I love visiting traditional towns like Shirakawago so when I found out there was one near Kyoto by the name of Miyama, I practically jumped for joy.
During my time in Kyoto, I was lucky enough to visit Miyama, a beautiful traditional Japanese thatched roof village/town about 90 minutes north of Kyoto. So for those who are staying in Kyoto/Osaka who want to visit a thatched roof village, Miyama is the perfect choice for you.
It’s close to these cities and is relatively undiscovered compared to more popular destinations such as Shirakwago, which by the way, is absolutely stunning, better developed for tourists but also completely swamped with them.
In contrast to Shirakawago, Miyama is very quiet and peaceful, but it’s also a completely residential village as well with actual people trying to live out their daily lives over here!
We spent a morning wandering through Miyama, but with the travel to and from, it can definitely equate to a half-day kind of trip.
To get to Miyama, you can take the JR Sagano Line from Kyoto station to Sonobe Station or Hiyoshi Station, then take teh Nantan city bus to Miyama.
The beautiful town of Miyama is surrounded by stunning mountains in every direction and beautiful forests too.
The village of Miyama contains more than 200 of these traditional thatched roof (kayabuki) farmhouses. However, the main area is the northern side, Kayabuki No Sato, which contains almost 40 of these farmhouses in a small area. Whilst most of these farmhouses are residential, there is one that has been restored into a museum – Kayabuki no Sato Folk Museum – which you can wander inside to see how these farmhouses are constructed, and to view the traditional tools and household items that were once used here.
Nearby there is also an Indigo Museum however we didn’t get the chance to check that out.
One thing Shirakawago has over Miyama is a beautiful panoramic viewing platform. It would be so lovely if you could see Miyama from above, but Miyama’s lack of such a platform does help it maintain is real off-the-beaten-path charm. Though if you want a beautiful picture of Miyama, the approach up to the town gives you a stunning view of the farmhouses with mountains surrounding.
If you’re in Miyama around lunch, there’s a cute little restaurant that I went to nearby called Chinsenro. Here, I had a delicious sukiyaki lunch set which contained a little hotpot of meat and veggies, rice, raw egg, pickles, miso and more. The perfect way to start or end your time in this town.
Hope this gives you an insight into this relatively unknown town – definitely worth a stopover if you have the time!