Amanohashidate (天橋立) is one of Japan’s three scenic views. Amanohashidate, the meaning is referred to roughly bridge in heaven and is a 3.6-km-long, pine tree covered sand bar. It spans across Miyazu Bay on the Tango Peninsula, northern Kyoto Prefecture. We decided to take a free and easy day trip to northern Kyoto during our recent trip to Kyoto. If you prefer a tour instead, you can consider this pre-purchase day trip tour here.
HOW TO GET HERE
From Kyoto Station, you can either opt for bus ride (Fare ¥2,900 ~S$29.00 one way ticket) or train services. The bus ride will take approximately 2 hours 15minutes.
For train services:
1. Take Hashidate limited express to Amanohashidate Station for 2 hours 19minutes with no transfers required. However, the train fare will be higher as compared to others. Fare ¥4,790 ~S$47.90 one way ticket.
2. Or take the JR San’in Line to Fukuchiyama Station. Transfer to the Kyoto Tango Railway and take the Miyafuku Line to Miyazu Station, and then the Miyatoyo Line to Amanohashidate Station.It will take you approximately 3 hours 14 minutes. Fare ¥2,340 ~S$23.40 one way ticket.
There are certain timing for the bus ride and the Hashidate limited express. Thus, do take note and go to the counter to check. The last train ride back to Kyoto Station is 6pm for the day.
From Osaka Station, take Konotori to Amanohashidate Station via Kitakinki Tango Railway. Change train at Fukuchiyama for Amanohashidate Station. There is also limited express option.
We were in Kyoto during that period, so we took the limited express option to our final destination.
Note:I would suggest to buy at the counter and payment can be done via credit card payment if you prefer cashless. I used Youtrip to purchase most of my train tickets and only exchange my JPY rates a day before or on the day itself. I think it is better and avoid administrative charges from usual credit cards.
THINGS TO DO IN AMANOHASHIDATE
You can choose to explore on foot or by renting bicycle to go around the attraction places. The walking distance is approximately 10 minutes from Amanohashidate Station. Alternatively, you can go for group tour package that covers your activities for the day trip.
Amanohashidate View Land – Flying Dragon, Descending Dragon
Walk approximately 10 minutes from the station to the chairlift and monorail boarding station to reach Amanohashidate View Land. Visitors can choose either to take chairlift or monorail to reach the top of Mount Monju.
Upon reaching the top, you will find an observation deck aka “sky path” and a mini theme park and restaurant. This is one of the famous view spots of Amanohashidate. The amusement park consists of Ferris Wheel, roller coaster and mini golf course for kids.
@hazeldiary_ Spent a day trip to Amanohashidate (天橋立) -one of Japan’s three scenic views. It’s totally worth it! #traveltips #visitjapan #visitjapanjp #天橋立ビューランド #天橋立に行ってきた ♬ すずめ feat.十明 – RADWIMPS
One of the highlights is the unusual Amanohashidate custom, mata-nozoki. It refers to bending forward to view the scenery upside-down through your legs. You will see the land and sky upside down and the view looks like a dragon ascending to the heavens.
Walk through the dragon imaged sky path, Hiryukan-kairo and enjoy the view from the top. You can use the spiral stairs to get to the sky path part.
One unusual Amanohashidate custom is mata-nozoki: bending forward to view the scenery upside-down through your legs. This inverts heaven and earth, turning the sandbar snaking across the water into a dragon soaring through the sky (known as the hiryūkan, or “flying dragon view”).
And there is a “kawarake throw” near the observation deck area. It is a custom offering prayer and protection from misfortune, and has been performed in Japan since long, long ago. Pay ¥300 and get 3 kawarake (ceramic stones) to throw through the “ring of wisdom”. It said that if you manage to throw all 3, your wishes will come true. I tried my best and it was quite difficult throw.
Take a stroll along pine-covered sandbar, which stretching along Miyazu Bay that are formed after river sand and pebbles were swept away by the ocean current. It is just few minutes’ walk away from the train station. You can stroll along the sandy side of the bay and enjoy the breeze walking or hiking.
If you are lucky enough, you can witness the rotating bridge, Kaisen-kyo Bridge. This unusual bridge turns 90 degrees when ships pass through the waterway and connects the Amanohashidate landbridge and the Monju area. The original bridge is built in 1923 and was hand-operated but later made electric in May 1960.
Temples and Shrines
Dive into the spiritual world and visit the temples / shrines dotted throughout the area. One of the nearest spots is Isoshimizu. Isoshimizu is famous for having freshwater while being in the middle of a sandbar surrounded by the ocean. The water drawn here contains no salt. There is a nearby Amanohashidate-jinja Shrine, which is a popular spot to pray for luck in romance. Next, visit Chionji Temple also known as Monju-do,a temple of wisdom at Amanohashidate. It is just 4 minutes’ walk away from Amanohashidate View Land. The temple attracts many tourists and also students during exam season.
One of the very unique things in this temple are the omikuji ( shape of sensu (fans)). Instead of the regular omikuji, you can purchase the mini fans and leave your fortunes hanging from the trees around the temple.
We enjoyed our day trip to Amanohashidate, which is less touristy as of now and easily accessible by train. It makes a good day trip from Kyoto or Osaka and away from the crowded attraction places. If you have more time, consider spending a night here to check out their onsen and enjoy the peaceful night stay here.