In the north of Kyoto Prefecture, on the Tango Peninsula, is Amanohashidate, rated one of the top three most scenic places in Japan. Translated as ‘bridge to heaven’ this 3.6km long sandbar, connecting the villages of Monju and Fuchū across Miyazu Bay, is traversed by a path along which grow 5,000 weather-twisted pine trees.
Since ancient times, people have been fascinated by Amanohashidate. In the Tango-no-Kuni Fudoki (The Annals of Tango Province), a book written around the 8th century AD and long since lost, Amanohashidate is a ladder that once belonged to the deity Izanagi-no-Mikoto, one of the mythical creators of the Japanese archipelago. The story goes that while Izanagi-no-Mikoto was sleeping the ladder fell to earth creating the sand bar and providing it with its poetic name.
If you want to see Amanohashidate like a bridge in the sky, head to the elevated viewing point in Fuchū’s Kasamatsu Park which can be reached by cable car. Here you can join people practicing the popular matanozoki viewing style – leaning down to observe the sandbar upside down through your legs. Viewed this way, Amanohashidate truly does look like a bridge floating in the sky.
Amanohashidate also varies with the seasons. In winter, the snow on the sandbar’s pine trees creates a magical landscape, while in spring, cherry trees blossom around the observatory lending the scene a beautiful pink and white frame.
5 minutes walk from Kyoto Tango Railway Amanohashidate Station.
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