Village in Miyama-Chō

Along Rte 38 in the village of Kitamura, you'll find Miyama-chō’s star attraction, a hamlet boasting a cluster of some 50 thatched-roof farmhouses, said to be the thickest concentration of these buildings in Japan. Many are now repurposed as museums – such as the Folk Museum (美山民俗資料館, Minzoku Shiryōkan) and Little Indigo Museum (ちいさな藍美術館, Chīsana Aibijutukan) – shops, cafes and inns, amid private homes and temples. Allow an hour or more for a good ramble.

In 1994 the village was designated a national preservation site; since then the local government has been generously subsidising the exorbitant cost of re-thatching the roofs (at an average cost of ¥6 million – around US$60,000).