Wakayama/Tokyo [Japan], Jan.27 : Wakayama prefecture is located in the Kansai region on Honshu Island's Kii Peninsula.
A rich in nature, it is home of ancient Kumano shrine, which enshrines the three Kumano mountains - Hongu, Shingu and Nachi.
Pilgrimage to these shrines is called Kumano Moude in Japanese.
The Kumano Hongu Taisha Grand Shrine is the initial destination of the pilgrimage.
After climbing 158 stone steps surrounded by Japanese cedar trees, the shrine appears with the dignity of Hiwadabuki (cypress bark roof).
Ietaka Kuki, Head Priest of the Kumano Hongu Taisha Grand Shrine, said, "After Buddhism arrived in Japan in the Nara period, by taking in esoteric Buddhism, Kumano became the place to show the sense of unity of the gods and Buddha and to govern the past, the present and the future."
The Kumano Hongu Taisha Grand Shrine is a place to pray for thoughts towards the future and how to pursue their goals.
While Kumano Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine governs the present, Kumano Hayatama Taisha Grand Shrine is in charge of the past.
The Kumano Hayatama Taisha Grand Shrine looks beautiful with its vermillion-lacquered buildings.
The Kamikura-jinja Shrine is the auxiliary shrine in its detached land of Kumano Hayatama Taisha Grand Shrine.
The object of worship is a stone called the Gotobiki stone. In Kumano's local dialect, Gotobiki means toad.
It's based on the fact that the shape the stone is close to that of a toad.
The Kumano Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine is the final destination of the pilgrimage.
The associated shrine the Kumano Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine is the Hiro-jinja Shrine where the object of worship is the Nachi Waterfall.
It is the highest waterfall in Japan with its fall of 133 meters.
The temple next to the Kumano Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine is the Nachisan Seiganto-ji Temple.
It's a temple devoted to the Tendai section of Buddhism.
In the past, the road for pilgrimage to the Kumano Sanzan was called Kumano Kodo. In 2004, the Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range which includes Kumano Sanzan and Kumano Kodo were registered as a World Heritage Site.
The hot springs are for resting after the pilgrimage to the shrines.
The Sennin-buro River Bath of Kawayu Onsen is an open air bath that was made from holding back the river, of which if digging the beach there will be hot spring underneath.
The Sennin-buro River Bath Karuta Tournament is a special feature for Kawayu Onsen.
Participants emulate for who can get the most Karuta cards, which is made out of cedar bark floating on the hot spring.
A foreign tourist said, "I think this space is very spiritual. At the helm of Kumano, it's good to bring the aspect of a traditional game, and playing in such a spiritual area that we found. A very unique experience."
Nature is not the only specialty in Wakayama.
People can get close to animals in the Adventure World.
Facing the Pacific Ocean, Wakayama Prefecture is one of the few areas in Japan that receives a lot of rain. There are also many superb views in the area, for example, cliffs and rough rocks that are breached by the sea.
Wakayama Prefecture is the perfect place for experiencing both rich nature and traditional Japanese culture.
Mitsuhiro Takahama of Adventure World said, "Adventure World is a theme park seeking contact between humans and animals. At the moment, the theme park is raising eight giant pandas. Yuihin, a cute baby panda who was born last September is now able to walk by himself."
Japan is a country with earthquakes happening frequently.
Every year, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government holds the city's annual disaster preparedness drill for foreign residents.
The drill aims to help foreign residents of Tokyo live safely and with a sense of reassurance by enhancing their knowledge of disaster preparedness.
A Malaysian participant said, "It was scary... I've experienced earthquakes before but not that strong. That was rather strong... and long...
Drill of carrying out body from a broken house was performed.
A Chinese participant said, "I've learned many things today. So far, I have never participated in such activities nor had any experiences with earthquakes."
First aid drill gives instructions on how to give chest compression and artificial respiration.
Participants learned various things, including the information services of multi-lingual disaster information app and making inquiries with disaster language volunteers over telephone.
An Indian participant, "This training is very good. I haven't had many experiences. I've got a lot of experience today."
Toshiyuki Yamazaki, a Tokyo Metropolitan Government official, said, "With the scheduled Olympic and Paralympic Games, as the host city, we look forward to creating a society in Tokyo where everyone including people from other countries can live with peace of mind and is aware of the information that is needed and is to be shared in case of natural disasters."
The construction of infrastructure is important but it's also important to provide support in the soft aspects including the measures intended for foreign residents.