If you’re looking for a spectacular tourist destination without all the tourists, you’ll want to visit Kyoto’s sleepy little fishing town that floats on the sea.
Located on the shore of Ine Bay in Kyoto Prefecture is a group of 230 funaya, or boat houses. Known as Ine no Funaya, or The Boat Houses of Ine, the wooden buildings are built on the water’s edge and feature garage-like openings which act as boat moorings for their residents.
Sometimes referred to as the “The Venice of Japan”, the townscape is so unique it’s been designated as a protected area of “important traditional buildings”.
The unique houses were built out of necessity, to maximise the use of a narrow strip of land between the sea and the mountains. This style of wooden architecture is possible here as there’s little tidal movement and the quiet cove provides protection from storms and sea swells.
The two-storey houses feature living quarters upstairs and a bay on the ground floor with direct access to the water and space for a boat and equipment.
You can see how the area is used for drying fish, maintaining nets and making preparations for fishing trips.
With its cluster of wooden huts, the area is breathtakingly picturesque. While it was once primarily a fishing town, more and more boathouses are now being converted into beautiful lodgings for visitors.
Facing the Sea of Japan, the area is known for its wonderfully fresh local seafood, which can be enjoyed at restaurants and lodgings in the area.
Sashimi is presented beautifully to showcase its freshness.
And there’s also plenty of other seafood to try while you’re in the area.
Ine Bay is located around 2.5 hours from central Kyoto or Osaka by car. Alternatively, the town can be accessed via a 50-minute bus ride from Amanohashidate Station. While you won’t find the area advertised in most of the guidebooks, an overnight stay on the water here will be a memory you won’t ever forget.