Visiting Miyama’s thatched village

miyama kayabuki no sato

Miyama’s thatched village or Miyama Kayabuki-no-Sato, is a cultural heritage village, where almost all of the houses have thatched roofs. Because most of the houses in the village are residential, the atmosphere is quite unique compared to other places where houses are not inhabited and just on display or turned into a souvenir shop.

Our first visit to Miyama’s thatched village was last year, when we went to the Maizuru Natural Cultural Garden. Since then I have wanted to go back and explore. Today our plan was actually to go to a local waterfall that looked to be far and hidden away (Nokano Falls, Fukui Prefecture), but our stop at Miyama Kayabuki-no-Sato became the main event.

miyama kayabuki-no-sato

The weather, albeit rainy and foggy, made it perfect for moody shots. With the rice fields planted and growing, it was the perfect time to take photos of this magical village.

workers fixing the thatched roof

The village does attract a lot of visitors, especially on weekends, and even more-so on long weekends like this was (Thank you “Marine Day”). The rain wasn’t stopping anyone, with the car park near the Yura River almost full.

But it seems like the residents are tolerant and accept the attention their village gets, unlike other places where the locals are not so welcoming.

purple flower macro
pink flower macro
thatched roof and garden

The village itself features a Folk Museum, which displays tools and household items from the past, as well as information about the construction and maintenance of the thatched roofs.

The other place to visit is the Little Indigo Museum which showcases the traditional art of dying fabric from the Indigo plant found in Japan. Well worth a visit; there is even a workshop.

red flowers
red flowers and thatched roof

Beyond the two museums the other places to visit in the village are the two cafes, and the bakery, where you can enjoy a traditional lunch or some sweets. And if you’re feeling like staying the night, at least two of the houses serve as a place of lodging.

It might be a little off topic, but I feel like it needs to be said: whenever I go to the countryside of Japan, there is one thing that really stands out to me. Especially on a day like this… it’s so green! Not a faded brown green, no, it’s proper deep lush green!

narrow road
green as far as the eye can see

It’s one of the things that I truly missed when I moved from Norway to Australia; deep lush green. Thankfully Japan delivers.

miyama kayabuki-no-sato power spot
A bit of Photoshop magic to remove the crowds…

After we had finished up at the “souvenir shop” we got back in the car and started driving towards what had been our actual goal for this outing, the Nokano Falls. This meant driving north, and heading into Fukui Prefecture.

As we approached, the road became very narrow. Just wide enough to fit a car, with moss covering the asphalt and concrete, only the tyre tracks were exposing the road surface.

path to waterfall

Driving up the narrow road, the forest surrounding us looked like the scenes from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi when they are on the moon Endor. Large moss covered conifers with various bushes and ferns covering the forest floor lined the road.

Having had a look on Google Maps beforehand we knew there would be limited parking. But we didn’t know how little… There is literally only space for 2 cars at each spot, and we elected to park further down where there was more space (even though we were the only car) and walk the path that goes up along the river.

approaching the waterfall

The path was unfortunately broken in a few places, possibly from flooding. So we had to jump along rocks in some places, cross broken bridges, and rappel down slippery hills. But we eventually made it to the waterfall.

Nakano falls

Was the waterfall worth the drive and the hike? Well no. There is a reason this post is titled “Visiting Miyama’s thatched village” and not “Visiting Nakano falls”… But in saying that, going off the beaten path and exploring places not visited by most is often the most fun and rewarding for us. So we will definitely continue to do so.

And I’m sure we will be visiting Miyama’s thatched village again.

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