Boat docking in a house? Visit the bountiful boathouses of Kyoto by the sea

What is Kyoto by the sea?

The northern part of Kyoto Prefecture is called “Kyoto by the sea.” Locals cherish their unique traditional culture, which developed because the district has served as a trade area with Mainland China since ancient times. Historically, the district has flourished as a fishing town, blessed with gentle rippling water throughout the year. There are about 230 funaya boat houses, the traditional architecture style consisting of a private house with direct boating access to the sea. The landscape is just like Venice, Italy, the city of water.

Funaya, traditional architecture

Funaya boat houses surround Ine Bay, facing the Sea of Japan. They are examples of the area’s traditional architecture. The first floor is used to dock boats and store fishing tools. The second-floor functions as a living space. Some funaya boat houses in Ineura (Ine Bay area) were built in the 18th to 19th century and still exist today. The national government designated the district as an important preservation district of historic buildings.

The district is located on a narrow stretch of land between the mountains and the sea, with few rice paddies or fields. Therefore, fishing is an important industry for the residents. In the past, the villagers used to work together to catch big fish that strayed into Ine Bay. Funaya are suitable for the lifestyle of Ine residents, who mainly engage in fishing-related work. The town is blessed with a location that rarely has big waves and mountains nearby. Visitors can also enjoy a view of funaya from the sea, by riding on a taxi boat, pleasure boat, or kayak.

Getting there:

Take a direct limited express from JR Kyoto Station to Amanohashidate Station or Miyazu Station on Kyoto Tango Railway for about two hours. Then take a bus for about an hour and get off at Ine (Ine Ura Funayagun). Use the bus for Kyogamisaki, Kamanyu, or Ine Yubinkyoku Mae.

Accommodations with a view of funaya

Ine-cho has many nice accommodations, such as guest houses that only accept a single reservation per day to ensure warm hospitality, and hotels that offer meals featuring local specialties. Ine Tourism Association operates a tourist information office that can manage accommodation reservations and offers services in English. This contributes to its growing popularity among foreign tourists. Stay overnight in Ine-cho to experience the lifestyle of people living with the sea!

Kagiya, the funaya guesthouse

Kagiya, the funaya guesthouse, is run by a married couple and only accepts a single reservation per day, for two to six guests. From March to November, they offer an optional tour by taxi boat for 1,000 yen per person. Guests can enjoy fishing for their dinner and riding on the boat of the guesthouse owner, a professional fisherman (4,500 yen per person for two to three hours).

Address: 864 Kameshima, Ine-cho, Yosa-gun, Kyoto

Eight-minute walk from Ine Yubinkyoku Mae bus stop

Lodging fee: 18,000 yen or more per person (includes dinner and breakfast)

An English menu is available. The staff can speak simple English for optional tours.

Kura, the funaya guesthouse

Kura offers seasonal food, including full-course meals based on Japanese amberjack or crabs according to the season. The special cuisine uses local seasonal ingredients such as fish, rice, vegetables, and eggs. Only a single reservation is accepted per day, from two to six guests. Guests can relax, gazing at the sea in front of the charming wooden guesthouse.

Address: 863-1 Kameshima, Ine-cho, Yosa-gun, Kyoto

Seven-minute walk from Ine Yubinkyoku Mae bus stop

Lodging fee: 12,000 yen or more per person (during weekdays, for four to six guests)

Make a reservation with a reservation form. English is acceptable.

Although it is located in the same prefecture, Ine-cho continues to draw attention as a charming destination that offers a completely different feel from the world-famous city of Kyoto. The people of Ine-cho, in keeping with their traditions and customs, continue to live in a way that is closely integrated with the sea. If you plan to travel in Kyoto City, visit Ine-cho to experience profound Japanese culture in a small port town near the Sea of Japan.

To make a reservation for accommodations, kayaking, or a taxi boat, contact Ine Tourism Association. Service is available in English.