Back in late September, I made a trip out to visit Amanohashidate, one of the three most scenic views in Japan alongside Matsushima and Miyajima. Located in the northern Kyoto Prefecture, Amanohashidate is a pine-dotted sandbar that stretches across Miyazu Bay. Roughly a 2-3 hour train ride to Amanohashidate Station from Kyoto Station, this makes a great day trip if you’re staying in Kyoto.
There is a vista point at both ends of Amanohashidate where you can ride a chair lift up to the hillside. Both sites offer views of the sandbar, but from different angles. However, the one near the station features a small amusement park called Amanohashidate View Land. I prefer the view of the sandbar from View Land – you can see bends and the white sand – but I skipped it due to time constraints.
I instead chose to cross Amanohashidate to visit the other side of the sand bar. Before making a brief visit to the Amanohashidate Shrine, I strolled along the white warm sand and dipped my feet into the refreshingly cold water. There were also a number of resting spots sprinkled along the way where you can sit and enjoy the serene pine forest. Should you opt to walk, the path took me about 40 minutes to complete (not including time to visit the shrine or beach). Alternatively, you can rent a bicycle, and then for the return trip take a ferry.
After crossing the sand bar, I took a chair lift to Kasamatsu Park, where the observatory deck was located. I was already a bit tired from the afternoon heat, but immediately perked up once I reached the top. At observatory, you can do kawarake nage for 300 yen, where you throw clay discs through a ring for a wish.
There are also platforms with railings where you can bend over and look at the views upside down. They say that when you look at Amanohashidate upside down, it resembles a bridge in the heavens. What do you think?
If you are looking for a day trip from Kyoto, away from the hustle and bustle, and filled with beautiful panoramic views, I recommend adding this to your itinerary!