Winter at the old village of Kayabuki
Located in the south-west of Kyoto, the old village of Kayabuki in Miyama is one of the most beautiful destinations in Japan, especially in snow season.
Miyama Kayabukia appears as if it's an old fairy tale with thatched-roofed houses built hundreds of years ago.
50km to the north of the old capital Kyoto, Kayabuki is a mountainous rural village (Yamamura), with rustic yet charming beauty. Today, I will take you on a tour around the village to see what's so interesting about it!
The old houses remaining in Miyama are gathered here, mostly thatched roof houses, which brings a rustic and vintage vibe to the scenery.
During snow season, the roofs covered with white snow create a dream-like picture of the village.
As far as I know, the village's primary source of income is from forestry. The village lies between Kyoto and Wakasa, therefore it was a part of the Sabakaido Road - used to transport seafood to the capital in ancient times.
I knew of this place rather by chance. During my winter break, I wanted to go out and experience the cold of Japan so I searched for some places in Kyoto. Coincidentally, a photo of this village popped out on Facebook and I thought "this is such an ideal place". I booked a ticket to get here right on the next day.
I caught the bus of Keihan Line which I had booked the ticket one day in advance in case it would be full. You can book the ticket online or go to the ticket booth of Keihan on the 1st floor of Hotel Keihan Kyoto Grande.
If you haven't reserved yet, you can go to Kyoto Station and ask the driver. And if lucky, there would still be a seat available for you but for the best, you should book the ticket in advance to save time and efforts. The fee for this trip was only 1800¥/one-way trip, pretty reasonable.
Departed at 10.30 am, it was a 2-hour ride. If you went by car from the centre of Kyoto to Miyama, it would be faster, around 1.5 hours.
As I was watching the scenery along the way, I noticed that though the snow was less heavy, the trees and houses were still covered with thick snow. On the way to the village, I ran into some wildflowers on the sides and colourful and lovely small gardens.
As it would be quite cold, you should dress warmly when going out in winter. I only took off my jacket for some "virtual-life" photos and I already trembled from head to toe, but in return, the result was worth it!
There were streams and mountains around the village, thus tourists could go for a stroll and hike. The area was surrounded by mountains of 1000m high when winter came. The forest was "silver-coated" with a gloomy vibe compare to the bright and vibrant feel in other seasons.
Unlike the hustle and bustle at other attractions in Kyoto, this old village only had a few dozens to a few hundreds tourists each day. Indeed, the ancient village was able to keep its serenity and simplicity. The local people were very friendly when we came and greeted.
I strolled around, taking in the scenery and getting to know more about the local customs. According to the locals, when the snowfall was most beautiful, they would hold the snow lantern festival. What a great experience to be part of nature, with the cool breeze blowing through that made me feel cheerier.
The landscape here felt like pristine Japan as the thatched roofs were very well-preserved.
One of the reasons why Kayabuki was preserved so successfully might be that you had to go through a lot of mountains from the city centre to get here. The traffic was not so convenient, hence it was not part of the development goals.
The trip only lasted one afternoon but it was enough for me to fully explore the beauty of this place. Coming to the village, you would feel the serenity, the people and nature became one.
Though I came back to the hustle and bustle of Kyoto, the memories made at this charming village was imprinted vividly in my mind: the small village with bushes on the sideways, the chilling stream flowing around the village or the refreshing atmosphere.
Coming here, not only can you witness those wonderful things but also take picturesque photos in winter. So what are you waiting for and come here in winter?
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