TRAVEL | MY TRIP TO KANSAI, JAPAN - KYOTO BY THE SEA, 海の京都

ine boat houses umi no kyoto
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I’ve been visiting Kyoto by the sea last year during my travels to Japan. Unfortunately, it was typhoon season and while I only had a day visit in this beautiful prefecture, most of my scheduled activities got cancelled due to the weather conditions. This time however I visited in December and had wonderful weather, besides a full 3 day visit to Umi no Kyoto..



I took the train provided by Kyoto Tango Railway to arrive in Kyotango Omiya. I was picked up by a representative and headed to Ine town, where I took a sea taxi and explored Ine town from the the boat side. I did that last year too and I really enjoyed it. The scenery of Ine is unique, as the old fisher houses are up to more than 200 years old. It´s unique for Japan and can´t see anywhere else but there. Additionally, one can feed the birds and take some funny photo while heading back to explore more of Ine. Per example the Mukai Sake Brewery or the Guri Café, which also has an additional floor for guests to stay. After exploring Ine I headed for my hotel for the night which was the Centrale Hotel Kyotango. I was very lucky as a concert was given in the night of my arrival, followed by a huge Japanese buffet and of course a vegan menu for myself.

kyoto travel nature mountain sea japan

The next day started early, as I definitely wanted to shoot in the hotel and was also provided with a kimono, that I was shooting in the lobby. The hotel is very modern and while there was a fresh and healthy breakfast offer for me, I also had the chance to try the delicious bread which is produced by the hotel itself. Unfortunately, I could only stay for one night, as I wanted to explore more of Kyoto by the sea, which is truly a huge area. I headed for the Kasamatsu Park, which is an observatory where you can overlook Amanohashidate. Amanohashidate can be seen in the shape of “一”, the Chinese character for “one.” If one turns one´s back to Amanohashidate and bend over to view the amazing landform from between one´s legs, it looks like a bridge to heaven. This position is called “Matanozoki” in Japanese. The scenery is really lovely and there is even a small café. Close by there is also the Motoise Kano shrine, which I also headed to.

ine fisher town kyoto sea side mountain

Motoise Kono Shrine is an old shrine that has a strong affinity with the famous Ise Shine in Mie Pref. It is said that the goddess of agriculture, Toyouke-Ōmikami, who once resided in this area was called to Ise Shrine by the sun goddess, Amaterasu-Ōmikami, and has since been enshrined at Ise Shrine. Along the railing in front of the main shrine there are five colored suedama, a Shinto motif of which only two shrines in the country are permitted to use – Ise Shrine and Kono Shrine. Within the shrine grounds there is a suikinkutsu, a Japanese garden ornament that produces a beautiful sound like a koto harp, as water drips into an underground cave. Its mysterious tones echo from underfoot and it is as relaxing as it is beautiful.

The legend of the floating bridge from heaven: In ancient times the god Izanagi went to and from the heavens to see the goddess Izanami via the Bridge to the Heavens (Amanohashidate). Now this area is known as the land where men and women can be bound to one another like Izanagi and Izanami were.

kimono shooting japan kyoto hotel

Everyone know that I love cooking and what would be more unique than a self-made souvenir? I was lucky enough o join a miso workshop at “tabel table” in Kyotango Omiya. One can try different tastes of miso and even make their own miso. After the workshop we enjoyed a miso inspired lunch together and I was heading for the next stop which was the Iio Japanese vinegar brewery, also very famous for Kyoto by the sea and used in luxurious restaurants all over the world. Located in a one-lane village on the shore of a bay of the Sea of Japan, Iio Jozo Brewery has been making rice vinegar since 1893. It is the last artisanal maker of rice vinegar in Kyoto prefecture, and the current brewer is fifth generation Akihiro Iio, who together with 19 other employees, makes between 250,000 and 300,000 liters of vinegar a year.

miso workshop tabel tabel maizuru vinegar factory japan

My last stop for Kyoto by the sea was Maizuru. Among the coastal cities on the Sea of Japan, Maizuru, blessed with a close proximity to the sea, started flourishing early and is a city of interest with a long history. Hundred-year-old red brick warehouses, the view from Mt. Gorogadake and a garden of 50.000 hydrangeas are just some of the fascinating things to explore in Maizuru, which is located in the north of Kyoto prefecture. One of the loveliest hotels in Maizuru is the Amabile hotel, which definitely caught by eyes by the first blink, coming from the fact that it´s all colored in pink. It is a 73-room hotel with an old Japanese housing complex (Shoeikan) and something like a small museum, offering authentic Japanese cuisine, also in private dining rooms. 

maizuru city amabile hotel

Unfortunately, I had only a short stay in Maizuru, but I have been really impressed by the Red Brick Park, which I can still remember very lively. It has 5 main buildings, which one of is a museum. There are also some older houses which are not operated anymore. The area is amazing for photo shootings and close to the station. 

Besides Kyoto prefecture is the birthplace of sake more than 600 years ago. In Japan sake is something dedicated to the gods. Kyoto by the sea contains more of 50 percent of all shrines in Kyoto. It is only 90 minutes in distance from Kyoto city, however more focused on nature and offering a different impression. 60% of Japan´s kimono silk production is located in Kyoto by the sea. If I should describe Kyoto by the sea I would say something like: Rich waters, mountains, huge wealth of sea foods which is also used in various Michelin star restaurants, offering 100% local cuisine.

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