Kayabuki no sato Kitamura (かやぶきの里・北村)

Kayabuki no sato Kitamura is a village located in Miyama-cho Kita, Nantan City, Kyoto Prefecture (formerly Miyama-cho, Kita-Kuwada-gun). Many houses with thatched roofs that are now a rarity still remain here today.

History of the village
Geographically, this area belonged to Tanba Province and it is said that since the manorial system people lived here earning their livelihood by logging and hunting.

The road running through this community was identified as what was known as one of Saba-kaido Roads situated midway between Kyoto and Wakasa Province where many travelers were seen coming and going. It is said that, due to the reason as mentioned above, the architecture and lifestyle of this village were influenced by those of various regions.

In 1993, this entire village was designated as a Preservation District for Groups of Historic Buildings by the Agency for Cultural Affairs.

Within this district, they organized the 'Kayabuki-no-sato Preservation Society' and made an in-depth study on various issues to strike a balance between preserving the historic area and lifestyle of residents. The area residents, consequently, invested in founding Kayabuki-no-sato, Inc. whereby they began to systematically maintain and operate buildings as tourist facilities.

Buildings in the village
Many of the existing thatched-roofed houses were built between the mid and late-Edo period that are classified as the 'Kitayama-style houses,' characterized by the shape of roof reminding one of houses in folk tales.

There are approximately 50 houses in this village, with 38 of them being thatched-roofed. The Community Center, Museum of History and guest houses are among those thatched-roofed buildings.

There are a restaurant and souvenir shop on the outskirts of the village that are operated by Kayabuki-no-sato, Inc. That is also a thatched-roofed building.

Tourist facilities

Kaya no sato (Souvenir shop.
Kayabuki-no-sato, Inc. and Kitamura Kibi (millet) Kobo (workshop) are located in this building.)

Oshokuji dokoro (Restaurant) Kitamura
The Museum of History
Chii-hachimangu Shrine
Privately-run lodging is also available.

Operation and maintenance

It is necessary to replace thatches once in several decades to maintain thatched roofs. At one point, it was feared that thatched-roof workers might become extinct with no successors around but several residents of the village became thatched-roof craftsmen in recent year.

Thatched-roofed houses are highly combustible. Some houses have been destroyed by fire in recent years and fire prevention is an urgent matter. The main building of every house is equipped with a ladder pipe nozzle. Each ladder pipe nozzle is usually stored in a box in the shape of a hut but, when in use, the roof of that hut (the storage box) will be opened by a hydraulic cylinder (presumably by remote control operation) to release the ladder pipe nozzle.

Directions and location
Kyoto Hirogawara Miyama Line of Kyoto Prefectural Route 38

[Original Japanese]