For centuries, Tanabe has been considered to be a gateway to the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes. There the Nakahechi route of the Kumano Kodo turns inland from the coast. Pilgrims who reached this spot, walking all the way from Kyoto, could relax for some time and sink their feet in the warm water of the Pacific Ocean or they could head to one of the many hot springs located in the area. Nowadays the situation hasn't changed much. Tanabe, with its city beach and its close location to Shirahama Onsen resort, has become a popular holiday destination for people living in the Kansai area.
It doesn't matter if you are in Tanabe for pilgrimage reasons or for relaxing times, you are going to need a comfortable bed (or futon) and a shower, and all of this you can find at Buddha Guesthouse. The house is located a convenient 5 minute walk from Kii Tanabe Station, and it is near the Ginza shopping district.
Buddha Guesthouse offers well-priced dormitory-style accommodation. In the house there are two bedrooms with two futons each, separated for men and women (unless they are traveling together). Fans and heating facilities can be found in both rooms.
Meals are not provided. However, a kitchen with a fridge and a microwave is available for guests to use freely. The shared space includes a toilet, a shower, a living room with a flat-screen TV and a small in-house yard which also serves as smoking area. Free Wi-Fi is provided for all guests.
You won't escape Japanese hospitality while staying at Buddha Guesthouse. Here you will be treated as special visitor. It doesn't matter how quietly you walk down the stairs and who discretely you put your shoes on to go out; the owner will hear you, he will track you down and will offer you a damn fine cup of cold tea. If you need directions to go somewhere, he will walk you there. If you need information about public transportation, he will give you a train and bus schedule.
International visitors are more than welcome in the guesthouse. In fact, English and Spanish are spoken here.
However, the best thing about staying in Buddha Guesthouse is its close location to the city beach. Coming from a Mediterranean country, I am used to all hotels located near the ocean to be extremely expensive and crowded. Nevertheless, this does not happen in Japan. From just 2,300 yen a night, you can stay just a 5 minute walk away from Ogigahama Beach, and you won't need to wake up at 6 am in the morning to stick your parasol in the beach sand in order to reserve yourself some space because Tanabe Beach is never really crowded.
The Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route starts near the guest house, although many visitors decide to take the bus for a bit and commence their walk outside of Tanabe City. This Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail will take you to Hongu Town and the Kumano Hongu Taisha shrine.
For those who like to use a bike, rental bicycles are provided for touring the area.
My advise for potential guests is to stay at the Buddha Guesthouse during July's Tanabe Festival. The festival takes place in the area in which the house is located and it is a good opportunity to learn about Japan's culture. The house does not close its doors at night, so you will be able to get in and out any time during the festivities. Enjoy!