|One of the many waterways in Harie|
|Crystal clear spring water|
45 min from JR Kyoto brought us to JR Shinasahi station from where it's a 15 min walk to the village. Since we only called in the morning to book a tour (available times: 9AM, 1030AM, 130PM), only Japanese tour was available. I guess if you call early enough, you can request for an English-speaking guide. The train costs 970 yen per person and the tour costs 1000 yen per person. If you have money to splash, there is also an English tour available from http://www.yutour.net/tours/002_harie.html but it costs at least 10,000 yen per person which includes
- English-speaking tour conductor (licensed guide interpreter)
- Admission fee for guided walking tour in Harie
- Fare for all transportation listed above
- Local tax
|The phone at Harie community center|
|Our guide, Maeda San|
|Our visitor pass which allows us to visit Kabata in homes, led by Maeda san|
Maeda san met us at the sign and brought us on a tour of the village. She explained that there are about 140 households with about 600 people. The village seemed quiet and for the entire tour, we only met the occasional elderly on a bike or walking around. Maeda san told us that the youngsters commute daily to the cities for work so at the time of our tour (1030AM), it's exceptionally quiet.
There are no restaurants and no vending machines in the village. Only a small preserved fish shop, a bean curd shop which was not open and what Maeda san described as 美人の店 bijjn no mise, shop for beauties. We spotted a Takkyubin van and Maeda san explained that they use takkyubin quite a lot due to the lack of shops in the village.
|Preserved Fish Shop|
|Bijin no mise (Shop for beauties)|
The highlight of this tour is really the waterways that run through the village and the kabata with Japanese carp, places where the villages draw fresh water for daily use. We were told that you can leave a pot used to cook curry in the kabata for a few hours and it will be clean. Amazing!!!
|Kabata outside a house|
The water maintains a constant temperature of 13 deg C through summer and winter. In the past when there was no refrigerator, people chilled their fruits and vegetables in the cold water.
|The water maintains a constant temperature of 13 deg C throughout the year. The greens at the side are watercress which can be used in salads.|
Maeda san recommended a Japanese restaurant that serves food made with the village's water but it started to rain heavily on our way there and we spotted the little Italian-style restaurant called Restaurant Hinata so we decided to step in and were glad we did. The restaurant is run by an elegant middle-aged couple and the wood-fired Japanese curry pizza was really good!
|Delicious Japanese curry pizza|
|They grow various plants in their little garden|