If you came to visit Amanohashidate, you must extend your visit to see Ine-no-Funaya (meaning the boat houses of Ine). This is an unique place in the world, where you can admire about 230 funaya boat houses laying across the Ine Bay. Wondering what makes these houses so special? Well, these houses are built on the water, and the first floor is a boat garage while the people are living on the upper floors – how cool is that?
As Ine is a small village, it has a population of around 2100 people. Therefore, is a residential area with people having a humble live centered on fishing and agriculture. Consider that all the houses are private properties, so behave accordingly when taking pictures and try not to enter inside any of them without permision.
They say, the best way to visit Ine and admire the beautiful houses is from the water. That beeing said, you have to take a boat tour for 1000¥ to enjoy a 25 minutes cruise along the bay. As a bonus, you can do birdfeeding while on the boat – a great opportunity to see the seagulls very close!
One thing you should consider in avance is that the station for the boat tour is called Ine Wan Meguri Hide, and is located before the village itself. Once you are done here, you can reach the village in about 20 minutes by foot.
View from the boat
Take a look at these pictures and then decide if you’d like to see the houses from a boat trip, or if it’s enough to see them while walking in the town. I personally tried both, but I enjoyed more the second option – up to you!
From my point of view, the best way to explore the village is still on foot. While you can have a nice view from the boat, you are still too far away to pay attention to details. As the village is mainly residential and not a big touristic attraction by itself, you can limit your walk to the first half of the bay, instead of walking till the end – about 5km in total.
For me, the most facinating part was seeing the water garages and the boats from close. I was fortunate enough to find one garage open so I could trully appreciate the engineering and the logic behind – speechless! This is the closest version you can get about sleeping “close” to the ocean.
View from the city
Now, decide and compare – which view is the best, from the boat or from the town?
If you have more time but most important a car, you can further explore the area. Close by there are temples, waterfalls, onsens and several beaches, all waiting to be explored especially during the summer days.
Food & Drink
I didn’t had much time to personally try something in Ine, as after 5pm the village is dead and everything is closed. However, if you have the chance, try sake from Mukai Shuzo. Currently headed by a female master brewer, the sake business operates since more than 260 years now. The Ine Makai sake is created from an ancient variety of rice which gives it a red color and a fruity flavor. Apart from sake, the village is known for fresh fish. So rest ensured that any seafood dish you order is always fresh and delicious!
Ine can be easily accessed by public transportation from Amanohashidate. There are buses running between 7am and 8pm every day, roughly every hour. A one way ticket costs between 200¥-500¥, depends from where you get in.
If you’re looking for a cool souvenir, I spoted this t-shirt in a shop. I loved it, so I wanted to share it with you even if the picture is not great at all).
Some of the funaya houses are today guest houses. So, expending your experience into an overnight stay is absolutely feasabile. You just need to book in advance as the options are limited. Expect to pay accordingly.
Well, that’s it from my side. I hope you enjoyed the article and you’ll visit Ine village one day in person. Meanwhile, get inspired from more articles across Japan and not only, here.
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