With cherry blossoms in the spring, maple leaves in the autumn and snow in the winter, Nantan City has begun to garner much attention for its quaint, beautiful year-round mountain villages.
In this article, we showcase two ways to enjoy Nantan City. The first is a day trip to the township of “Miyama” known for its thatched roofs, and the second, a night of Japanese onsen hot springs and glamping in “Rurikei Valley!”
If you’re looking to get away from the city and relax among nature, but still want to be able to get back to Kyoto Station via train/bus, then these two itineraries are for you!
*note that all times below are based on a November 2019 weekday timetable.
Alright then, let’s grab Vanessa and head out!
9:00 a.m: Arrive at JR Hiyoshi Station
From Kyoto Station platform 32, 33 or 34, catch the Sagano Line to JR Hiyoshi Station. You can’t use IC train cards at the JR Hiyoshi Station, so make sure to buy a ticket at Kyoto Station, which will cost ￥770.
9:10 a.m: From JR Hiyoshi Station, take the bus to “Kita.” When on the bus, make sure to pay the ￥600 fare via the machine at the front of the bus.
9:56 a.m: Arrive at the “Kita” bus stop
From here, you will see Miyama’s famous thatched village known as “Miyama Kayabuki-no-Sato.” The bygone look of the village gives it a wonderfully unique and old-timey feel. Like the buildings in Kyoto City’s Gion district and the Kiyomizu area’s Sannenzaka, Miyama’s “Kayabuki-no-Sato,” thatched village, has been designated as a Group of Traditional Buildings since December 1993. Providing a look back into Kyoto’s past, this village is an incredibly important place to those who call Kyoto home.
While the village’s thatched roofs might be impressive, more than anything, the biggest draw to Kayabuki-no-Sato is its incredible seasonally fluid scenery. With cherry blossoms in the spring, fresh leaves in the summer, firey maples in the autumn and blanketed snow in the winter, the village graces those who visit with entirely new landscapes each season.
The most popular time for the village is, however, winter. Every year from late January to early February, the village puts up lights and illuminates the feathery coverings of snow that sit atop the thatched roofs.
In 2020, you will be able to catch the lights for yourself from January 25 (Sat) to February 1 (Sat) between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. every night.
There’s also more to do than just look; you can even experience making a snow lantern for yourself too!
*participation fee: ￥100｜Start time: 3 p.m.
The village of Kayabuki-no-Sato is made up of around 50 houses, 80% of which are thatched. In addition to private homes, there are also inns, souvenir shops, cafes and a museum.
Vanessa had a café that she wanted to try, so we made our way there.
10:00 a.m: Take a Break at Café Miran
Run by a Miyama chicken farm, Café Mirin not only sells eggs but uses them in a range of sweet treats!
The notably eggy “pudding,” rich Miyama milk “gelato” and light “soy milk café au lait” are a hit with all who come to the village. The pudding contains no added preservatives and can only be found at Café Miran.
・Pudding: ￥300/inc. tax
・Gelato (all flavors): ￥350/inc. tax
・Soy Milk Café Au Lait: ￥450/inc. tax
In addition to the café sweets, Miran also sells individually wrapped pieces of chiffon cake, which are perfect for both breakfast or as a snack.
The interior sports a cozy log cabin-like design, and if you ask the friendly staff for their recommendation, they'll give it to you straight; "the boiled eggs" (￥50/inc. tax).
Take a break at Café Miran and enjoy their delicious menu packed with fresh, local eggs.
*Note that Café Miran is cash only. As almost all stores in the village don't accept credit cards, make sure to bring plenty of cash.
● Café Miran
Open Hours: Around 10 a.m. – around 5 p.m.(last order: 4:30 p.m.)
Closed: Wednesday, New Year’s Holidays (2019/12/29 – 2020/1/3) & irregular holidays
11:00 a.m: Tour the Miyama Folk Museum
At the Miyama Folk Museum, you can step inside a thatched house, learn about its construction and get a look at the everyday tools people used in ancient Japan.
At ￥300 (inc. tax) per adult, it’s also very reasonably priced.
The original building was burned down in 2000, but thanks to remaining records, it was able to be rebuilt. Walking around inside, you’ll be able to get a sense of the coziness and tranquility of ancient Japanese homes.
Inside the museum, there is an old cowshed and over 200 different tools and clothes that were used for farming in the olden days. Being able to look over all the various tools and see how people used to apply their ingenuity and knowhow to agriculture was surprisingly very interesting.
You can also enjoy a free cup of herbal tea made from medicinal plants gathered from nearby Mount Miyama. With ingredients such as mugwort and bamboo leaves, the tea contains a refreshingly light flavor, so definitely give it a try.
● Miyama Fold Museum
Open Hours: December – March: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.｜April – November: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed: New Year’s Holidays *closed Mondays during the period between December and March
Admission Fee: Adult:￥300｜Highschool Student: ￥150｜Elementary/middle school student: free
After walking around and taking photos of the village, it should be about time for lunch.
If you head 15 minutes down the road you came from, you will see a log cabin to your right.
12:30 p.m: Enjoy Lunch at the Miyama Omoshiro Farmers’ Club
After walking around in the cold mountain air, this restaurant and its cozy fireplace feel like they are welcoming you with a big warm hug.
Miyama Omoshiro Farmers' Club is known for its Kyoto venison, chicken, pork and sausages made from locally sourced Mount Miyama vegetables.
Also, with its 100% preservative and additive-free menu, it's a wonderful place to grab lunch with the kids as well.
This is Miyama Omoshiro Farmers’ Club’s “7 Sausage Platter”(￥1,640/inc. tax).
This platter also comes with two slices of brown rice bread, which you can either eat in between bites of sausage or use to make yourself a hot dog.
The types of sausages are black pepper, frankfurter, venison, Kyoto mibuna wild mustard, Manganji peppers, Bierschinken, and chili. All have their own unique, robust flavors that’ll be sure to give you the energy to take on the rest of the day.
For those who’re hankering for a beer with their sausages, don’t worry, the Miyama Omoshiro Farmers’ Club sells a variety of bottled beers as well.
In addition to the restaurant, the Miyama Omoshiro Farmers’ Club also sells frozen, prepackaged sausages as well.
While they’re delicious when cooked, the venison ham and smoked chicken sausages taste just as good defrosted. So if you’re looking for something to enjoy with a drink back at your hotel, then these might be perfect for you.
The smoked chicken comes in chili pepper, black pepper and Japanese sansho pepper flavors.
・Venison Ham: ¥825 excl. tax
・Smoked Chicken (all flavors): ¥500 excl. tax
● Miyama Omoshiro Farmers’ Club
Open Hours: 10 a.m. – Around sunset
Closed: Tuesdays, New Year’s Holidays
After filling up, head to the Miyama rest stop for souvenir shopping.
2:02 p.m: Take the bus from the “Minami” bus stop.
The bus stop is about 5 minutes’ walk from Miyama Omoshiro Farmers’ Club.
Take the ¥300 journey to the“Agake” bus stop.
2:12 p.m: Arrive at the“Agake” bus stop
The area behind the bus stop – with the blue-roofed building – is the “Roadside Station MIYAMA” rest stop.
In the rest stop, there are several buildings, including a tourist information center, wholesaler of Miyama milk, “Miyama Megumi Milk Factory”, and shop, "Furatto Miyama."
Below are several local specialties and souvenirs from Furatto Miyama that caught our eye.
In this sake corner, there was a selection of sake, nigori sake and shochu made from Miyama rice. Pictured in the foreground is "Kaya no Sato," a sake exclusive to the area, so if you happen upon it, don’t pass up the opportunity to get yourself a bottle.
Locally produced and original Miyama sauces and seasonings can also be found here too, including Japan's favorite and the all-important, soy sauce, to slightly sour ponzu – which goes perfectly with creamy Kyoto tofu.
These are original Roadside Station MIYAMA stickers of Route 162, the route which passes in front of the rest stop.
We thought the realistic road sign and rest stop sign designs were super cool.
These stickers are ¥300 (inc. tax) each, so pick one up to remember your trip to Miyama by.
Once you're done with shopping, head out to see the beautiful countryside of Miyama.
3:39 p.m: Catch the bus from “Agake” to the “Izumi” bus stop.
3:53 p.m: Get off at Izumi to transfer buses.
4:22 p.m: Catch the bus bound for Ohono Dam from “Izumi.”
4:46 p.m: Explore Ohno Dam
Ohno Dam is located in the center of the Yura River, which flows to the ocean above Maizuru City in Northen Kyoto.
On the dam, there is a path you can freely walk and a wide-open area. Over 1,000 cherry blossoms and 500 maples also surround the dam, coloring it different shades throughout the year.
The area also plays host to a cherry blossom festival in April and a maple festival in November.
At the festival, you can enjoy stalls selling local food, a market with regional specialties like natto and konjac, and even live music and performances by the locals.
You can snag a taste of a particularly special local food while you’re there too. The "Furusato Nabe" is a massive hot pot filled with Miyama’s famous seasonal vegetables. This hot pot is served free of charge to those at the festival, so if you happen to be in the area, then why not give it a try?
As the sun sets early in the mountains, it’s best to head home before it gets too dark out.
5:34 p.m: Take the bus from the Ohno Dam to the JR Wachi Station. From there catch the train to Kyoto Station.
For more information on Miyama and Nantan City, see the following link!
▼ Miyama HP
▼Nantan City Official Pamphlet
|Miyabi[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]|