Vegetarian's Japan Guide

Fukuchiyama City and the Amazing Scenery All Year Round

Fukuchiyama (福知山), in northern Kyoto Prefecture, is a city blessed with abundant nature, hidden cherry blossoms, and fall foliage destinations. The city, known for its connection with the famous samurai – Akechi Mitsuhide, also is the best spot to admire hydrangeas in early May and also has a mountain where demons used to reside.

When planning your visit to Fukuchiyama, check out the places below that might interest you!

Bike Rental in Fukuchiyama

For those who love to explore Japan by bicycle, you can rent one out from the Fukuchiyama Tourist Information Centre (福知山観光案内所) at the north exit of JR Fukuchiyama Station!

  • Please remember to bring an extra 3,000 yen cash as a deposit which will be returned to you when you return the bike.
  • Bike rental is available from 9 am to 5:30 pm.
  • Fees:
    • Electric-assisted bikes:
      • 600 yen for the first 2 hours
      • 200 yen for each additional hour
    • Normal bikes:
      • 500 yen for the first 2 hours
      • 100 yen for each extra hour
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Fukuchiyama Castle (福知山城) and Goryō Shrine (御靈神社)

If you come to Fukuchiyama by train, you might notice a castle on the hill from the train’s window. Fukuchiyama Castle is a popular destination and a landmark in northern Kyoto. It was also chosen to be one of the Continued Top 100 Japanese Castles (続日本100名城) by the Japanese Castle Foundation (日本城郭協会)!

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The castle and the Goryō Shrine, which are deeply connected with the famous samurai – Akechi Mitsuhide, are the two spots in Fukuchiyama that provide us with some proof that this man is a lot more than just a traitor to his lord – Oda Nobunaga.

Please refer to our article on Fukuchiyama Castle to find out more details!

Bakery Landbrot (パン工房 landbrot)

You might get hungry after strolling around Fukuchiyama Castle Park and Goryō Shrine for an hour or two. But don’t worry. Fukuchiyama City has it all sorted for you.

Hirokōji Street (広小路通り) is at the west of Goryō Shrine and is the shrine’s approach. It is also Fukuchiyama’s main shopping street.

Buried in shops that line both sides of the street is the German Bakery Landbrot. This bakery makes its bread by milling organic brown wheat and is renowned for its delicious stuffed bread. Make sure you get there before 11:30, or else there won’t be much left!

Important: Please note most of their savory bread are not vegetarian. If you don’t eat eggs, there are still options that you can choose from. Please use our Essential Japanese Travel Phrases for Vegetarians and Vegans article to help you order vegetarian and vegan-friendly options.

Bakery Landbrot’s Opening Hours and Access Information

  • The bakery is open from 9:30 am to 5 pm from Tuesday to Saturday.
  • It is approximately a 10-minute walk from JR Fukuchiyama Station.

Sandanike Park (三段池公園)

If you are after a scenic place filled with nature but don’t want to travel too far away from the station, then Sandanike Park could be your next destination at Fukuchiyama.

The park was built around the irrigation pond created by Matsudaira Tadafusa (松平 忠房), one of the lords of Fukuchiyama Domain.

The park was built around the irrigation pond created by Matsudaira Tadafusa (松平 忠房), one of the lords of Fukuchiyama Domain.

The 1.3 km promenade surrounding Sandan Lake is stunning throughout the year, with cherry blossoms and azaleas in spring, vivid fall foliage in autumn, and snow scenery in winter.

And in summer, you can observe wild birds by the lake!

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How to Get to Sandanike Park

  • From JR (福知山駅), take the Fukuchiyama Community Bus, Anga Bus (庵我バス), or Kyoto Kōtsū (京都交通) Kawakita Line (川北線).
  • Then, get off at Sandanike Kōen (三段池公園), which takes around 10 minutes.
    • The number of services is limited.
  • Please refer to HERE and click the first PDF for the Anga Bus timetable.
    • Note the bus only operates on weekdays and Saturdays.
  • Refer to HERE and click “41/42 川北線” for Kyoto Kōtsū’s services.
  • If you plan to walk from the station, it will take around 40 minutes.

Chōanji Temple (長安寺)

On the other side of Fukuchiyama Station, Chōanji Temple is also known as Tenba Province’s Maple Temple (丹波のもみじ寺) because of the bright autumn color that usually peaks from mid to late November.

If you like festivals, then come on the 2nd Sunday of November for the Chōanji Autumn Festival (長安寺紅葉まつり)!

The fall color can be enjoyed not only in the temple’s precinct but also in the park in front of it!

The temple also has cherry trees that usually bloom from early to mid-April.

The temple was founded by Prince Maroko (麻呂子親王) in the 6th century when he was on his way to defeat the demons living in Mt. Ōe. To pray for a victory, a Yakushi Nyorai (薬師如来) statue was carved and enshrined here.

Since then, the temple has undergone several fire hazards. The current temple that we see today was restored by Fukuchiyama Domain’s lord Sugihara Ietsugu (杉原 家次) in the late 16th century.

If you are visiting Kyoto during other times of the year, Chōanji Temple still has a lot to offer (=゚ω゚)ノ.

The Japanese traditional rock garden, also known as the Zen garden in front of the main worship hall, is another thing the temple is famous for. The garden here is the artwork of the country’s leading landscape gardener – Shigemori Kanto (重森 完途), in the late 20th century.

Furthermore, the sculpture on the interior walls of Yakushi-dō Hall (薬師堂) at the left of the main hall has sculptures of the 12 Zodiacs. It can be fun to find your zodiac when you get there! Also, on the ceiling, the dragons were the work of the fifth head of Nakai Gonji-ittō (中井権次一統) in 1816.

Chōanji Temple’s Opening Hours, Admission Fees, and Access Information

  • Chōanji temple is open from 9 am to 5 pm.
  • The admission fees are:
    • 300 yen for high school students and above
    • 100 yen for elementary and junior high school students
  • From Fukuchiyama Station, you can also take Kyoto Kōtsū (京都交通)’s Komaki Line (小牧線) and get off at Handa (半田). The temple is then a 30-minute walk away.
    • Refer to HERE and click “53/51 小牧線” for Kyoto Kōtsū’s services.
  • You can also get off the train at Fukuchiyama Shimin Byōinguchi Station (福知山市民病院口駅). The temple is then a 35-minute walk away.
    • The stop is written as “市民病院” on the timetable.
  • If you plan to take a JR train, then get off at JR Fukuchiyama Station (福知山駅). The temple is then a 40-minute walk away.

Important: If you plan to go to the Chōanji Temple by bicycle, be prepared to cycle through some upward slopes.

Tanshū Kan’onji Temple (丹州観音寺)

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If you love indulging yourself in a sea of flowers, then you have to stop by the 1st Kansai’s Temple of Flowers (関西花の寺) – Tanshū Kan’onji Temple!

The temple is renowned for the 10,000 hydrangeas of around 100 different species. Because of the number of hydrangeas that grow on the ground of Tanshū Kan’onji Temple, it is also known as Tanba’s Hydrangea Temple (=゚ω゚)ノ.

The best thing about the temple is that there still aren’t too many visitors, even on weekends in the hydrangea season!

The temple originated in 720 by a monk – Hōdōsen’nin (法道仙人), who carved a Kannon statue on a sacred tree. The statue was then placed in a simple worship hall.

In 961, Kūyajōnin (空也上人) expanded the temple to the seven worship halls that we have today. Since then, it has prospered as the central Buddhist temple in Tanba Province (丹波国).

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Flower Calendar at Tanshū Kan’onji

  • Cherry blossoms: Early April
  • Wisteria: Early May
  • Hydrangeas and Japanese Stewartia: mid-June to early July
    • The hydrangeas usually peak from mid to late June
    • On the last Sunday of June, the Hydrangea Festival (あじさいまつり) is held
  • Fall foliage: November to early December
  • Japanese allspice: December to February

Tip: For hydrangea flowers, don’t just take photos around the mountain gate. Drop by the car park for a massive wall of colorful flowers (^_-)-☆.

Tanshū Kan’onji’s Opening Hours, Admission Fees, and Access Information

  • Tanshū Kan’onji is open from 9 am to 5 pm.
  • The admission fee is 400 yen, payable during the hydrangea season.
  • Tanshū Kan’onji is a 20-minute walk away from JR Ishihara Station (石原駅).
  • You can also take Kyoto Kōtsū (京都交通) Fukuchiyama Line (福知山線) and get off at Kan’onji (観音寺). The temple is then a 5-minute walk away.
    • Refer to HERE and click “31/32 福知山線” for Kyoto Kōtsū’s services.

Sainokami no Fuji (才ノ神の藤)

For wisteria lovers, one of the bests spots in Fukuchiyama is the 1,200-year-old wisteria in Sainokami no Fuji Park (才ノ神の藤公園).

The small flower buds will start turning into light purple flowers from late April. In early May, the Sainokami Fuji Festival is usually held on a Sunday, with many temporary stalls entertaining the crowd.

The closer you get to the wisteria pergola, the stronger the aroma of flowers you will smell. To get a full view of the tree, you can get to the observation area opposite the wisteria!

One thing to note is the flowers here usually bloom later than other wisteria plants in the area.

How to Get to Sainokami no Fuji Park

  • Fukuchiyama’s Community Bus – Ōe Bus (大江バス) Nikashita Line (二箇下線) from Ōe Station (大江駅), and get off at Minamiariji (南有路). From there, it is around a 20-minute walk.
    • Refer to HERE and click “二箇下線” for the timetable of the service.
  • If you are driving, there is a car park with a capacity of 20 – 30 cars.

Onigawara Park (鬼瓦公園)

Other than Fukuchiyama Station, quite a few attractions in Fukuchiyama City are around Kyoto Tango Railway’s (京都丹後鉄道) Ōe Station (大江駅).

Onigawara Park, just in front of the train station, has 72 demon roof ornamentations. They were all made by professional demon tile makers around the country.

There is a demon fountain, demon street lights, demon manholes, and more other than the tiles! So what is with all these demon-themed decorations?

It is to do with Mt. Ōe (大江山) close by, which is said to be the lair of Shuten-dōji (酒呑童子), the leader of all Japanese demons.

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If you are amazed by the number of different kinds of Japanese demons and want to know more, you can drop by Ōeyama Shutendoji-no-Sato (大江山 酒呑童子の里). It also has accommodation facilities for you to stay overnight at.

To get there, you can also take Fukuchiyama’s Community Bus – Ōe Bus’s (大江バス) Ōeyama no Ie Line (大江山の家線) from Ōe Station (大江駅) and get off at Ōeyama no Ie (大江山の家). Refer to HERE and click “大江山の家線)” for the service’s timetable.

Motoise Sansha Shrines (元伊勢三社)

If you have been to the Ise Jingu (伊勢神宮) in Mie Prefecture, you might be interested in visiting the Motoise Sansha Shrines where the objects of worship of Ise Jingu used to be enshrined.

It is also a destination where rock climbing addicts would want to visit, for the worship hall which can only be accessed with a degree of rock climbing skills!

For more information, please refer to our article on Motioise Sansha Shrines!

Futasegawa Gorge (二瀬川渓流)

Futasegawa Gorge, slightly north of Moto Ise Naigu Kōtai Shrine, is one of Kyoto’s most beautiful hidden places. The gorge is known for the scenery blended by clear streams of water flowing through countless enormous rocks and the surrounding greeneries.

The autumn scenery at Shindōji Bridge (神童子橋) is so breathtaking that quite a few Japanese dramas were shot here.

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As strong as the suspension bridge might seem, it will swing if the day is windy. So if you are afraid of heights, it might be a good idea to do some mental preparation before you cross (´▽`*).

Note that while the snow scenery is also stunning at Shindōji Bridge, you might not be able to get to the bridge if the snow has accumulated too much.

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Tip: For autumn foliage hunting, come from early to late November.

A demon will greet you at the bus stop/car park. On the way to Shindōji Bridge, you will also spot a demon’s footprint gouging on a rock surface on the ground. It is labeled “鬼の足跡” clearly so you will see it without much effort (^_-)-☆.

A return trip to the bridge will take around an hour to get back to the car park.

Mitaryōjikōjin (美多良志荒神)’s Ancestral Shrine

Before crossing the Shindōji Bridge, check out the tower/pillar supporting the bridge. It is in the shape of a torii gate!

The bridge is also part of the approach to Mitaryōjikōjin’s shrine. The legend goes that when the army led by Prince Maroko (麻呂子親王) was trying to defeat the demons here, they struggled to find the demons because the demons used witchcraft so that the humans couldn’t see them. Then, two white dogs with a mirror attached to their forehead appeared. With the mirrors, the dogs broke the demons’ witchcraft by reflecting light to where the demons were.

And when all the demons were defeated, the dogs passed away and were enshrined here as incarnations of god.

So when you walk past their shrine, remember to thank the dogs for the astonishing scenery we can adore here!

How to Get to Futasegawa Gorge

To get to Futasegawa Gorge, you can also take Fukuchiyama’s Community Bus – Ōe Bus (大江バス) Ōeyama no Ie Line (大江山の家線) from Kyoto Tango Railway (京都丹後鉄道)’s Ōe Station (大江駅) and get off at Futasegawa (二瀬川).

Refer to HERE and click “大江山の家線)” for the service’s timetable.

You can also get on the bus from Naigu-ekimae (内宮駅前), which is just at Ōeyamaguchinaiku Station (大江山口内宮駅).

Ōeyama Onitake Inari Shrine (鬼嶽稲荷神社)

If you are driving and plan to drop by Ōeyama Shutendoji-no-Sato, we recommend you go further to Ōeyama Onitake Inari Shrine for a wide view of Mt. Ōe.

From Ōeyama Shutendoji-no-Sato, it is around a 20-minute drive. You can, of course, hike your way up, but it will take around 80 minutes.

From here, you can hike further up to the summit of Mt. Ōe, which is just approximately 1 km away.

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Tip: Mt. Ōe is also known for its fantastic sea of cloud scenery. If you are interested, come between dawn and around 8 am from October to December for a better chance of seeing the top of the mountain floating in the sky.

Kyoto Prefecture Forestry Experiment Center (京都府緑化センター)

In the far north of Fukuchiyama City, the 132 weeping cherry trees of 73 species usually bloom from late March to late April. Light-up events will occur 道の駅 農匠の郷やくin April while the flowers are on the trees.

On weekends from early to mid-April, the festival, Shidare Sakura no Yube (しだれ桜の夕べ), is held with concerts and temporary local specialties stalls.

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How to Get to Kyoto Prefecture Forestry Experiment Center

Kyoto Prefecture Forestry Experiment Center is a 20-minute walk from JR Kami-Yakuno Station (上夜久野駅).

Roadside Station Nōshō-no-Sato Yakuno (道の駅 農匠の郷やくの)

On the other side of the rail track, the roadside station can go hand in hand with sightseeing at Kyoto Prefecture Forestry Experiment Center. It is also the other venue of the Shidare Sakura no Yube (しだれ桜の夕べ) festival.

Aside from the usual restaurants and specialties corner, there is also a gallery of Tanba Lacquarware (丹波漆) – Yakunoki to Urushi no Yakata(やくの木と漆の館). If you are more of an experience-oriented type of person, you can also reserve your spot to participate in one of their lacquerware sessions.

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For more information, please refer to the official website HERE. As the website is in Japanese, please use Google Chrome’s translating function at the right of the address bar. For reservations, you can kindly ask the staff at your accommodation to make a phone call for you if you don’t speak Japanese.

And for those who are interested in fossils, you can drop by Fukuchiyamashi Yakunochō Kaseki Kyodo Museum (福知山市夜久野町化石・郷土資料館) for the fossils that were discovered in Yakuno Town!

Roadside Station Nōshō-no-sato Yakuno’s Business Hours and Access Information

  • The business hours are from 9:30 am to 5 pm daily except the 3rd Wednesday of each month, and from the end of December to the beginning of January.
    • If the 3rd Wednesday is a public holiday, the roadside station will be open
  • Roadside Station Nōshō-no-Sato Yakuno is a 7-minute walk from JR Kami-Yakuno Station (上夜久野駅)

Hōzan Park (宝山公園)

Another great place to visit in Fukuchiyama in autumn is Hōzan Park. The autumn scenery in the only volcano in Kyoto from early to the end of November is just adorable!

Hiking up the Yakuno Kōgen or Yakuno Plateau (夜久野高原) takes around 30 minutes, and you will be accompanied by the 88 stone Buddha statues that line the promenade.

From October to early December, between dawn to the early morning, if you walk up to the observatory, which is just a 20-minute hike from the park entrance, you have a high chance of seeing the phenomenal view of the sea of clouds (*´ω`).

And if you happen to come to Fukuchiyama in early to mid-April, the park also has some impressive cherry blossom views.

How to Get to Hōzan Park

Hōzan Park is just a 15-minute walk from JR Kami-Yakuno Station (上夜久野駅).

Yakuno Basalt Park (やくの玄武岩)

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To see an artwork created by Mt. Hōzan (宝山), you can travel a bit further away from the Roadside Station Nōshō-no-sato Yakuno.

Here, you can take your time and slowly observe the columnar joints of basalt formed by the lava from the mountain that had cooled and solidified when it exploded 30,000 to 40,000 years ago.

Whilst the scale of the basalt is a lot smaller than the Genbudō Park (玄武洞公園) close to Kinosaki Onsen (城崎温泉), the basalt here will be lit up at night from sunset to 9 pm.

In mid-Spring, the cherry blossom in front of the stone cliff will also add to the charm of the spot (^_-)-☆.

How to Get to Yakuno Basalt Park

From JR Kami-Yakuno Station (上夜久野駅), take Yakuno Bus (夜久野バス)’s Itōguchi Chihara Line (板生・千原線) and get off at Genbugan Kōen (玄武岩公園).

Extend Your Visit to Rural Kyoto to Maizuru City

Click the photo for more information about this stunning spot!

Fukuchiyama City’s neighbor, Maizuru City, is another awesome destination in rural Kyoto. The city should be especially attractive to you if you are passionate about military-related attractions or are after the gorgeous scenery of Maizuru Bay.

For more information, please refer to our article on Maizuru City!

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