The Tamba Valley, about 60 minutes outside the city center in Kyoto's peaceful western mountains, has recently become known for farm stays. Hop on the Sagano Scenic Railway train from its terminus in Kyoto’s suburb of Arashiyama, and head to this magical mossy world of ancient Japan
nearly forgotten by Japanese themselves. The valley's lush and lonely hillsides are peppered with steep-roofed farms, ramshackle temples, and roadsides bursting pink with honeywort azalea poking out from rocky crops along the Hozu River. Furumaya House, run by husband and wife Sayaka and Nicholas, is a traditional farmhouse that's been converted into a cozy inn and cooking school.