Vegetarian's Japan Guide

Spending a Night at Ine Bay’s Funaya, WATER FRONT INN Yosasou

If you are after a unique experience in Japan, consider spending a night at Ine Bay‘s traditional house, Funaya (舟屋). This type of architecture can only be found at Ine. This is why the Funayas are nationally recognized as cultural property. A couple of the former fishermen’s houses were later renovated into ryokans. If you have some time, book a night with one of the inns and see what living in a Japanese fishing town is like. Ine is a place to take things slow and enjoy life!

One of the Funayas you can consider making a booking is Yosasou (与謝荘). It is the biggest Funaya in Ine. Because of its size, the waterfront inn can accommodate more guests. While the inn only has the traditional futon beds on the tatami mats, it is the place to experience what staying in a typical ryokan is like.

Because Yosasou’s owner backpacked around various countries when he was young, Yosasou received international guests before the town was on foreign tourists’ radar. But interestingly, while the inn receives many international visitors, the staff still relies on translation apps.

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Checking in at Yosasou

Yosasou is just a 2-minute walk from the bus stop, Ine (伊根). After getting off the bus, turn left at the intersection where the traffic light is. At the end of the road, turn right. Yosasou is the last Funaya on the street.

When we got there, the owner’s wife was waiting for us at the entrance. She was ready to conduct the 1-hour Ine Bay tour that we booked!

Like other hotels and inns in Japan, you can leave your bags and suitcases at the reception and explore the town first before checking in.

If there is no one at the reception, simply press the bell on the table. Someone should be with you shortly.

Yosasou’s Facilities

The photo below on the left is what you will see from Yosasou’s reception at the entrance. The first floor’s guestrooms are beyond the wooden stairs. Remember to leave your shoes on the shoe rack.

Yosasou’s dining area is on the lower ground floor. The entrance is underneath the staircase to the second floor. Renovated from the ship hangar, it is the part of the inn closest to the water.

The toilet and one of the bathrooms are behind the door curtain on the left of the photo. There is another bathroom opposite the reception. There is another uni-sex toilet located at the end of the hallway on the second floor.

The layout of Yosasou’s bathrooms is the same as the ones found in middle-class Japanese homes. Although it isn’t big, it has everything you need. There is a changing area for you to take off your clothes. Shampoo, hair conditioner, and body gel are all available, so there is no need to bring your own. The bathtub is covered so that the hot water inside wouldn’t cool down as easily. After washing your body, open the lid and enjoy!

Dining at Yosasou

Dining at Yosasou is an enjoyment. The window seats directly face Ine Bay. If you are in a group of two, you will most likely be allocated the window seats. While we didn’t ask for it, you can let Yosasou know your preference to see if they can accommodate it.

Sitting at the window seats, the breakfast time at Yosasou was the most relaxing during our 2-week Japan trip. Towards the end of our breakfast, the seagulls lingering around the bay suddenly flew towards the inn. It must be because the neighbors brought out food for them. While it was probably just another day for the locals, our breakfast time was much more memorable!

Because we are vegetarians, the inn replaced the usual grilled fish with tofu for us. The side dishes of the day include seasoned bean sprouts, pickled cabbage, and mushrooms. For each group of guests, a bucket of rice is provided. You can then decide how much rice you want to scoop into your bowl. It is a great system that can help minimize food waste. The rice was so delicious that we finished all the rice in the bucket. If you require more, we are sure that the staff can refill the bucket for you.

The coffee pot on the side table is also for the guests to self-serve.

The Guestrooms at Yosasou

Unlike many other cheaper ryokans that we have stayed in, our guestroom on the second floor was really spacious. They combined two 6-tatami-mat rooms into one room, so we had a sleeping area and an eating/relaxing area.

The rooms were air-conditioned, but note that the futon beds were rather thin. If the beds are too hard for you to sleep on, ask the staff to see if they have extra futons to make the bed softer and thicker.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the rooms are not lockable. So it is best to keep your valuables with you at all times or have at least a person to stay in the room during your stay.

Each room has a low table where a large thermal water bottle, a teapot set, a tea bag, and snacks are placed. If you are out of hot water, bring the bottle to the reception, and the staff will refill it.

At night, the staff goes home at 10. A couple of thermal water bottles will be left at the reception for the guests to self-serve.

As only one side of the Funaya faces Ine Bay, the windows of most guestrooms are not directly above water. While we were a bit disappointed, the view from our room was still nice, and we could still see the mountains on the other side of the sea!

But if you are after the view in the IG post above, check with Yosasou. It is the step that we failed to do.

How to Book Your Stay with Yosasou

Yosasou makes it really easy for international guests to book their stay. Check the calendar at the end of Yosasou’s Official Website. If the date you want to book is available, fill out the web form by clicking the “Click Here for Reservation” button and wait for their confirmation.

If you have any requests, please include them in the remarks.

Yosasou’s Ine Bay Guided Tours

If you can understand Japanese or will be accompanied by an interpreter, we highly recommend booking Yosasou’s guided tour. It is conducted by the inn’s owner’s wife. She is really knowledgeable about Ine and will share the town’s history with you. The one-hour tour cost us 2,000 yen per person.

During the tour, you will explore two Funayas. One of them hasn’t been renovated and has the ship hangar on the ground level. The other one has been renovated into a comfortable private residence.

The tour ends at Kaizoji Temple (海蔵寺). The temple also accepts guests to spend the night. The best thing is that the meals provided are vegetarian. It is also the only spot in Ine where you can find vegetarian food! In early April, the cherry blossom at the temple will amaze you!

But making a booking can be hard as no one picked up our phone calls when we tried to make reservations. If you are keen, email Ine Tourist Information Center. They may offer some assistance.

Ine Bay (伊根湾)

Now that you have your accommodation sorted, it is time to explore the small fishing town and maybe check out the unique Funayas from the water. If you can understand Japanese or are accompanied by an interpreter, consider booking or joining their guided tour!

For more information on how you can enjoy this fishing village, please refer to our article on Ine Bay!

Click the photo for more information about Ine Bay’s attractions!

Visit Amanohashidate for One of the Three Views of Japan

Mata-nozoki-Platform-Amanohashidate-View-Land-Miyazu-Kyoto
Click the photo to find out about what the funny pose is for!

If Ine Bay is on your itinerary and you haven’t been to Amanohashidate for the celebrated view, you definitely should go. The two destinations go hand in hand!

Check out our article on Amanohashidate to find out why people are bending down over on the observatory and how the 5,000 pine trees can grow on the 3.6 km sandbar surrounded by seawater!

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