Before I went onto this 3-month career break to Japan, I’ve always thought that Kyoto is a place that’s not anywhere near to the sea. Little did I know that Kyoto is a huge prefecture with three major tourist areas namely Kyoto by the Sea, Kyoto in the Forests, and Kyoto Infused with Tea. And this time I went onto a day trip to the landmark of the Coastal Kyoto: Amanohashidate.
There are quite a few ways to get to Amanohasdate from Kyoto City. But since I was only going on a day trip I didn’t want to spend too much time on travel or energy on changing trains, so I opted for the easiest way: The Hashidate Limited Express (はしだて).
It was a 2-hour train ride with a few stops along the Sanin Main Line. The day that I went was a public holiday in Japan, the non-reserved cabins were so packed with people that there were no seats left when I hopped on the train at Nijo Station. Compared with other JR trains that I’ve taken before, it’s actually a pretty bumpy ride. My legs were so tired from standing on the train for a 1.5 hours before I finally got a seat.
Perhaps I didn’t eat much that morning, the foodie in me was screaming: Food! I want food! And I was very willingly to comply and brought myself to a nearby restaurant that serves fresh kaisendon (sashimi rice bowl).
Amanohashidate isn’t a big place to go, so tourists and locals just aim for the one and only place to see the view: Amanohashidate View Land (天橋立ビューランド).
There are two ways to go up to the View Land: Monorail and single chair. I was really tempted to do the single chair but after having second thoughts I hopped on to the cable car.
The cable car here was a pretty old style one I’d say. The whole ride lasted about 5-10 minutes. As we went up, the “bridge” of Amanohashidate became more and more visible. And the good thing about taking the cable car is that you can see some terrified faces on the single chairs along the way. Some people tried so hard to hide their fear. Okay I might be a little too mean given the fact that my face would have been even paler had I gone for the chair option. But still, it’s an interesting experience. Plus, you could wave and say hello to them (they’re very likely to wave back!).
Here we are! The whole Amanohashidate is under my feet. My pictures don’t do enough justice for how breathtaking the view was. It’s as if the sea was divided into two parts and the sandbar was a dam. There’s a special way to see the view: with your back facing the sea, bend over and enjoy the view between your legs! According to the people there, the sea will then become the sky and the sky will become the sea. In that way, you’d be able to see a dragon ascending to the sky. Since I went here by myself, I didn’t really do it but it was funny to see the people do this. I actually found it more amusing than looking at the view through my legs.
They have a viewing sky path where you can enjoy the view from a little far up.
I spent a good amount of time up there walking around. It’s a pretty good place to bring kids to with their mini amusement park.
After seeing the view from above, it’s time to actually take a walk on the sandbar. I did some quick sightseeing at Chionji, a place where students flock to during the exam periods to pray for good grades.
I didn’t really do much in the park. I just sat down to enjoy the view and read for a bit. It’s a good place to go if you’d want some quiet quality me time. Perhaps because of the place being so big, you’d have a lot of space and calmness whenever you decide to spend some time there.
This place is quite famous for its asaris (clams). And the foodie in me of course wouldn’t want to leave Amanohashidate without trying it.
I spent around 7 hours in Amanohashidate and I think it’s pretty enough to see or do all the touristy stuff there. But if you have more time to spare, you could always go to the other side to see how the view is different.