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Welcome to my blog!

If you are in for an adventure paired with lengthy, quirky, brutal honest thoughts then you are in the right place.

My name is Arisa and was a cosplayer for 12 years in Malaysia before settling down in Kyoto, Japan. Exploring Japan full time has been a long time dream of mine, so let's explore it together!
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2D1N Miyazu City, Kyoto Itinerary | Ine no Funaya & Amanohashidate

Miyazu city, northern part of Kyoto just roughly 2.5 hrs away from Kyoto city and this coastal city offers a totally different prespective of Kyoto; that we aren't just about torii gates, shrines/ temples, bamboos all the way. There are many ways to get here and one of them involved riding the Tango Railway, that is IF you have time to spare for slow long distance traveling, from what i've read it has a beautiful scenic view but this round i drove so i have more control over my schedule  (can stop & go as i please) especially with a baby along, personally i would recommend driving because some areas are hard to reach by public transport alone (limited schedule) unless are using those designated buses or cycling around (wouldn't recommend this unless you are used to long distance cycling).

Say hello to our chibi ride!

I previously covered a small part of Miyazu city during my first visit to Amanohashidate last spring; not only did i fell in love with the sight, it somewhat felt like home to me. Not sure why i have such a soft spot for the sea haha, maybe it does remind me of home back in Malacca where the sea is like a 5 mins walking distance lol and we used to play/ stroll there frequently. 

Most locals or frequent Japan visitors would have probably heard of this small sleepy fishing town with population of less than 2000 people called Ine no Funaya, but compared to Amanohashidate the latter is more popular because it holds the title of being one of the "Top 3 Scenic Spots in Japan" while Ine often gets overshadowed (also because it's slightly out of the way from the main city area) but lately there are more travellers who seeks off the beaten path trails for a quiet yet adventerous travel experience. Ine definitely offers both, it's not crowded with tourists (yet, hope it stays that way) and the view here is seriously beyond breathtaking.

Our short 2 DAYS 1 NIGHT Trip started with Amanohashidate (yes our 2nd visit), as it is lil penguin's first time here and spending the night at a nearby Ryokan before driving up to Ine which took roughly about 40 mins +, we took an hour thanks to a short detour for these amazing fresh chikuwa (fish sticks) which i've mentioned before in my previous entry. Seriously must try!

Didn't really do much planning as we are traveling with a baby and trying to cramp in as much as possible seems like a bad idea so this relaxing itineary is definitely baby proof.
Rest assured, we had all those milk, snack, diaper breaks along the way, add them all together that's easily extra 2 hrs+ taken from your initial traveling plans.

If you would like to spend more time in the area the best would be to depart early like 6-7am but getting yourself and the whole family ready, we all know the earliest we would get on the road is after breakfast lol or else you are gonna deal with a cranky and hungry baby. Big Nope, your schedule gotta revolve around your little "highnesses" 😂
A whole new experience for us as we did learn alot from this road trip!

Kyoto Station → Amanohashidate 
Departure time: 10am

We rented a car from Kyoto station and scheduled to pick it up at 8.30am because the "plan" was to reach Amanohashidate before lunch and like every family trip with kids. Forgetting things are bound to happen so we had to go back home and grab the stuff before hitting the road, so as expected "setbacks". The roads heading to Miyazu passes by quite a number of cities in Kyoto, the built in GPS (make sure to request for "English" when you book online) is pretty helpful so you don't need to waste your phone battery using google maps.

To take note when renting cars in Japan:

2nd time driving in Japan and i still got it (rusty but ain't so bad), also this round the car we rented was slightly different from the usual auto cars.
In Malaysia our handbrakes (duh it's called "HAND-brakes") are always next to our gearbox but in Japan some car models have their handbrakes at the bottom left next to your gas paddle, i freaked out for a moment thinking it was a manual car because with that paddle position we would have called it the "clutch". Seriously didn't know about it until the people at the car rental store told me to just "push" far left paddle instead of telling me it's a "handbrake".So guys do take note!

There isn't much rest stops (or konbini) during this 2.5 hr drive up especially once you hit the highways so make sure to go to toilet before departure and stock up on drinks & snacks.

Arrival: 1pm+

Our first stop is lunch because everyone is starving and i really didn't expect to find Amanohashidate so crowded compared to last year! There's barely any parking so we had to drive around the area searching for one that isn't full and doesn't cost 1000yen, even parking prices hiked up :(
Guess that's what happens when place become popular tourist spots, everything becomes expensive. We managed to find one at 500 yen per entry (lucky) so we decided leave the car there for the day and walk around as it's a small area anyway (everything is within the 1km radius).

Went for lunch at some random seafood donburi store, seriously not much to eat around here and most of them are crowded with tourist. Price as expected, tourist price as well lol.

Amanohashidate Viewland, Mt.Monju

To be honest i never knew that you can view Amanohashidate from both sides, previously i took a ferry ride opposite of the sandbar and saw the "Heaven's bridge" from Kasamatsu Park (blindly followed the boyfriend, haven't upgraded to danna yet lol). This round i found Amanohashidate Viewland by accident as it wasn't too far from our parking spot which also had a big & clean public toilet to change lil penguin's diapers.
Amanohashidate Viewland's monorail are wheelchair/ stroller friendly as it has a lift next to the ticketing counter heading up to the monorail platform.

Roundtrip ticket:  850 yen per adult (Kasamatsu park costs 660yen round trip)

Kasamatsu park actually isn't any cheaper because you'll still need to pay for a ferry ride opposite or rent a bike to get there (walking takes 1hr+).

Why you should go up BOTH Mt Monju & Kasamatsu Park
If you ask me to choose, i would say go up both if possible because each side offers a different view of the sandbar, from Viewland it looks like a dragon flying in the sky while from Kasamatsu Park it looks like a floating bridge in the heavens! All these can be seen in between your legs lol, don't worry there is a platform and photo spot for it, make sure to NOT, i repeat.. NOT wear skirts up here as it can get rather windy.

For families with small children, i would recommend to go for Viewland because it has a mini "themepark" going on up there, tons of children friendly rides (pay per ride system). You can exhaust them there and they'll sleep like a rock once you guys check into your hotel room lol.
There's a mini carousel, trains, ferris wheel rides and even a pedal powered roller coaster (quite popular in Japan), something all both adults and children would enjoy together.
Lil penguin's first ride on the carousel and she was so excited!

There's even a nursing room up here!

We actually wanted to have a swim down at the sandbar stretch (they allow swimming during summer) but we were kinda behind schedule and the sun is setting, honestly i was exhausted from the long drive having slept a mere 2 hour the night before from all the packing & house cleaning so we don't come to a bug infestation (stupid house flies). Also in all honesty the color of the sea water here isn't exactly "clean" because it looks kinda murky for Japan standards unlike the beaches i've seen in Chiba, Tottotri and Yamaguchi prefecture (←the best in my books, super clear & blue). It's a good thing we skipped swimming because i wouldn't want to deal with any potential skin allergies later.

Kitanoya Ryokan
Check in: 5pm (check-in time from 4pm onwards)

You know living in Kyoto i honestly couldn't recommend any good onsen around because we aren't exactly known for natural hot springs especially in the middle of the city lol but here in Miyazu there are a few popular onsen spots facing the sea.

Please excuse the grainy picture it was taken on Iphone and the sun was setting

Our tatami room

Comes with a massage chair too

Coming across this ryokan was by pure luck on booking.com, googled around and found the reviews were good plus it's hard to say no especially when the rates for rooms that came along with a private rotenburo (outdoor onsen) were decent!
Normally these kind of rooms with private onsen + good view would cost you an arm & leg just for one night (literally RM1000 & above) but we paid about 15,000yen+ (less than RM600) per adult for 1 night + breakfast while baby below 1 is free.

Morning soak

The key to get a good rate is also to avoid peak travel seasons, summer period is one of them; just make sure to not clash with Japanese summer holidays like Obon. You can google for Japan's public holidays.

Wished we could stay longer because it's our first time using a private rotenburo as we usually use the public ones, and yes i'm immune to the sight of naked bodies because everyone had the same bits. Lil penguin enjoyed her warm soak very much (wayyyy better than all of us imagined), could see her drifting to sleep halfway haha and the best part she sleep through the night without waking up (super rare accurance). Definitely the warm soak contributed to it! 😆

Private rotenburo is not only a great option for family with small children but also for guests with visible tattoes.

Breakfast time was abit short especially after feeding penguin i barely had time to gobble up my food before it was closing time (paiseh, because we were the last ti leave) but the staff was super kind to prepare a baby bed/ chair & dining utensils for us without even requesting. Such hospitality, it really just makes my heart all warm and fuzzy 😭 Thank you so much Kitanoya!!

Look at her highness on her throne

The food served was traditional Japanese washoku, pretty normal and nothing to hype about but the taste does remind you of home.

Also need to warn you guys about dinner time in the area, please eat before 6pm or book your dinner at the Ryokan (8000yen+ per person) because everything around here closes super early!😰
We nearly settled for konbini food after walking around for 30 mins searching for a place to eat at 7pm, luckily there was a ramen store still operating nearby. Think every tourist around the area ended up at this ramen store because it's literally a dead town after dark.

My first original, traditional Ryokan experience in Kyoto and i highly recommend Kitanoya Ryokan!

Kujikara Ramen, the ramen is is quite flavourful

It's not expensive too, less than 1000 yen per bowl and portion is big

Amanohashidate → Ine No Funaya

Not sure if you guys know this Japanese folklore called Urashima Tarō (浦島 太郎), similar category of story to Okayama's Momotaro but less popular and it's a (kinda twisted) tale about how a young fisherman who saved a turtle; in return was (somewhat) "rewarded". This lad is said to be originated from Ine and yes, the same Ine no Funaya town i've visited too lol. You can read about the story here (english ver): URASHIMA TARO
You might probably be more familiar with one of AU mobile carrier's characters, this derpy dude is supposed to be Urashima Taro lol.

I seriously didn't know until i saw some signs while driving through this small town which had a turtle silhouette on it with small writings (the danna translated for me). Turns out we have unitentionally visited Urashima Taro's hometown lol.

Getting here by car takes less than an hour from Amanohashidate (we departed from Kitanoya Ryokan). There are buses available from Amanohashidate to Ine & back, you can check the schedule online
Techincally you CAN rely solely on buses alone from Kyoto station → Amanohashidate →Ine (just you'll need to plan your timing properly & not miss the buses)

Viewing Spot at Inemachi Furusatoshinkokosha Funayanosato Park

Right before entering into Ine town, there is a view deck overlooking the town and the beautiful sea, i would highly suggest NOT to skip this! It's such a beautiful and breathtaking sight, you can literally see the turqouise colored sea shining like diamonds on a good weather day. Seriously photos alone doesn't do it justice, you'll need to see it with your very own eyes.

Panoramic view, right click and open in new tab to view full picture

Regardless what season, each of them offers a different view, for me i prefer it during summer the colors are so much more vivid despite the scorching heat. Worth getting a tan for the view, just make sure to be careful not to get heat stroke, stay hydrated and get those USB portable fans if needed!

This stop has tons of parking (top & bottom), toilets, some food stalls and souvenier shops.

Ine no Funaya

From Furusatoshinkokosha Funayanosato Park it's only a 5 minute drive down to the bay area where the town is. 

Happiest feeling ever upon arriving at this small town, because it's one of those bookmarked photos on my instagram bucketlist for some time now and it has finally came true! 
I initially wanted to explore a new prefecture like what i did last summer but due to unfavourable weather conditions (typhoon) which distrupted our initial plans to travel in July so we had to cancel our Tokushima plans. This last minute trip to Miyazu was also a miracle because the weather prediction forecast was pretty slim, thank goodness for decent weather (had some light shower while driving to Ine) 💗

Going to be honest, i came here just for the view lol. Nothing planned, no research done except HOW to get here and the most memorable trips are usually the ones unplanned (good or bad ones, it's still memorable depending on how you view it) :-P

Ine no Funaya's town houses are made mostly of wood and it's called "Funaya" which translates to "Boat houses", giving it a rustic vibe like something you would see in Studio Ghibli works except this is real life.  
There is a public parking spot around town, like the one in front of the information center but further down there is a parking area next to the docks which we parked at and took some photos together with wooden houses opposite of the bay. 

At the dock parking (can't remember the exact rate but it wasn't so expensive, paid per entry), there are some boats waiting which visitors can pay for a short sea tour around the area run locals. We skipped that because #lilpenguin is still too small and we are abit paranoid.
Down the road from the dock parking there are is a cafe and restaurant available, mind you that there isn't much dining spots available in Ine because it is after all mostly a residential area. 

Travel Tip #1: You can easily cover most part of town on foot (highly recommend doing so because streets are narrow to drive through), you can enjoy more of Ine's little details & charm this way
Tour boats/ sea taxis available

Experience inside of a Funaya (Boathouse)

There are some funaya (boathouses) that have signs inviting visitors to enter; paid per entry, if i'm not mistaken we paid 300 yen for 2 people to see how these funaya are like from the inside. It's pretty cool by the way. If you do come across them, do go in!
Also it must be nice living near the sea, from the funaya's boat entrance we could see tons of fresh uni (sea urchins) stuck to the walls, free fresh uni anyone? Lol. 

Uni one for me (You are the only one for me) XD 

Lunch at Wadatsumi Sushi Restaurant

When near the sea, i would not accept any excuses that you skipped the opportunity of having FRESH seafood unless you have allergies or a vegetarian because being a person who lives 2.5 hours away from the sea, not everyday you'll get to eat seafood literally caught and served to you on the very same day. I have shellfish allergies but i wouldn't miss this chance to gobble down as much fresh fish i can!

We can't be friends if you ordered something else aside from seafood. Really.

Coming across this restaurant was by chance (we drove by once & walked back there), and we are so glad we decided to just dine here as i previously mentioned there isn't much options in this small town. Luckily there are seats available during lunch hour, best part we got seats in front of the chef (bar counter) facing the sea because we had a stroller with us and couldn't go up to the 2nd floor (unintentional stroller perks lol).

Lunch with a splendid view of both nature and art, watching the sushi chef do his thing on the spot & serve you directly, usually this kind of "intimate" experience would cost you a hefty sum in the city but over here a hearty lunch set ranges from 2000-3000 yen++ only! Really a good deal!
I definitely know a friend who would enjoy this kind of experience haha, won't put names but if you are reading this; you know, i know then okay liao 😂

Travel Tip #2 : You can get your parking ticket discounted when you dine at this restaurant, make sure to pass your ticket to the cashier when you make payment. 

Right next door there is what we millennials call "instagenic" cafe called Ine Cafe, they serve normal meals & dessert (initially wanted to dine here but was full), it also has a nice view facing the sea.

 Travel Tip #3 : In case you missed going to the loo at Funayanosato park, there is a public toilet here (next to restaurant & cafe), nice and clean along with a baby changing table! 

Kyotamba Highway rest stop

Kyotamba stamp get!

Only in Japan.. black beans can be cute anime girls lol

We departed from Ine roughly around 4pm heading back to Kyoto city, made a few stops along the way and even discovered a rare Chateraise store at Yamashina ward (abit far out from the city center).
I always thought it would be much easier to find chateraise stores in Japan but i was wrong because most of them are located away from the city area while in Malaysia we have them right at the prime spot (heart of KL) in Isetan, KLCC. Guess in Japan there are much more competition in the city so they cater towards outskirt areas.

Yummy cakes from Chateraise

Seriously our visit to Miyazu was wayyyyy too short! Wish we had more days so we could explore all the way up to Kyotango, we'll save that for next time then.
Hope you guys enjoyed this entry on Miyazu, if there is any questions; do leave me a comment below and i'll reply as soon as possible :)

Yours Truly,

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