Ine is a quaint fishing village located north of Amanohashidate along Japan’s Tango Peninsula, crammed between mountains and the water. Here, residents truly know what it means to coexist with the sea.
Along the curve of the beautiful Ine Bay, you’ll find clusters of Funaya (舟屋), traditional fishermen’s houses. Approximately 230 Funaya dot a roughly three-mile chunk of the coast. The houses are built in such a way that the boats can be piloted straight into their lowest level.
Funaya were originally built in the 1700s to shelter the boats and provide fishermen with an indoor space to hang their nets. Now, the top floors of many funaya double as living quarters. Some have even been renovated and transformed into guest accommodations for those looking to sleep above the sea.
Often dubbed the “Venice of Japan,” the sight is simply extraordinary, old wooden houses blending with the clear, blue-green sea that reflects the mountains behind them. The unique architecture of this town is largely due to its geography.
A sightseeing ferry runs tours around the bay, which is probably the easiest way to see these charming traditional houses. But beware: People are encouraged to feed the seagulls, which in turn attracts hawks. Though you can find protection from gulls and hawks in the ferry’s hull, the best views are from the terrifying rooftop, where the birds will swoop and swirl above you while you take in the picturesque views.
Know Before You Go
The ferry tour runs every 30 minutes from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and costs ¥680 for adults. Private sea taxis are also available. The area is best accessed by car. Some local buses run from Amanohashidate.