Difference between revisions of "Amanohashidate"
Revision as of 08:42, 16 November 2012
Amanohashidate (天橋立), the meaning of which is roughly bridge in heaven, is a 3.6 kilometer long, pine tree covered sand bar. It spans across Miyazu Bay on the Tango Peninsula, northern Kyoto Prefecture. It is ranked as one of Japan's three most scenic views.
Direct Hashidate (はしだて) limited expresses run four times a day and connect Kyoto Station to Amanohashidate in 106 minutes (¥ 4,310). Alternatively, connect at Fukuchiyama (福知山) or Nishi-Maizuru (西舞鶴) to the Kita-Kinki Tango Miyafuku Line (北近畿タンゴ宮福線); you can manage the trip with local trains for as little as ¥ 2,200, but this will take over three hours and require several transfers.
The Amanohashidate station is on a spur line off of the main line to Miyazu. Don't be surprised as the train stops completely in Miyazu, changes direction, and then turns onto a separate line toward Amanohashidate. NOTE: Japan Rail Pass holders must pay additional surcharges to visit Amanohashidate.
From Osaka (Hankyu Sanbangai bus terminal 阪急三番街高速バスターミナル) until Amanohashidate train station: run by Tankai bus company（丹海バス). It takes about 3 hours. Price: 2460 yen (one way, per person),runs 3times in a day. You can also catch this buses from Shin-Osaka (Shin-Osaka bus terminal 新大阪駅バスターミナル), price is almost the same.
From Kyoto (JR Kyoto station bus terminal, platform C2) until Amanohashidate train station: run by Tankai bus company（丹海バス). It takes about 2hours. Price: 2700 yen(one way, per person), runs twice in a day.
The small villages on both the north and south sides of the land bridge are easily walkable by foot, as distances are short. In the village of Monju (文珠) on the south side of the land bridge, the train station is only a few hundred feet from numerous ryokan, noodle shops, dried fish shops, and tourist shops.
One can rent a bicycle at one of the many bicycle rental shops around Amanohashidate to ride across the land bridge and bike to surrounding local tourist spots.
If you prefer motorized transport, small motorboats transport passengers between the north and south sides of Amanohashidate. The boats are inexpensive and take 5-10 minutes to travel the length of the land bridge. On the south side of Amanohashidate, the boats dock near the Shinto shrine.
About the only thing to see in Amanohashidate is, well, Amanohashidate itself. The land bridge is best viewed from the hillside on either the south or north side of it. On the south side, there is a chair lift and cog wheel-type train that one can ride up to a viewing area, where there is a small amusement park. On the north side, there is a chair lift and an electric train/trolley that take visitors up to a viewing area, where there is a small coffee and snack shop. Purchase tickets at the bottom of the lifts. They are well-marked and easy to locate.
The canonical way to view Amanohashidate is to turn your back to it, then bend over and look at it upside down from between your legs — this is supposed to make the bridge appear as if it floats to heaven, and bring good luck.
The rotating bridge on the south side of Amanohashidate is unique, although it is by no means a must-see. Rather than raising like a traditional drawbridge, the middle section of this bridge rotates 90 degrees to allow boats to pass through. The bridge is located near the Shinto shrine and boats that transport visitors to the north side of Amanohashidate
Swim on the sandbar in the summertime while eating dried squid.
Stay overnight so you can get up early (6am in Oct) and watch the cormorants & mist lift with the sunrise to reveal the pristine sandy bar that is the Bridge / Passage to Heaven.
Plus if you're quite lucky - you might meet a sumo wrestler! Be judicious about your hotel or ryokan, there are some with outdoor tubs on a second floor balcony and some with no view at all.
Chie-no-yu (知恵の湯): This is a small hot spring spot located just next to the Amanohashidate train station. Men and women are separated. Price: 700 yen/per person. Open: 14:00-21:00 (Mon, Tue, Thu and Fri), 12:00-21:00 (Sat, Sun and Public Holidays) Closed: every Monday (except Public Holidays). If you want to just try a bit of Japanese Onsen, you can try Ashiyu (足湯), a hot spring you can just soak your feet in, which is located outside of this place and is free to try! You can hire a towel from them cheaply.
Dried seafood, chirimen fabric, sake flasks made from a dried squid.
In the summer, don't miss the melon ice from the little snack shop on the northern slope's viewing area.
Cafe du Pin (カフェ・ド・ピン): This is a cafe which is located beside Amanohashidate, so you can see Amanohashidate (not overview)through big wide windows when you drinking or eating. They not only serve drinks and sweets, but also cater casual lunches (like a curry or sandwiches). Open 9-18.
There are some local wineries.
Abundant ryokan serving local seafood. Ask at the Amanohashidate train station's tourist information stand for information or to make a reservation. Prices range between 10,000 and 25,000 yen per person per night.
Amanohashidate Youth Hostel Non-member of youth hostel:2950yen/night(over 16 years) in dormitory (4-8beds dorm, no mixed dorm room). If you want to hire entire room for your group, it costs extra 2000yen per night per room. You can also take breakfast(600yen) and dinner(950yen)(reservation required). Rental bicycle is available at the hostel. You can contact them in English.