The ancients channelled Ebisu and the elixir of eternity on the cliffs beyond the horizon, but today the only spirits we will imbibe are freshly made from Kuramoto Mukai, famous for squeezing every bit of goodness from the Murasaki Komachi, a beautiful strain of purple rice that is truly a drink worthy of the divine.
It is a beautiful spring day. We snake and skirt the water's edge, with the sun behind us and the biggest smile on our face. We have this place to ourselves, in this preserved old town that thousands may have flown past from Japan to the Eurasian landmass. Where are we? Only three hours from Kyoto Station.
Even migrating birds like the Bar-tailed godwit, Eastern Curlew, Grey tailed Tattler, Great knot have seen more of Ine than their humans counterparts from Australia, America or Russia.
By the way, the local guide has seen some of these bikes in far away Amanohashidate, a good hour away by bus. Not that these bikes have a migratory instinct, but as they are free, some too clever bloke has taken it far beyond its nest in Ine Village, even with the tell tale Ine logo prominently stamped on the side of the bike. Yes you have read it right; this is the cheapest bike hire in the world. None of these city bike hires that you see in New York or Melbourne where you have to pay $12 USD for a day’s hire; here you can ride without even carrying your wallet. Mind you, it may stop you from buying that freshly brewed sake from the weathered brewery you just rode past.
Actually, sightseeing Ine without a coin to your name is more than a pipe dream. Pass holders of the Amanohashidate two day pass can scoot around on the bus, bike, sightseeing ferry and more. Just remember to hold on to your ticket.