About Northern Kansai

Kyotamba

This region once flourished as a transportation hub connecting Kyoto city to northern Kyoto and the Sea of Japan.

Kyotamba
Kyotamba

Kyotamba is located on the Tamba Plateau surrounded by many mountains from peaks of 400 meters to the tallest Mt. Chorogatake at 917 meters high. The southern part of the mountain range forms part of a divide. The entire town is about 83% forest with narrow valleys in between where small villages are interspersed across the wide expanse of rice fields. Since the past, this region flourished as a transportation hub connecting Kyoto city and the old Tango region (currently, northern Kyoto prefecture facing the Sea of Japan). The constant creation of new dishes and the cultivation of a rich, traditional food culture in the town of Kyotamba make it truly deserving of the appellation, ‘Gourmet Food Kingdom’.

Kyotamba’s Three Districts

The three former towns of Wachi, Mizuho, and Tamba were merged in 2005 to form Kyotamba. They are currently recognized as districts or neighborhoods of Kyotamba. Here you can enjoy the relaxed pace of “country time”. Travel through all three to find famous sceneries, historical places and idyllic forest villages dotting Kyotamba’s countryside.

WACHI

Wachi district is known for its numerous traditional performing arts, specialty products, and blessed temples and shrines.

Japanese Traditional performing arts in Wachi Kyotamba Kyoto
Traditional Performing Arts Facility
You can experience performances of various traditional Japanese performing arts on the last Saturday of each month at the Traditional Performing Arts Facility located in the roadside station “Nagomi”. Performances include “Ningyo Joruri”, Japanese puppet theatre that is narrated and accompanied by a shamisen, Wachi Taiko, Obata Manzai - a form of comedy that was originally performed by comedians traveling door-to-door during the New Year festivities and a precursor to the modern day “manzai”.

MIZUHO

Mizuho offers things to entertain the body and soul, the young and the old.

Shizushi limestone caves
Shizushi Limestone Caves
These are the only stalactite caves found in Kyoto prefecture and the Shizushi limestone caves are a prefectural designated natural monument. Measuring 52.5 meters in length with an altitude difference of about 25.1 meters. Natural temperature of the caves always stay around 12 to 15 degrees Celsius, even during mid summer. The area surrounding the caves is a park, featuring a campsite and bungalows.
Entrance to the caves costs 520 yen for adults and 200 yen for kids 3 and older (check directly with the facilities for any possible changes in prices and current hours of operation.
Shitsumi Shougakko
Shitsumi Shougakko (former Shitsumi Elementary School)
Built in 1955 this building served as one of the town’s elementary schools until it closed in 2011. After its closing the local residents and former students of the school voiced their desire to save the school from demolition. Their voices were heard and this retro wood structured school was saved. Today it is being reused to house about 7 different businesses, from a picture book store to a pizza cafe, all the businesses are locally run by residents.

TAMBA

Enjoy the nature and flavor of Tamba

Kotodaki Waterfall
Kotodaki Waterfall
A beautiful 43 meter high waterfall. Named so because it looks like a 13-string koto, a traditional Japanese stringed musical instrument. To the left is a small shrine to the Acala (a fierce Buddhist diety). Also, near the waterfall is the Zen temple Gyokunji Temple.
Depending on the day, time of day and recent weather the quantity of water may be low.

Locally Grown and Produced in Kyotamba

  • Kuromame Edamame
    Kuromame Edamame (black edamame)
    Tanba black bean edamame are usually picked earlier than most black edamame. From October you can find many roadside stalls set up by local farmers selling their own homegrown black edamame.
  • Tamba kuri chestnuts
    Tamba Kuri (chestnut)
    Tamba Kuri or chestnuts have been known throughout Kyoto’s long history as being the representative flavor of autumn. Tamba Kuri is also known for its aroma and sweet flavor.
  • Tamba wagyu beef
    Tamba Beef
    Tamba cattle are born and raised on the Kyotamba plateau in its clean air and pure waters. These prized animals are taken well care of and even listen to classic music. It is believed that a healthy and good environment produces healthy and delicious beef.
  • Daikoku hon shimeji mushrooms
    Daikoku Hon Shimeji Mushrooms
    Large shimeji mushroom that are said to have the same aroma as the highly sought after matsutake mushroom, a mushroom that is prized by the Japanese for its distinct spicy-aromatic odor. This shimeji, like matsutake, are nearly impossible to be artificially cultivated and are difficult to find. But you can find this shimeji being sold at local roadside stations.
  • Tamba black soybeans
    Tamba Black Soybean
    Tamba black soybeans are characterized by their large grain, smooth texture and ability to maintain their shape even after being cooked. In addition, the temperature differences experienced in the Tamba highlands where the soybean are grown brings out the soybeans sweetness and flavor.
  • Ayu fish
    Ayu
    Since ancient times the watershed of the Yura-gawa River system has been famous for ayu, or sweetfish, especially ayu from the Wachi River. This fish was highly praised by the noted artist and epicure, Kitaoji Rosanjin. Rumor has it that he once carried the fish, still alive, to a restaurant in Tokyo to be cooked.
    In season from June to September.
Getting to Kyotamba
By car

The best and most convenient way to get to and around Kyotamba area is by car.
You can rent a car from a major rental car company at any major train station or city.

By train

We recommend accessing Kyotamba through Wachi Train Station on the JR San’in Line. The fastest way to get to Wachi Train Station is to take a limited express train from JR Kyoto Station to Sonobe Station. From here, transfer to a local train bound for Fukuchiyama Station. Wachi Station will be the 6th stop from Sonobe Station. It takes about 1 hour 25 minutes.