Translated by Sandy Lau
Near Kyoto! Amanohashidate - How To Enjoy One Of Japan’s Three Scenic Views
Amanohashidate consists of about 8000 pine trees and sand spanning across a bay in Kyoto. It has been adored as one of Japan’s Three Scenic Views since long ago. How about visiting this magnificent view created by nature?
Written by MATCHA
A Beautiful View Created By Nature
Amanohashidate in Kyoto is known as one of Japan’s Three Scenic Views, together with Matsushima in Miyagi Prefecture and Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima, Hiroshima. You will arrive at the sandbank in about two hours via limited express from Kyoto Station.
Amanohashidate divides the ocean and bay into north and south waters, with approximately 8000 pine trees spanning across the bay into a single road. This terrain made from sasu (*1) and was given the name “Amanohashidate” in ancient Japan because it was said to appear like a bridge that hung over the heavens.
There are many ways to enjoy Amanohashidate, such as walking across the sandbank or relaxing on the beach. If you go up to the observatories by cable car, you’ll be able to see a view of the sandbank dividing the waters.
This article introduces ways to make the most out of your visit to Amanohashidate, sightseeing spots around the area, and how to access the area.
* Sasu: a sandbank that stretches from the inlet of one shore to the opposite shore. Created by sediment brought by water flow and wind.
Amanohashidate - Three Ways To Enjoy This Area
1. Explore by Walking or Cycling
The entire length of Amanohashidate is 3.6 kilometers, or 2.2 miles long with a road surrounded by pine trees stretching across its length. The large trunks of the pine trees are very impressive! There are shrines, stone monuments, and torii gates along the way, so be sure to take the time to stop and enjoy the scenery. This course will take about one to one and a half hours at a leisurely walking pace.
You can also rent a bicycle (Japanese) at both banks of the bay. It will take about 20 minutes to cross the sandbank by bicycle. After you’ve crossed the sandbank you can drop off your bicycle on the opposite side.
2. Relax on the Beach
Past the row of pine trees is a white beach and sparkling blue ocean. We recommend taking your time gazing at the ocean on this beach. This is also popular as a swimming area during the summer. The beach is perfect for playing in the ocean with its crystal clear waters and few waves.
The swimming area is accessible by foot in about seven minutes from Amanohashidate Station on the Kyoto Tango Railway. The area is scheduled to be open to the public from July 14th in 2018. Be sure to stay the night to enjoy the area as there are illuminations on the beach from 19:00 – 22:00.
3. View from the Observatory through “Matanozoki”
You can get a picturesque view of Amanohashidate at Amanohashidate View Land from the Amanohashidate Station side of the sandbank, or at Kasamatsu Park from the opposite shore. Pictured above is the view from Kasamatsu Park.
Once you’ve come up to the observatory at Amanohashidate, trying “matanozoki” is a must while sightseeing. “Matanozoki” describes the action of bringing your head in between your legs and looking at something from upside down. The upside down view might make Amanohashidate appear as if it were a dragon flying into the sky.
Amanohashidate from Kasamatsu Park will appear as a single, beautiful line while the view from Amanohashidate View Land will have rich greenery on its side. You’ll be able to take a photo of the dragon’s head this way.
There are also restaurants and cafés at both observatories. How about a meal while gazing at the magnificent scenery extending out before you?
Recommended Spots near Amanohashidate
Chionji Temple - Unique Hanging Fortunes
Chionji Temple, a five minute walk from Amanohashidate Station, is where Manjusri, the bodhisattva granting wisdom, is enshrined. People visit from all across Japan to pray for success in academics.
The small sensu (folding fans) hung up on the temple’s pine trees is a feature seldom found anywhere else. These fans are Chionji Temple’s fortunes. Called “Folding Fan Fortunes”, it is custom to leave after hanging the fan on a pine tree after reading your fortune. We recommend trying this out for yourself!
Chionji Temple: Google Map
Chie no Yu - A Hot Springs Facility Near The Station
An onsen (hot spring) called Chie no Yu is also located a minute walk away from Amanohashidate Station. Chie no Yu also has open air baths, making this onsen a great place to relax after a long day of exploring.
It costs 700 yen for adults and 350 yen for children to enter the onsen. Chie no Fu is open from 12:00 to 22:00. Please be aware that the facility is closed on Wednesdays. Footbaths that can be used for free are located outside, so we recommend trying just the footbaths if you don’t have that much time.
Additionally, discount tickets that include a roundtrip lift ticket for Amanohashidate View Land and an entry ticket for Chie no Yu are sold as a set at the Amanohashidate Station Tourist Information Center. The original 1550 yen price will be reduced to 1000 yen, so this ticket set is a great value if you also plan to visit the observatory.
Chie no Yu: Google Map
Manai Shrine - A Quietly Standing Spiritual Spot
Manai Shrine, located on the Kasamatsu Park side of the sandbank, is known as a powerful spiritual spot.
Spring water found within the shrine grounds has historically been considered holy water, or “water offered to the gods”. The water itself is crystal clear and many people bring the water home in a plastic bottle.
For details, please read the following article: Seaside Kyoto – A Guide To The Top Spots In Miyazu City (Part 2).
Manai Shrine: Google Map
Access to Amanohashidate Station from Kyoto and Osaka
Riding the Express Bus is most convenient and budget-friendly way to get to Amanohashidate at 3000 yen. It takes about three hours. For details, please read this page.
You can get to Amanohashidate Station without any transfers by taking the Limited Express Hashidate from JR Kyoto Station. It will cost 3880 yen and will take about two hours.
However, the train comes once per hour, so transferring may be necessary at stations along the way depending on the time.
Amanohashidate Station: Google Map
If traveling to Amanohashidate by train from JR Osaka Station, the simplest method is traveling to Kyoto Station, then taking the Limited Express Hashidate. For information on traveling to Kyoto Station from JR Osaka Station, please read the following article: Getting From Osaka To Kyoto – What’s The Fastest And Easiest Way?
Access to Each Observatory from Amanohashidate Station
Pictured left: cable car; pictured right: chair lift
Kasamatsu Park is located on the other side after crossing Amanohashidate. It is suggested to go to the opposite shore, which you can do by strolling across the sandbank.
To get to the observatory, you will be using either the cable car or the chair lift. The ride on the cable car is four minutes while the lift is about six minutes. Both methods are 660 yen (adults) for a roundtrip ticket.
Kasamatsu Park: Google Map
First departure: 8:00
December through February: 16:30
March, November: 17:00
April through October: 17:30 (18:00 from July 20th to August 20th)
March through November: 9:00 – 16:00
*Last departure times will vary depending on the season.
*The service will be suspended from December to February.
Amanohashidate View Land
It’s a five minute walk from Amanohashidate Station to the lift and monorail platform. It will take approximately six minutes by lift and seven minutes by monorail to reach the top. The fee is 850 yen (junior high school and older) for a roundtrip ticket and also includes the entry fee. The ticket is useable with both the lift and monorail.
Amanohashidate View Land: Google Map
First departure: 9:00 (8:30 from July 21st – August 20th)
February 21st through July 20th: 17:00
July 21st through August 20th: 18:00
August 21st through October 20th: 17:00
October 21st through February 20th: 16:30
Amanohashidate is home to various highlights including a beautiful view, sacred Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, hot springs to soothe your travel fatigue, and more. If you’ll be sightseeing Kyoto or Osaka, how about making your way to Amanohashidate for a day?
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Original Author: Haruka
* This article is a revision updated for 2018 of an article originally published on October 24th, 2015.