When people think of Kyoto, they usually think of the historic temples, people clad in colorful kimonos, and the Arashiyama bamboo forest. All of these are wonderful aspects of visiting the city, but there is actually a lot more places explore! In the far north lies a beautiful fishing village called Ine which welcomes visitors. Ine is extremely important to the history of Kyoto because it is where rice-growing was introduced from China, and it also shows how people traditionally lived by the sea. This culture has been preserved since its establishment and is truly magnificent to see.
There are a number of boathouses called funaya that are available for visitors to stay in, but they require reservation at least 2 months in advance. The advantage to staying in one is that you will have a meal plan and can relax while seeing and an amazing view of the ocean. You can also rent fishing equipment quite easily. I wanted to watch the weather to ensure it was a sunny day when I arrived, so I opted to just take a day trip here.
I’ve been to Kyoto numerous times, but this is the first time that I’ve ever gone this far north! From Kyoto Station, you can take the JR Line to Miyazu, then reach Ine by bus in approximately 3 hours. The trip is very long, but the scenery you see along the way is a great way to pass the time.
The reason I wanted to come to Ine is because it reminds me of Terazzi, a town in one of my favorite PS1 games called Tales of Destiny. Tales of Destiny is an amazing game because it takes the player through forests, castles, harbors, and even to Utopian societies in outer space. Namco utilized the Linear Motion Battle System in the game so you really feel compelled by the battles and the areas you travel through are quite memorable. Though I first played it nearly 10 years ago, I still remember how the towns felt like real places.
Terazzi always stood out to me because it is this beautiful, Venetian-like city but has boat houses almost exactly like those in Ine. Terazzi and Ine are both have a number of residents living in them, but also feel a bit isolated at times. In the game, you must navigate through a maze of waterways to find the entrance to the castle, much like how walking around the boathouses is here (although sadly there is no castle). I can see a clear resemblance of how many port towns in games are inspired by real places like Ine. It feels surreal when you finally experience them in real life!
Going back to reality, when I arrived at Ine, I decided to take a few pictures by the harbor and walk alongside the ocean. There are a few houses you can enter and see the boats up-close in. I went to the tourism office, and they were able to arrange a boat tour for me and a few other people for only 1000 yen. The boat trip was really fun because you get to learn about the history of Ine, and they also give you bird food so you can feed the local birds! They really aren’t afraid of people and flew close to the boat. I was able to capture some amazing photos:
Besides fishing and being on the ocean, you can also walk around and see a few local shrines. There are restaurants and cafes open during certain times as well where you can try the local cuisine and a lot of seafood. I stayed here for about 3 hours, and that was more than enough to see everything I wanted.
If you are an adventurous traveler who has already seen most of Kyoto and likes being near the ocean, I would recommend this trip to you! Please note that this area is quite remote, but easy to navigate on foot. Just be careful to watch the bus timetable when you get off, and you’ll be absolutely fine.