The Land of Harvest
Tamba-Sasayama was a major transportation hub. The city developed as a center of exchange. The castle town, nature, and the hometown of pottery offer a glimpse of what Japan was like 400 years ago.
Tamba straddling the prefectures of Kyōtō and Hyōgo. It was an important center of trade and exchange on the Kyoto route. It still preserves ancient samurai houses from the Edo period and a castle, precious witnesses of everyday life four centuries ago.
A city of history, crafts and folk art, Tamba is also an ideal local destination for going green. The agricultural tradition remains very present there. Tamba's black beans and mushrooms are famous throughout Japan.
The region of Tamba, and Tamba in particular, developed from the 12th century a tradition of pottery and ceramics: the Tamba-yaki. Tamba ceramics are one of the oldest in Japan. In the potters' village of Tachikui soot no sato, nearly 60 pottery workshops continue their activities at the foot of the mountain.
Tamba is also the birthplace of the decansho bushi dance. From the Edo period, it gave rise to a festival of folk songs whose fame has toured Japan. The villagers meet at night to dance in circles.
To enhance agricultural products, the Tamba and Hohmei breweries distill sake according to ancestral traditions, whether it is the use of traditional equipment, or the choice to work to the rhythms of classical music. Through its multiple traditions, Tamba declines a whole art of living.
Tamba Sasayama is surrounded by nature and has a rich food culture. In conjunction with NIPPONIA, a company dedicated to preserving Japanese landscapes, the town is developing old warehouses and mansions into hotels, where visitors can experience the life and culture of the area, and the changing of the seasons.
Tamba Sasayama Castle was built in 1609 and is ranked one of Japan’s Top 100 Castles. The castle town is famous for its rows of historically valuable samurai residences, and stores and cafes that make use of the old buildings and cobblestone pavements. It is also one of Japan’s best 100 cherry blossom viewing spots.
Founded in 1797, Houmei Brewery believes that “Sake is culture”, and creates a strong, robust and authentic range of sake. In the over two hundred years old brewery, visitors can see the various sake making production processes and tools, and even taste the sake!
The Dekansho Matsuri is Tamba Sasayama’s lively summer Bon Festival dance. The lyrics of Dekansho Bushi, describe the history and culture, regional climate, famous places, and specialties of Sasayama, and was Japan Heritage listed in 2015.
Since 1979, Tamba Wine has been promoted as Kyoto's first local wine, compatible with delicate Japanese cuisine. In 1984, Tamba’s Toriino white wine was awarded the gold medal at the Monde Selection, the Challenge International de Vin and the Japan Wine Challenge amongst others.
Kyoto’s Tamba area is characterized by staircase-like river terraces formed along the riverbanks. The original riverbed became a plateau higher than the current riverbed, and the rich soil of the terraces produce delicious rice and other agricultural products.
The ancient village of Miyama-cho in Kyoto is home to 39 traditional thatched roofed houses offering a picturesque encounter with a traditional Japanese landscape. The Kamakura Shrine, located on a hill above the village, offers a spectacular view of the old homes.
Choro Shuzo brewery has been brewing sake since ancient times at the foot of Mt. Chorogatake in the Niwa District of Kyoto. Its product is a mellow, slightly dry, and full-bodied sake made with clear, clean water and good quality rice.
For around 850 years the clay rich Tachikui area of Kyoto’s Tamba region has produced high quality pottery. The unique Tachikui clay throwing technique uses a foot propelled counter-clockwise spinning throwing wheel called a keri-rokuro, handed down from generation to generation.