Ayabe, Kyoto’s hidden gem
Slow down to rural life in Ayabe’s stunning countryside
Kyoto by the Sea DMO
A rural community surrounded by plentiful forests and farmland, Ayabe is just one hour by train from central Kyoto. Known for its green tea, Tamba chestnuts, fine rice and washi paper production, it’s a city full of tradition and history.
Though it has a population of just 33,000, many of Ayabe’s customs thrive, and it offers plenty of opportunities to meet locals and experience rural living. Visit the village of Kurotani and learn to make Kurotani washi, a craft with over 800 years of history. Join a local sake brewery tour, enjoy the area’s kaiseki traditional multi course dinners, or try agricultural life at a farm stay.
Every season also has its events, from spring cherry blossom viewing and summer firefly sightings and firework displays, to autumn rose shows and the winter Omoto Setsubun purification festival. Summer is a great time to visit with highlights including the Ayabe Minatsuki Festival, where around 10,000 lanterns are floated down the Yura River and fireworks light the sky; and Toko-in Temple’s display of wind bells that echo across the mountainside.
How to get there
15 minutes from JR Ayabe Station by car or 20 minutes from JR Ayabe Station by bus.