BLOGKyoto travel tips2019.06.18

You will be fully healed by the nature of Keihoku and refresh your body and mind! 

Fatigued girls yearn for organic woodland life...!?

This weekend is a little tiring for busy everyday life. At times like this, I want to get away from crowds and information and relax in nature. When it became a topic of conversation at work, I found Keihoku, which is 1 hour and 20 minutes away from Kyoto Station. Located in the northwestern part of Kyoto City, this area is rich in nature and has many immigrants from the city. There are farmhouse guesthouses where you can experience rural life easily, fancy cafes and gourmet spots, and it is attracting attention from young people and foreigners who are interested in organic life and nature. Moreover, you might be able to see fireflies at this time of the year?! We are very interested in this information. Get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and detox by experiencing the countryside! So I decided to go right away.

Taking a bus to countryside


It took 1 hour and 20 minutes by bus from Kyoto Station, and we arrived at Keihoku relatively quickly while we were chatting. When I get off the bus, I feel relieved by the peaceful atmosphere away from the city. First, have a meal with local food and stop by the roadside station "Woody Keihoku" which is close to the bus stop.

Waiting for pick up from guesthouse


After having a handmade lunch made with local ingredients, you can look around the store with local ingredients such as Kitayama cedar and vegetables, dairy products and vegetables from the surrounding area while waiting for the welcome of "Farm guest house Hololon" who will stay this time.

Procure food for dinner


I will procure ingredients for BBQ tonight such as recommended seasonal vegetables and head to the inn with Yoriko Kawabayashi, a staff of Hololon who came to pick me up. There were several kinds of local sake from Keihoku, so I bought it with dinner tonight.

I found an egg vending machine!


On my way to the guest house in Yoriko's car, I saw an egg vending machine! A nearby egg farmer sets up fresh eggs every morning at 10 o'clock and 13 o'clock. I want to eat rice with raw egg with this egg tomorrow morning! I got 1 bag (10 for 300 yen.) without hesitation. I'm looking forward to it!

Arriving at " Farm guest house Hololon "


I arrived at Hololon in about 10 minutes. The sky is so clear as to be surrounded by mountains. The original scenery of Japan, which appears in old tales, quickly spreads. As soon as you get out of the car, the smell of summer grass rises, and the voices of birds and insects from everywhere... trip in an instant, like something nostalgic! I couldn't help but take a deep breath. I can see the five senses waking up. A guest house with a thatched roof that is a renovated samurai residence that is more than 200 years old, Hololon has a magnificent gate and fireplace. There are also chicken houses with chicks. (By around 10, these chicks will grow, lay eggs, and eat them for breakfast.)
Yoriko and her father, Shigeri Kawarabayashi, welcome guests as if their relatives had returned home. The room, the futon, and the bath were simple yet all made comfortable. Here we work, cook, eat and talk. It's hard to believe we've met for the first time. This is the charm of a farm guest house that you can never taste in a hotel. Let's enjoy ourselves to the fullest.

Experience nature and culture through seasonal experiences


At Hololon, you can not only stay but also experience rice planting and wild vegetable picking in each season(Accommodation fee + 2000 yen for 2 people ~). What we experience on this trip is the famous food of Keihoku, making natto rice cake, serving chicken and barbecue irori fireplace. First, I will experience making Natto rice cake in a hut near the Minshuku.

Make the traditional natto rice cake.



The town where natto originated!? It is also called Keihoku. In Keihoku, people eat "Natto rice cake " instead of ozoni on the first three days of the New Year. As its name suggests, natto mochi is a type of natto rice cake that is eaten by wrapping natto in mochi (rice cake) and baking it. The experience starts with steaming glutinous rice and pounding rice cake with a type called Karausu which you step on with your foot. Coat the pounded mochi with kinako and roll it out to the size of your palm.

Wrap and bake and eat



Wrap the natto with salt and fold it into a dumpling shape to make a "Amigasa" natto mochi. It is generally eaten grilled, but since the mochi is soft and fresh from the pounding process, it is also delicious to eat as it is! It's also delicious with brown sugar if you like. I also made the "whirl" type, in which the dough is spread out and rolled up. The large and sticky natto goes well with the soft rice cake that is freshly pounded. This simple taste is a bit addictive!

Picking mint to make mint tea.


Walking around the hut where the natto rice cake was made, I could smell the fluffy and refreshing scent. Mints grow wild everywhere. Let's have mint tea later! said Yoriko. We'll pick them up and go home together. What a wonderful time! Oh, it's soothing.

We're all going to prepare dinner and... eat it.


By the way, it is a basic idea to make a Hororon dinner with guests. In addition to harvesting the vegetables in the field, this time I asked for chicken processing and hearth BBQ, so you can experience it from (If you want,) where you clean a living chicken. How can chicken bought at a supermarket be served? Eggs → chicks → chicken → (dress a chicken) → chicken... Just staying here for half a day gives me a deep sense of the importance of eating life and the effort and cost of raising it. It's an important thing that you forget even though it's a matter of course. It was an unforgettable experience that made me feel the meaning of Itadakimasu. I learned for the first time that the amount of chicken taken from a chicken and that a chicken lays only one egg a day.

Stick it on a skewer for the BBQ.


Cut the vegetables into bite-sized pieces and cut the chicken into pieces, and stick them on a skewer for BBQ. Fresh local chicken is elastic and very difficult to skewer... We will prepare carefully not to get hurt. When we're all preparing dinner, it's like a family. Is this a trip?

Surround the Irori fireplace



When we are ready, Mr. Kawahara and his daughter and 3 girls will start a lively party. Surrounding the fireplace where the charcoal fire blows, harvested vegetables and chicken are grilled one after another. The more you chew, the fresher the chicken skewers become. This rustic elasticity and fragrance is a deliciousness you can't taste in a city...! I can't help drinking the local sake of Keihoku that was prepared in advance.

Firefly dancing and starry sky




After dinner, I asked them to take me to a recommended spot to see fireflies. Fireflies usually start flying from the beginning of June to July, and they become most active around 20 to 21 o'clock. We cannot help but lose words when fireflies dance around the river. When I look up, I feel the stars in the sky are shining and my heart is sharpened. When I went back to the inn and went to bed, I could see sparkling stars and fireflies flying around behind my eyelids... It was such a beautiful and quiet night in Keihoku. It was a really wonderful time. I'm looking forward to the morning.
(Experience trip to countryside for adults - Day 2 - Continued)

*Plsease note that the prices listed in this article were when we made the interview. (They might be subject to change. )


■ Access to Keihoku

Simoterada, Keihoku Shuzancho, Kyoto Shi Ukyo Ku, Kyoto Fu
By car:You can enter at the Meishin Expressway Kyoto south, a Kyoto eastern interchange, a Route 1 line, route 9 of national highway and route 171 of national highway on route 162 of national highway (Shuzan highway), and it's to Shuzan via Kaohsiung from Fukuoji intersection. (From a Fukuoji intersection, the required time for about 40 minutes (about 25 km))
By Bus and Train:Get on Takao "and" Keihoku line of West Japan JR Bus (for Shuzan) and get off "in front of Keihoku government offices" from JR Kyoto station. (From Kyoto Station, the required time/80 minutes)


■ Farm guest house Hololon

45 Hirohata, Keihoku-Ono-cho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City
Guest rooms: 1 group per day limited to 2 ~ 5 people, 2 rooms (6 tatami mats and 8 tatami mats)
宿Accommodation fee: 1 person (Dinner and breakfast included.) 10,200 yen (Tax included)
Seasonal experience: Dress a chicken, Irori fireplace BBQ, rice planting & lunch, wild vegetable picking & tempura, natto rice cake making, shimenawa making etc. + 2,000 yen for 1 person (There is only one type of experience per night, and you cannot experience only.) 


A writer currently residing in Kyoto. I'm always looking forward to my weekend walks on the pursuit for something delicious. Recently I've really gotten into collecting seal stamps from shrines and temples. A recent favorite is the one I got from Nashinoki Shrine.

Seiichi Suzuki

A photographer who was born, raised, and currently resides in Kyoto. I'm specialized in gourmet photography. My hobbies are photography... and eating delicious food.