Everyone knows Kansai region but most will travel to Kyoto and Osaka through the Kansai International airport. My trip this time is really to go beyond the tried and tested and look at other places that most tourists will not venture out because of time constraints especially with Singaporean’s very limited amount of leaves they can muster.
So in 10 days, we tried to be a bit different and yet get an experience that I hope my family will remember better than your typical tour+shop types of trip. With some help from Khamisah of Xtrekkers we decided to venture to Misugi, Miyama and Kyotango in March.
MISUGI (MIE Prefecture)
Nestled in a valley full of forest trees Misugi is a place where locals like to go for a nice dip of the onsen, definitely welcomed after a long flight from Singapore.
To reach Misugi, we bought the Kintetsu pass from the airport and make our way through Namba station to Sakakibara-onsenguchi Station. From there a shuttle bus from the hotel picked us up. Do make prior arrangements with the staff at the hotel.
Once you reach Sakakibara-onsenguchi, you are right in the heart of the Japanese countryside with greenery and fresh air. Perfect!
We stayed over at Misugi Resort Hotel Annex that is perched on the side of the valley overlooking the area. They have various types of accommodation including log houses and chalets but we took the Japanese tatami styled rooms.
We got hungry from all the travelling and decided to do a bit of trekking to see the surrounding area too. We went to the river bed and chanced upon a local eatery that provides the local venison and river fish called “Amago”.
MIYAMA (Kyoto Prefecture)
Most of those who are thinking of going to Japan, the thatched roofs of farmhouses of Shirakawago are always in the minds of the planners. Being a UNESCO heritage site this is almost a given that a lot of people will visit just like the Taj Mahal of India, Borobudur of Indonesia or Ankor Wat of Cambodia.
The bad news is also the number of tourists visiting such sites and Miyama, more famous amongst Japanese tourists but doesn’t feature much for International Visitors is definitely a quieter alternative.
Miyama is rural area in the mountains some 30km from Kyoto. Like Shirakawago, they also have a thatched roof (Kayabuki) farmhouses village nestled in the valley of Miyama. The best part is that the locals still live and work in the village so even though tourists came and visit, it still does not overwhelm and lends it an air of authenticity.
To reach there we took a train to Hiyoshi Station from Kyoto main station. From there we take a bus into Miyama.
The place where we stayed is called Tautasya Farm. Situated right next to the forested area and a stream, it can be called an educational farm akin to an adventure camp. They have pretty interesting activities from agriculture to hunting deers.
In the compound they have 3 log cottages that is at once rustic and yet very comfortable. Inside each cottage can sleep 8 people and it is heated with an iron stove. With snow this place reminds me of the log cabins up in the mountains (though we are in the mountains and it is a log cottage).
In terms of food it cannot get any better. We had venison stew filled with self grown organic vegetables and the whole pot will cost an arm and a leg. It was delicious, filling and fresh. Best ‘normal’ food I have had in years.
KYOTANGO (Kyoto Prefecture)
The next part of our journey is to the seaside town of Kyotango. The local tourism office labelled Kyotango as Kyoto by the sea. Pretty interesting way to describe the place actually.
Like I said, Kyotango is by the sea, Sea of Japan actually so that means a few things. Super fresh seafood, beautiful sunset and mesmerising coastal area. That means great food, landscape and more landscapes.
Well this time is a bit different. With some arrangements made with Xtrekkers, I prepared a kimono shoot session for my wife.
I got to make it a point to thank 女将 IKEDA-san, who runs the Totoya Inn is just right next to the iconic Tateiwa Rock on the coast of Totoya. If you are an avid photographer, it is within walking distance to a few choice locations for beautiful sunsets, sandy landscapes and a cliff for some great photography too.
And I seriously need to mention their food quality is impeccable. The King Crab is out of this world. Highly recommend this place if you choose to visit Kyotango.
I didn’t know 8 Days and Today (same content as 8 Days) were invited to Kyotango last year too. Judging by the photos and the report I can say they have not scratched the surface for this area.
The beach just behind Totoya is also another trove of possible locations for the avid landscape photographer. With Tateiwa and wooden bridge it allows multiple possibilities to shoot landscapes, including start studded nightscapes.
My Gear for the Trip
Huawei Mate 20 Pro Smartphone and Content Creation Center
Nikon D500 with Laowa 12mm f2.8 DSLR
Parrot ANAFI Drone
About Wilson Wong Founder of the 10000+ members Singapore Photography Interest Network photography group, avid gadget lover and budget wanderluster. He also writes for Techgoondu.com a tech website for the non-techies about the latest trends in personal tech. His wish is to help people get the right stuff and enjoy life without cutting off limbs to do so.
X-Trekkers Adventure Consultant Pte Ltd (“X-Trekkers”) is a leading pioneer in the area of adventure travel and we take pride in bringing regular people to the farthest places on our wild and intricate planet. You can contact them via email at firstname.lastname@example.org