When you think of Kyoto, would you think about the sea? Probably not. However, Kyoto Prefecture stretches all the way from Kyoto city to the Sea of Japan. In this area, there are some nearly unknown and hidden gems that will delight the curious traveler looking for adventure, tradition, and great food. Here’s a 48-hour itinerary to discover the lesser-known northern part of Kyoto Prefecture. Learn about the tradition of silk making, savor an unusual kind of sushi, explore the picturesque boathouses of a fishing town and marvel at one of Japan's most beautiful seascapes.
Take the Silk Route
Your journey starts at the Chirimen Kaido (silk route) in Yosano Town. This road is lined with traditional houses and shops where you’ll learn the history of the Tango Chirimen silk crepe. This high-quality fabric is often used in kimonos. Visit the former Bitou Residence to get a feel for the town’s thriving days.
How to get there: From Kyoto Station, take a train to Fukuchiyama Station. Then take a bus to the Kayachiikikominkan bus stop. Total travel time: approx. 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Try a Layered Sushi
After visiting Chirimen Kaido, explore Tango Peninsula. This area is famous for barazushi, a type of square sushi made of layers of rice and sweet mackerel pressed together. Katagiya restaurant in Kyotango city makes an excellent barazushi. After lunch, head to the nearby Kinoshita brewery for a taste of the local sake. This brewery features a great variety of sake made using old and new recipes.
How to get there: From Chirimen Kaido’s Kayachiikikominkan bus stop, take a bus to Yosano Station. Take a train to Mineyama Station and a bus to the Nonaka bus stop. Katagiya is a short walk away. Total travel time approx. 1 hour and 30 minutes. The Kinoshita Brewery is an 8-minute taxi drive from Katagiya.
Stay at a Refurbished Boathouse
End your day in the quaint fishing town of Ine. This fishing port is famous for the 200 traditional funaya boathouses lined up along the coast. Here, fishermen still lead a simple life in the town’s picturesque streets. Some of the vacant boathouses have been turned into lodgings, so you can experience staying in one of these buildings overlooking the sea.
How to get there: from the Kinoshita Brewery, walk to Kabutoyama Station. Take a train to Amanohashidate Station and then a bus to the Ine bus stop. Total travel time: approx. 2 hours.
Explore Ine Fishing Town
Take some time and enjoy the townscape and tranquility of Ine. You can take a boat cruise along the bay for a panoramic view of the boathouses. The houses are all directly connected to the water through the first floor, an interesting feature that you will notice from the sea. Make sure you also visit the Mukai Brewery and try the unique red sake produced here.
Watch a Dragon Soar into the Sky
Before the end of the trip, head to Amanohashidate and check out one of Japan’s three most scenic panoramas. From the observation deck at Amanohashidate Viewland you can admire the sandbank connecting Miyazu Bay and the Aso Sea. It’s said that when viewed upside down, this scenery looks like a dragon flying up into the sky.
How to get there: From the Ine bus stop, take a bus and get off at the Monju bus stop. Amanohashidate Viewland is 11 minutes away by foot. Total travel time: approx. 1 hour and 10 minutes.