Asian tourists flocking to small Kyoto town with old farmhouses

posted on December 21, 2015

Miyama in Nantan, Kyoto Prefecture, is set to adapt to a steep increase in Asian tourists tired of conventional sightseeing spots in Japan.

The northern part of the town has 38 thatched farmhouses dotted around the foot of a mountain, many of which were built during the Edo Period (1603-1868). The area is often compared to Shirakawa-go, Gifu Prefecture, and neighboring Gokayama, Toyama Prefecture, chosen as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1995, and to Ouchi-juku, Fukushima Prefecture, due to the presence of many thatched houses.

In all, 127.5 hectares of land, including rice paddies and mountain forests, was designated by the Japanese government in 1993 as an area with great historical value to be preserved.

Lured by photos on the Internet of Miyama's beautiful sights, Chen traveled to the town by train and bus. "Poor access didn't bother me," she said.

Although the number of foreign visitors to Miyama began to rapidly increase four to five years ago, the town has yet to take measures to cope with its booming popularity. For example, local bus services are geared purely to local residents, with only one bus operating every two hours, and there is no rest station with a place to keep luggage for tourists.

But preparations to make the town friendlier to tourists are starting by stages, including a multi-language information board to be set up soon by the Nantan city government at the entry to the thatched village.

source by japantoday
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