This traditional mountain town is a great escape. Located fifty kilometers north of central Kyoto, Miyama is an isolated region known for its kayabuki, which are traditional Japanese thatched roof farmhouses. With its fresh mountain air, serene atmosphere, and old-world vibe, Miyama is a lovely place to escape from the bustling city.

One of the highlights of Miyama is the snow lantern festival held in the thatched village. This enchanting event takes place from late January to early February, transforming the town into a magical winter wonderland. The soft glow of the lanterns illuminates the snow-covered streets, creating a picturesque scene straight out of a fairytale.

To explore Miyama and its surrounding areas, visitors can rent bicycles to ride around. This allows for a leisurely and immersive experience, as you can pedal your way through the charming streets, taking in the beautiful scenery at your own pace. The English-language guided tour of the village is also highly recommended, as it provides valuable insights into the history and traditions of Miyama.

Getting to Miyama is relatively easy. Travelers can take a local or rapid train on the JR San-in Line to Hiyoshi Station, and from there, they can hop on a Nantan Bus that will take them directly into Miyama. The journey itself is a treat, as it offers stunning views of the countryside and allows you to get a glimpse of rural life in japan.

One of the unique aspects of Miyama is that unlike most other kayabuki found in Japan, the majority of the 200 houses in Miyama are private residences. This means that visitors have the opportunity to witness firsthand the daily lives of the residents and experience the authentic charm of the town. Some of the residents are skilled craftspeople, specializing in traditional arts such as basket making and roof thatching.

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The main village in Miyama is called Kayabuki no Sato, which is made up of 39 kayabuki houses. It boasts the largest concentration of thatched roof houses in Japan. Strolling through the village feels like stepping back in time, as you admire the intricately designed roofs and soak in the rich history that emanates from every corner.

For a truly immersive experience, visitors can choose to stay overnight in one of Kayabuki no Sato’s minshuku, or guesthouses. These traditional homes offer a unique opportunity to sleep in a kayabuki and fully immerse yourself in the local culture. The accommodations are cozy and comfortable, and the meals served feature locally sourced produce, giving you a taste of the region’s culinary delights.

While in Miyama, be sure to visit the Kayabuki no Sato Folk Museum. Here, you can explore traditional tools and household items that were once used in daily life. One of the highlights of the museum is the opportunity to see the back side of the kayabuki roof, where you can marvel at the intricate craftsmanship that goes into creating these traditional structures.

Near the folk museum, you’ll find the Little Indigo Museum, a small indigo dyeing studio and gallery. Indigo dyeing is a traditional Japanese craft that has been practiced for centuries, and this museum offers a fascinating insight into the art form. You can learn about the history of indigo dyeing, witness the dyeing process, and even try your hand at creating your own indigo-dyed fabric.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Miyama offers a plethora of activities to indulge in. One popular choice is to take a tour of Miyama with a local English-speaking guide. This allows you to learn about the history and traditions of the traditional village while exploring its hidden gems. The guide can take you to a hidden waterfall, where you can marvel at the natural beauty of the area. Cycling is also a popular activity in Miyama, as the town’s peaceful streets and scenic countryside provide the perfect backdrop for a leisurely bike ride. Additionally, river rafting is available for those who seek a more adventurous experience.

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In conclusion, Miyama is a hidden gem that offers a unique and authentic experience for travelers seeking a break from the city. With its traditional kayabuki houses, serene atmosphere, and abundance of outdoor activities, Miyama is a destination that captures the essence of rural Japan. Whether you choose to explore the charming streets by bicycle, stay overnight in a traditional kayabuki, or immerse yourself in the local culture at the museums, a visit to Miyama is sure to be a memorable experience. So, pack your bags, leave the bustling city behind, and embark on a journey to this traditional mountain town.

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Natan-shi, Kyoto-fu

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