A bridge to nowhere… How does it sound? Poetic or paranoiac? Amanohashidate, located in Northern Kyoto prefecture, is an amazing natural bridge that is considered by the Japanese as one of the 3 main scenic views of the country. In this article, I will guide you to the watch deck from where you can admire the view on one of the most beautiful natural sites in Japan.
Take a look at this amazing natural bridge
Amanohashidate and Ine are two sister towns mostly known for their surrealistic natural bridge that extends on 3.3 km, as well as for locally famous shrines. It is a convenient site for camping, cycling and fishing.
Amanohashidate can be reached in approximately 3 to 4 hours by train from Kyoto station depending on the type of train. Bus only takes about 2 hours but it runs only three times a day.
From the ocean to the mountains
Let’s have a closer look to the bridge itself. Amanohashidate bridge consists of a long and narrow sandy connection between Amanohashidate and Ine that you can cross by walking, or by bike. You can rent a bike from a few nearby shops with JPY 400/hour. It is covered by around 7,000 beautiful pine trees, and has been often represented in Japanese traditional paintings.
I recommend that you admire the view of the bridge from the sea, by taking the ferry to Ichinomiya from Amanohashidate and enjoy dodging the sea gulls. You can feed them, play, and even take selfies with them. The ferry ride is an about 15 minutes and cost 520 JPY (little more than 4 USD)for single ride or 940 JPY (Less than 8 USD) for return. Once you are on the other side, it will take you 5 minutes to reach the chair lift and cable car terminus.
Reaching the observatory
If you are not acrophobic, I recommend that you take the chair lift, as you can basically seat in an open single chair, without any barrier or security bar to obstruct the view. However, let me reassure you that it is not at all scary, as everything is secured. The chair lift will take you to the observatory from which you can get an awesome glimpse of the picturesque scene of the bridge in the blue sea.
Amanohashidate has a very changing weather, contributing to the constantly changing hue of the sea. The sea is often not as blue as what you can see on pictures, but I personally think it is what makes its charm: this “color changing hue” is the real beauty of Amanohashidate.
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Camp, eat, fish
Want to enjoy Amanohashidate to the fullest! Let’s camp, while barbecuing and fishing are totally icing on the cake.
When you get out of Amanohashidate station, take the right. Walk for about 7-10 minutes and you will find a camping ground. Keep an eye on your left side and you definitely will find a ground with several tents and some cars. If you can read Japanese, indications are given on a big board, so you cannot miss it. If nobody’s around, pick the telephone number from the board don’t hesitate to call as the person in charge speaks perfect English.
If you are carrying your own tent, you will have to pay 1,000 JPY (about 8 USD) for an overnight stay. I suggest that you take your dinner by 7:00 p.m., because everything closes very early around the location. Do not forget to take your fishing accessory also to enjoy fishing in nearby small backwater canal. You can get enough crab there as your barbecue item.
Why not do some extra sightseeing?
Amanohashidate is undoubtedly a beautiful place which will continuously surprise you, with its rotating bridge and its amazing station building. If you want to try very tasty Japanese wine, I recommend you visit Amanohashidate Winery. Moreover, you can take a half day trip to Ine, Amanohashidate’s sister town. The rows of “Funaya” or boat house will definitely be a treat for the eye and the camera. So get ready and have a nice trip to Amanohashidate!
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