An Overnight Itinerary To Experience The Best Of Northern Kyoto | CoolJapan

As one of Japan’s most popular travel destinations, Kyoto needs little introduction — it is mentioned in nearly every guide book, every travel blog that talks about the Land of the Rising Sun. If you want to venture outside of the regular tourist routes in Kyoto, consider going up north. This article introduces some attractions for an overnight trip taking you to some of northern Kyoto's most beautiful attractions.



Amanohashidate in winter. (Photo from: Jerome Lee)

Hailed as one of Japan’s three incredible sights, Amanohashidate consists of what is often referred to as a pine-covered sandbar spanning across Miyazu Bay in northern Kyoto Prefecture and offers superb views regardless of the season. We recommend taking the chair lift that goes up to the observation deck and trying out the matanozoki style of viewing the scenery, which is to bend down and look at the view from between your legs. This unique way of viewing the scenery is supposed to resemble a dragon going up to heaven.

Aside from that, enjoy the miniature park and activities created for visitors to enjoy the space, which includes archery, a carousel, and a cafe offering savoury and sweet delights.

Ine Village

Ine Village

The seaside village of Ine, with its many funaya. (Photo from: Shutterstock)

About 30 minutes by car from Amanohashidate, the beautiful fishing village of Ine in North Kyoto is definitely worth a pit stop.  Regarded as one of the most beautiful villages in Japan, Ine is known mainly for its funaya or traditional boat houses, where boats are parked on the first floor of these houses and its residents live on the second floor.

We’d recommend parking your car and taking a stroll amidst the quaint fishing houses, having a seafood lunch at one of the cafes overlooking the sea, or even joining a boat tour going around the fishing village.

Kinosaki Onsen

Kinosaki Onsen

Kinosaki Onsen with crisp greenery adds to the atmosphere of the place. (Photo from: Shutterstock)

Although not technically a part of Kyoto, Kinosaki Onsen is located within northern Hyogo prefecture and is worth a visit if you’re venturing to see Amanohashidate and Ine Village. It’s a traditional yet charmingly picturesque onsen town, with weeping cherry blossom trees lining the side of the main river.

In the evenings after dinner, guests staying at the local ryokans visit the many onsens available in the area, and usually move around dressed in yukata (traditional Japanese clothing provided by ryokans for guests) and geta (wooden Japanese clogs). These ryokans provide an all-access onsen pass that allows unlimited use of any of the onsens in the area within 24 hours.

Sample some of the local delicacies in between visiting each onsen: try a locally made strawberry daifuku, a steamed bun with red bean paste, or even soft serve ice cream made out of namazake (unpasteurised sake)!

(Cover photo from: Shutterstock)