Ine Japan – Japan is a land of enormous crowds, bright flashing neon lights, a multitude of cultural monuments and natural landmarks. It’s where east literally meets west in certain cities and traditions clash heavily with modern trends and the youth culture.
Amongst all this noise sits the quaint charming seaside town of Ine, located north of Kyoto. Ine was developed and established as a fishing village many moons ago, and like many of the smaller coastal and mountain-region towns, it’s still peacefully and happily inhabited by Japanese folk to this day.
Ine is considered one of the most beautiful villages in Japan due to its untouched structures, location facing the Sea of Japan, and surrounding luscious greenery. However, its most charming and popular aspect would be the gorgeous ‘funaya’, which translates to fishermen’s boathouses. These incredibly unique yet beautiful infrastructures sit right above the bay along the coast on the waters and are double-storied – the bottom floor is for the residential families to park their boats, and the upper floors are the living spaces.
These days, whilst it doesn’t attract enormous crowds as some of the major cities do, Ine has really placed itself on the map as a destination to go to for rest and relaxation, to capture the seaside beauty, and an overall unique experience.
How To Get to Ine
It’s a relatively remote area of Japan, so you will need to organise your trip their properly. From JR Kyoto Station, take the JR Hashidate limited express train to Amanohashidate Station. This trip will take just over two hours and will cost 4,790 yen one-way (covered by your JR Pass). From there, you can catch a bus between Amanohashidate to Ine. This ride will take 60-minutes and cost 400 yen. There are buses once every hour.
If organising this trip by yourself is a bit daunting, why not try and book in a tour group? They’re fun, friendly, and all you need to do on the day is rock up! We’ve got an amazing deal with Klook right now which includes a trip to Amanohashidate, Ine, and Miyama in one trip! Check it out here.
Where To Stay In Ine?
It is possible nowadays to actually stay overnight in one of the funayas in Ine if you’d like. Whilst most still remain residential homes, there are a few that have been refurbished and welcome visitors into their lodgings. It’s an experience quite unlike any other to wake up on top of water, with views opening up to the Sea of Japan. If this is an experience you are after, we recommend booking online beforehand to secure a spot.
We have heard from the grapevine that there are two in particular which are foreigner friendly, listed below (however, we’re certain that wherever you book, you will have a grand time regardless):
- Phone: +81-772-32-0815
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: +81-772-32-0608
- Email: email@example.com
Where To Stay Near Ine?
If you’re keen for a day trip but would like to stay a bit closer inland, the town of Amanohashidate is a great choice as it’s located only an hour away from Ine, meaning you can stay until the last bus and be home before you know it.
The gorgeous Ryokan Jinpuso sits right next to the ocean, and is within close distance to the train and the bus station. It’s also within walking distance to the shops and plenty of activities. It’s a relatively small accommodation, however, all necessary amenities are provided and all facilities are well maintained for a comfortable, easy stay. There is also a private onsen onsite for reservation if you’d like.
Why Guests Love It: Whilst the staff do not speak fluent English, they are friendly, accommodating, and are down to have a good laugh (a great sign of a wonderful time!). The location is the best thing about this place, and it’s definitely bang for your buck. Futons are also incredibly soft and comfy!
Book It Now: Jinpuso
This gorgeous 4-star ryokan is superb in every way: beauty, location, facilities, everything. The ryokan open up to the most beautiful views of the ocean, and is extraordinarily well-maintained and clean in every aspect. It’s only a 6-minute walk away from the station, and 10-minutes from the Land Bridge.
Onsite luxuries include onsens baths (both public ones to share as well as private ones to reserve), a Japanese restaurant, an onsite cafe called Hamanasu, and free Wi-Fi for staying guests all throughout the property. You even get a choice as to whether you want to sleep on Western-style bedding to Japanese futon beds.
Why Guests Love It: Everything about this place is amazing: the excellent facilities, the great onsen, good location and good food, especially the Japanese breakfast. Book your own private onsen on the veranda if you can. The onsens provide the best views!
Book It Now: Kitanoya
By the way, there are plenty of things to do in Amanohashidate so make sure you read our travel guide about that place here: Amanohashidate Japan.
Ine Japan – Explore Ine Through a Boat Tour
You cannot skimp on the boat tour in Ine. It’s the thing to do in this little seaside town as a tourist. There are two types of tours you can choose from. If you’re after a light, leisurely tour that takes only 25-minutes and will take you to see the best sights around the bay, opt for the large, sightseeing boats. These boats require no reservation, and is a great choice for those who want to explore the bay last minute. For those who are after a more personalised tour and want to explore in a little more detail, you can opt to reserve a private tour with the local fishermen. This requires a reservation, which can be made at the tourist office at Funaya no Sato Park.
- Address: Japan, 〒626-0424 Kyoto, Yoza District, Ine, Kameshima
- Access: 8-minute walk from the Ine Bus Stop.
- Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Ine Japan – Cycle Around the Small Town
We reckon one of the most therapeutic activities to do in smaller towns that boast almost no crowds, beautiful views, and a laid-back vibe, is to explore it on the bike. Cycling around Ine is one of the best activities you can do in the area. As you leisurely pedal your way through, take in the beautiful ocean views, feel the wind in your hair and on your face, and soak in the rays of sunshine. Pack a picnic and stop somewhere for a lazy lunch – it’s almost a guarantee you won’t be sharing your space with anyone else.
One of the places you’ll probably go through is Funaya no Sato Park, which is the main town area of Ine. It’s sprinkled with shops and restaurants, and also has an observation deck which you can spend some time taking in the stunning panoramic views, as well as the popular tourist information desk where you can ask for recommendations on other activities you might like to try.
Bike rentals are free at the Ine Bus Stop, so don’t forget to check it out once you hop off!
Ine Japan – Sign Up For a Fishing Experience
If you’re down for a fishing experience and are staying overnight in a funaya, we recommend speaking to your funaya host about either organising a personalised fishing trip with them, or being pointed in the direction of the next best person to speak about this. As it is a fishing village, you can imagine that the bites here would be fantastic!
Ine was established in this particular area because the Tango Peninsula, in which it is located, is one of the sea’s richest fishing grounds due to a multitude of natural reasons. You may even get to learn how the local fishermen catch their daily seafood!
Kuraya Guesthouse offers customised fishing trips, so send them an email (well in advance!) and see if you can get a reservation.
Ine is a destination that is great to visit any time of the year. From its peak season (for fresh seafood) in November through to March, to May when you’ll be able to spot dolphins in the ocean, to August when there are festivities to attend and participate in; its beauty and unique charm won’t disappoint. 🙂
PS: More places to visit in Kyoto prefecture here: Kyoto Travel Tips.