World Masters Games 2021 Kansai: 7 Kyoto Destinations Near Venues
The exciting World Masters Games 2021 Kansai will take place in seven regions of Kyoto Prefecture. Each region offers something distinctly different from the Kyoto that most people imagine. Travel near each of the venues to experience another side of the ancient capital.
See a New Side of Kyoto during the World Masters Games
The World Masters Games 2021 will take place in seven regions of Kyoto Prefecture.
Each of these areas has distinct characteristics from what people may expect from Kyoto. Those coming to watch the games can visit these regions and experience the many different facets of the ancient capital.
1. Kotobikihama Beach, Kyotango
Picture courtesy of Kyotango City Tourism Association
Kyotango is located in northern Kyoto, by the Sea of Japan. Kumihama Bay in Kyotango is the site for canoe racing.
The Kyotango area is a treasure trove of beautiful nature, food, and hot springs. The unique ria cost part of the San'in Kaigan Geopark registered by UNESCO happens to be located right here. Moreover, during the winter, the rare Taiza crab is fished and harvested here.
The sandy shore called Kotobikihama is known for its beautiful and mysterious soundscapes. When the weather is nice, sink your feet into the dry sandy beach to hear the noise coming from the sand. This noise is called "nakisuna" in Japanese. The quartz in the sand is thought to be the reason why it has a musical aspect. When the sand gets polished with the beautiful water and weather, the friction increases. Putting pressure on the sand produces this mysterious sound.
Address: Kyoto, Aminocho, Kakezu, Kotobikihama
Official website: https://visitkyotango.com/things-to-do-spot/kotohikihama-beach/ (Kyotango City Tourism Association)
2. Fukuchiyama Castle
Photo by Pixta
One of the settings for the year-long NHK series "Kirin ga Kuru (Awaiting Giraffe)" is Fukuchiyama in northern Kyoto. This area is also the venue for the soft tennis games of the next World Masters Games in 2021.
Fukuchiyama is located on the way to Amanohashidate or Kinosaki Onsen from Kyoto or Osaka by train. As a result, there are many hotels and restaurants to choose from.
Fukuchiyama Castle, built by the famous main character Mitsuhide Akechi in "Kirin ga Kuru," is the town's symbolic tourist attraction. It is the only castle within Kyoto Prefecture where visitors can climb the tower (tenshukaku, *1). The castle contains exhibits of old documents and a miniature model of the old townscape. By climbing up the castle tower, visitors can enjoy a sweeping view of all of Fukuchiyama.
*1 Tenshukaku: a tall castle tower that acts as the castle's emblem in Japan.
Fukuchiyama Castle Tower
Address: Kyoto, Fukuchiyama, Naiki 5
Hours: 9:00-17:00 (last entrance at16:30)
Closed Weekdays: Tuesdays (except for the period of January 1, 2010 - March 31, 2021)
Closed Holidays: End and beginning of the year (December 28-31, January 4-6)
Official website: https://www.city.fukuchiyama.lg.jp/soshiki/7/2014.html (Fukuchiyama City; Japanese)
3. Shizushi Limestone Cave, Kyotamba
Picture courtesy of Kyoto Tourism Federation
Tamba Nature Sports Park in Kyotamba, where the gateball competitions will be held during the World Masters Games, is located in the central mountainous area of Kyoto.
This town boasts the Shizushi Limestone Cave, a natural monument. This cave is the only limestone cave that exists in Kyoto Prefecture and is 52.5 meters long and 25.1 meters high. With the annual approximate temperature of the limestone cave being 12-15℃, it is a popular refuge spot during the hot summer for many travelers.
Shizushi Limestone Cave
Address: Kyoto, Funai, Kyotamba, Shizushi, Ookuzure 12-1
Official website: https://www.town.kyotamba.kyoto.jp/0000000297.html (Kyotambacho; Japanese)
4. Kayabuki no Sato, Miyama
Nantan, located in central Kyoto, is the venue for the triathlon (duathlon) competitions during the games.
Miyama is the most popular destination in Nantan, well-known for its iconic thatched-roof village. Surrounded by mountains, the town is like a hidden paradise separated from the outside world, and the many houses with thatched roofs seem to be the setting of a fairy tale. This original landscape of Japan exudes impressive tranquility.
The Miyama Museum of History exhibits farming equipment and daily tools from long ago, allowing people to see Japan's agricultural culture and history. Miyama not only has cafes or restaurants but also actual residents who still live in the thatch-roofed houses. When visiting, please do not raise your voices and be courteous as to not bother the locals.
Miyama Kayabuki no Sato
Address: Kyoto, Natan, Miyamacho Kita, Choda
Telephone: 0771-75-1906 (For tourist information, call between 9:00 - 17:00)
Official website: https://miyamanavi.com/en/sightseeing/kayabuki-no-sato (Nantan City Miyama General Incorporated Town Planning Association)
5. Byodoin Temple, Uji
Picture courtesy of Byodoin Temple
Uji is 17 minutes away from Kyoto Station by rapid train on the JR Line. The city is the venue for the flying discs games in 2021.
Uji is the birthplace of the world-famous Uji tea and Japanese matcha culture. Uji was a popular place to visit during the summer for people during the Heian era (794 - 1185).
Byodoin Temple is the most famous destination in Uji. At its center is the Phoenix Hall, which is engraved on the Japanese 10 yen coin.
Around the time that Byodoin was built, eschatology (*2) became a popular ideology in Japan. The Phoenix Hall, also called Amida Hall, houses a statue of Amitabha Tathagata, the Buddha of the Western Paradise. People offered him prayers in the hope they could enter paradise after death.
*2 Eschatology: An ideology that became popular in Japan from the end of the Heian period through the Kamakura period (1185 - 1333). It preached that 2,000 years following Buddha's death, there will be the "latter days of this world" when Buddhism declines.
Address: Kyoto, Uji, Uji Renge 116
Hours: 8:30 - 17:30 (final entry 17:15)
Holidays: Open year-round
Official website: https://www.byodoin.or.jp/en/ (Byodoin Temple)
6. Shuonan Ikkyuji Temple, Kyotanabe
Picture courtesy of Shuonan Ikkyuji Temple
The handball games will be held in Kyotanabe City in 2021. Shuonan Ikkyuji Temple is the most popular place to visit in Kyotanabe due to its relevance to the main character, Sojun Ikkyu, from the popular anime "Ikkyu-san."
This temple was formerly known as Myoshoji but fell to ruin in war. The priests and Sojun Ikkyu restored the temple, and to repay the debts that Sojun felt obligated to pay, the name was changed to Shuonan. After the temple restoration, Sojun Ikkyu lived there for the remainder of his life, and his grave is located inside the temple. Please note that the burial site is supervised by the Imperial Household Agency and the access to it is limited.
Shuonan Ikkyuji Temple
Address: Kyoto, Kyotanabe, Takigisatonouchi 102
Holidays: Open throughout the year
Official website: http://www.ikkyuji.org/en// (Shuonan Ikkyuji)
7. The Tea Plantation Scenery in Wazuka
Picture courtesy of Wazukacho
Wazuka is the site for the mountain biking competition. Many people may be unfamiliar with Wazuka, but this region actually has the highest production of tea in Kyoto Prefecture. This town is the main production site for the internationally famous Uji tea. This is why Wazuka is called "Chagenkyo Wazuka" (the hometown of tea).
The tea plantation continues along gentle hills and is a gorgeous scenery only found in Wazuka. This plantation is ranked as one of the most beautiful villages in Japan by the Japan Trade Union Confederation. At a cafe that opened there recently, you can enjoy the view of the beautiful green tea plantation and take your time to relax.
The Tea Plantation Scenery in Wazuka
Address: Kyoto, Soraku, Wazukacho, Kamatsuka, Kyomachi 19 (Wazukacho Tourist Information Center)
Official website: https://www.facebook.com/wazuka.info/ (Wazukacho Tourist Information Center's Facebook)
Explore a New Kyoto!
The destinations introduced above invite you to discover a side of Kyoto unknown to most people. Visit these places and challenge your ideas of what is traditionally known as Kyoto––you may be able to find a new side of the ancient Japanese capital.
Written by Jacky Chen
Sponsored by Kyoto Tourism Federation
Main image courtesy of Wazukacho (The Tea Plantation Scenery in Wazuka)