Kumano Kodō and covering a variety of terrain.

Tanabe City also hosts many unique hot springs. Kawayu Onsen, a hot spring in the Kumano River in the Hongu district, is one example. Tourists can dig their own bathtubs next to the river during regular seasons. Between November and February, part of the river is blocked off to make a giant bathtub that can fit hundreds of guests at once. The Ryujin district is home to Ryūjin Onsen, accessible by bus from JR Kii-Tanabe station.

Takaoyama mountain overlooks the area. From the top of this mountain, you can see the cities of Minabe, Tanabe and Shirahama. Between Tanabe and Shirahama is a little-known temple called Kinkakuji (not to be confused with the famous Kinkakuji in Kyoto). Located near Takaoyama mountain is Kisetsukyo Gorge, and in the Ryujin district is Hyakkenzan Gorge, both of which feature waterfalls and walking courses.

Festivals

* Benkei Matsuri, a Yosakoi dance festival, featuring fireworks and dance performances by employees of local businesses as well as traveling dance groups, held in October.
* Tanabe Matsuri, a festival held at Tanabe's Tokei jinja shrine (闘鶏神社) in July.
* Ya-Ya Matsuri (August 8th Festival), a festival held to promote local shopping districts in downtown Tanabe City in August.

Famous people

* Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido.
* Benkei, "yamabushi" retainer to Minamoto no Yoshitsune
* Edith Hanson, Television personality
* Minakata Kumagusu, Japanese author and naturalist

External links

* [http://www.city.tanabe.wakayama.jp/ Official website] in Japanese
* [http://www.tb-kumano.jp/en/ Tanabe City Kumano Tourism Bureau] in English


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