One of the 3 most beautiful views in Japan, Amanohashidate is a pine covered sandbar in the northern coastal part of Kyoto Prefecture.
Going back through the centuries, Amanohashidate has been wondered at for over a thousand years. As early as the Heian period (794 to 1185), it was viewed as one of Japans 3 most beautiful views (the others being Matsushima and Miyajima) and featured in poems, ukiyo-e art and literature. Viewed from the mountains of either side, Amanohashidate appears as a pathway between heaven and earth among the simmering waters of the Asoumi sea.
Around the local area is a variety of attractions, and activities to enjoy. Such as beautiful hikes, temples, shrines, and small theme park and different kinds of water fun.
What to do at Amanoshidate
Enjoy the view: this is the number one reason to visit Amanohashidate, the spectatorview over the bay and its surroundings. Don’t forget to bring your camera and good walking boots, as some hiking is required. That brings us to the next point as well.
Go hiking: There are different hiking paths with panoramic views all around the mountains and over the sandbank itself. This is the perfect way to explore the local area and find many hidden gems and points of interest. Alternatively, it is possible to rent a bicycle locally as well. This is also the best way to see the white sand beaches.
Visit Chionji Temple: This local temple is where Manjusri, the bodhisattva wisdom, is enshrined. People come here to pray for academic endeavours. A special Omikuji, or good luck charm in the form of a fan can be purchased at the temple. After reading your fortune, it is customary to hang a small fan in the trees around the temple as a good luck charm.
Go for some water fun: During good weather, Amanohashidate is a popular spot for swimming and beach fun. Other options on the water include tours around the local bay and kayaking.
Visit Ine, the sea house village: a picturesque town about 15 km from Amanohashidate. This finish village has a long and rich history. What makes Ine special are the sea houses built above the water. Visitors can take a tour on a traditional fishing boat along the village, have traditional dinner and even stay the night in some of the sea houses. Ine, can be reached in 30 minutes by bus from Amanohashidate and makes for an easy add-on.
How to get to Amanohashidate
A limited amount of direct trains run directly between Kyoto station and Amanohashidate Station. These “Hashidate” train services are the fastest and more convenient option. Taking 127 minutes / 4,990 yen for one way. During the day, there are also options available with a transfer along the way.
The route is partially covered by the Japan Rail Pass, travel between Kyoto station and Fukuchiyama is free. From there the route continues on the Kyoto Tango Railway, a private railway company, and an additional fare of ¥1,200 for a local trains and ¥2,150 for a ltd. Express train is required.
Tips for visiting
- Be sure the check the train schedule ahead of time, this way you can find the most convenient route to Amanohashidate.
- If you have more time, consider spending the night in the area. There are different Ryokans that offer traditional Japanese stays. It's also the perfect way to see the sunrise.
- If you're interested in Sake (Japanese Rice wine), then check out some of the local distilleries.