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Photo By: PIXTA/ adigosts
Region
Kansai
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Kyoto
Population
2,644,331

Ine

Explore northern Kyoto’s tucked-away village on the sea.

By Vincent Van Patten

If you’re keen on exploring one of Japan’s lesser-known getaways, look no further than Ine, a quaint fishing village in northern Kyoto Prefecture. Nestled along the Ine Bay between the mountains and the sea, Ine was once part of the ancient trade route between China and Kyoto.

On a visit to Ine, you’ll find locals heading out for a day’s work upon the lapping waves, casting their lines and fishing nets. The year-round stillness of the sea makes Ine’s distinguishing characteristic possible: funaya, wooden boat houses that sit directly on the water.

Enjoy Ine Like a Local

Ine

Photo by: PIXTA/ adigosts Funaya guest houses can be booked online for an unforgettable stay.

It’s believed that funaya were first constructed around 400 years ago, at the beginning of the Edo Period. The wooden boats would rot if left in the water, so fishers used the first thatched-roof funaya as garages where they would pull the boats and nets up into storage.

The funaya aren’t merely relics of the past. Some are still used to store boats, yet they are now used both as docks and as homes for the local fishers. Luckily for visitors, some have been converted into minshuku (guest houses) and can be booked online for an unforgettable stay.

Explore the Coastline

Ine

Photo by: PIXTA/ adigosts Kayaking tours run from late April until the end of September.

Explore the coastline as part of a kayaking tour, where you may cruise beside mysterious caves and atop rocky reefs. The tours begin at Ine’s Honjohama beach, believed to be the location for the Japanese fairy tale “Taro Urashima.”

Tandem kayaks cost ¥6,000 for kids 11 years old and under, and ¥ 7,000 for those 12 and older. The tours booked through the Tourism Center last for two hours while other companies offer half-day or full-day excursions. Kayaking tours run from late April until the end of September.

Take a Sea Taxi or Sightseeing Ferry

Ine

Photo by: PIXTA/ papa88 You won’t want to leave Ine without gazing upon the funaya from the water.

Catch a ride with a local fisher or hop aboard the Ine Bay Sightseeing Ferry, which holds around 150 passengers. Both tours last around 30 minutes.

Sea taxis are the most personal experience, as they are operated by the local fishers who call the funaya home. A prior reservation isn’t needed. Once in Ine, tours can be accessed at the Tourism Center.

Things To Know

Visiting Ine

As Ine is a small town with no convenient stores, minshuku usually offers two meals and even an onsen bath. 

There is no swimming in the funaya area. But if you’re feeling adventurous, head over to Tomari Beach or Honjyohama Beach for a dip, 10 and 15 minutes from town by car, respectively. 

Only a few places accept credit cards in Ine, so bring cash. The ATM is located in the Ine Post Office. For a cruise around the bay, the Ine tourism bikes can be rented for free without reservation. 

How To Get There

Address

By train

From Osaka

Take the JR Fukuchiyama Line from JR Osaka station to Fukuchiyama station. From there, take the JR Hashidate Limited Express to Amanohashidate station. Buses run from Amanohashidate station and Ine about once an hour. The ride takes about an hour. 

From Kyoto

Take the JR Hashidate Limited Express from Kyoto station to Amanohashidate station. Buses run from Amanohashidate station and Ine about once an hour. The ride takes about an hour. 

By car

About 2.5 hours from Osaka, and about 2 from Kyoto.


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