Where is Keihoku?
Located in northern part of Kyoto, Keihoku is a stunning mountainous area that links the Sea of Japan to the old capital of Kyoto. It is easily accessible by a one-hour bus ride from Kyoto's city centre.
How to reach Keihoku?
Reaching Keihoki is incredibly easy. You simply need to take a JR bus from Kyoto station, Nijo station or Shijo-Omiya station.
The bus ride costs 1150 yen, or you can use your JR pass.
What can you do Keihoku?
At this scenic place, you can expect to trek through beautiful mountains, visit peaceful Zen temples, be amazed at preserved traditional thatched houses, walk among ancient giant cedar trees, and best of all, make friends with it's heartwarming people.
Our Local Guides
Local Host and
Fluent in Japanese, English and (trying) Chinese
My stay with Kei and Midori was fantastic! They are gracious hosts and really strive to make your experience warm, wonderful and interesting. I had the pleasure of staying in the traditional Japanese style tatami room and it was incredibly comfortable and warm, despite the chilly mountain air.
Each morning and evening, Midori cooked us a delicious and healthy home-cooked meal which we all shared around the cozy kitchen table. There was one other guest when I was there and the four of us enjoyed conversation and laughter as we learned about each other's cultures. Midori also welcomes help when cooking if you are inclined to jump in and chop local vegetables or slice burdock root or peel prawns!
Kei and Midori have a number of interesting ways to entertain guests and show them a real taste of the local culture. One day we went to the Sea of Japan, 1.5 hours drive over the mountains and shopped at a local fish market for dinner. Lunch was at a local cafe where I had the freshest Sashimi ever! On another day, we went to the local sake factory for a lesson in how they make their unique beverage and got to taste the first batch of the fall season's sake. A rare treat!
There was also time to relax in their home and read or nap which we did one rainy afternoon. I felt right at home! Although this place is a short 1 hr 20 min bus ride from downtown Kyoto, you are transported into a different, magical world once you leave the outskirts of the city behind. It's breathtakingly beautiful!
Kei was extremely communicative and helpful with the directions to get there right down to the specific bus terminal I needed to take. He picked me up from the station and drove his guests safely around the mountains. I felt very well-taken care of. I recommend this place to anyone who wants to experience a true taste of local Japanese life.
Kei and Midori are both warm and friendly people with a pride in their heritage that they want to share with travelers. They know many of the locals and can customize your trip to be exactly what you want it to be. Or just arrive and be surprised knowing that whatever you do there will be a wonderful adventure. I loved this place!
Staying with Kei and Midori was one of the highlights of my trip to Japan. It is a real treat to get a bit off the well worn path trodden by tourists to Japan and get some 'real' experience in the countryside just outside Kyoto.
Even better - having access to friendly and open minded hosts who speak great English means you gain insights into culture, politics and history that would be very difficult to find otherwise.
Kei and Midori were kind enough to include me in some of their social events and sake sampling. And Midori went to great lengths to sort out my accommodation for the next stage of my trip. I can't recommend highly enough going to stay with them! Thank you Kei and Midori and I hope to see you in Australia one day!
Since last year's visit to Keihoku, Kei has been already one of our best friends in Japan. The beautiful nature and well preserved culture impressed us so much, everything is just like being in Miyazaki (宫崎骏)'s movie.
This time, my friend and I took our daughters for a 4-day natural and cultural adventure in Heihoku. Hosted by Kei, who is absolutely an amazing, it was a unique journey for us, esp. the girls. Hiking in the deep forest, shopping in fish market, playing on seaside, trekking and fishing in the river, experiencing local cultures and architecture of the local village, learning from outstanding craftsman, chatting with various artists, observing Bambi (wild deers) in the night...these are all unique and truly impressive.
The highlight was definitely Kei, a self professed “language nerd”, he has mastered over 4 languages and has profound knowledge and experiences. He was just like a walking encyclopedia of Keihoku, helping us to discover another Kyoto! Thank you,Kei, Midori, Hiro,all other friends in Keihoku,all the best!