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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Sub-zero temperatures and the greatest of outdoor environments, complemented by sizzling soul food and warm-hearted welcomes. Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Sleek apple-red and electric-green shinkansen whisk you up to a haven of fresh powder snow, fresh fruit and fearsome folk legends Fearsome festivals, fresh powder and vast fruit orchards—the rugged northern territory of Tohoku offers a fresh perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
Mountains and sea meet in one of Japan's wildest regions, and the result is sheer beauty. Once largely inaccessible, Hokuriku is now reachable by shinkansen from Tokyo in a matter of hours An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Characterized by the constant buzz of the world's most populous metropolitan area, the Kanto region is surprisingly green with an array of escapes that include mountainous getaways and subtropical islands Experience diversity at its fullest, from the neon of Tokyo to the ski slopes of Gunma, exotic wildlife of the Ogasawara Islands and cultural heritage of Kamakura
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Served by the shinkansen line that connects Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, the Tokai region provides plenty of interesting diversions and easy excursions Tokai means "eastern sea," and this region stretches east from Tokyo to Kyoto and includes blockbuster attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
From raucous nights out to outdoor thrills to peaceful reverie, trying to categorize the Kansai region is a futile task The Kansai region is one of extreme contrasts—the neon lights of Osaka and glittering Kobe nightscape, the peaceful realms of Shiga, Wakayama and Nara, and the cultured refinement of Kyoto
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Less-traveled and delightfully inaccessible at times, the Chugoku region is a reminder that the journey is sometimes more important than the destination Welcome to Japan's warm and friendly western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Providing the stage for literary classics, fevered dancing and natural wonders Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
Easily reached by land, sea and air, the dynamic Kyushu prefectures are bubbling with energy, culture and activity The southern island of Kyushu is home to volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky, succulent seafood, steaming hot springs and the country's hottest entrepreneurial town
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Ruins and recreated castles of the Ryukyu kings nestle amid magnificent beaches in Okinawa, a diver's paradise teeming with an amazing array of coral and undersea life Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Attraction

Amanohashidate Sandbar 天橋立

Bridge to heaven

Ama-no-hashidate is famous for being one of Japan’s three scenic views (along with Matsushima in Miyagi Prefecture and Miyajima in Hiroshima Prefecture). Connecting both sides of Miyazu Bay in northern Kyoto Prefecture, it is also part of a scenic national park.

Quick Facts

The sandbar is 3 km long and has 8000 pine trees

There is a theme park at one end, frequented by locals

Kono Shrine is on the northern side and Chion-ji Temple on the opposite

How to Get There

It is accessible by train then on foot.

From Kyoto Station, take the Hashidate 7 Limited Express to Amanohashidate Station. The ride takes about 2.5 hours. JR pass is not usable on the service. From the station, the sandbar is a 20-minute walk away.

Bridge to heaven

Ama-no-hashidate translates to “bridge to heaven” because it appears to be a pathway connecting heaven and earth when viewed from the mountains that rise above it on either side. The sandbar is 3 km long and quite thin, a mere 20 meters wide at its narrowest point. It is covered with about 8000 lush pine trees.

Walk the beach

There are viewpoints on either side of the bay, or you can walk along the scenic road that threads through the trees on the isthmus. This takes about 45 minutes on foot or 15 minutes by bike, which can be rented from shops and hotels by Amanohashidate Station.

Dip in the sea

There’s not just views on offer at Amanohashidate. On the east side, you can find beautiful white sand beaches, which locals flock to in the summer. Surrounded by the lush pines, the beaches are a lovely sight. If it's history you're after, you can visit Kono Shrine on the northern side and Chion-ji Temple on the southern end.

Cruise the bay

Various sightseeing cruises offer tours of the bay around the sandbar. Tickets can be reserved at the dock where the cruises depart next to Chion-ji Temple on the southern end of the island.

Choose your view

A pair of parks mark the best view points on either side of the bay. On the south side behind Amanohashidate Station, you can find a cute theme park, Amanohashidate View Land. You can take a chairlift or cablecar to the park, which has a roller coaster, ferris wheel, and even mini golf and go-karts.

Several viewpoints dot the landscape, which most say is the better side to view the sandbar from. From here, the sandbar is said to look like a dragon flying to heaven.

Try “matanozoki"

On the other side of the bay is Kasamatsu Park, also accessible by chairlift or cable car. From here locals say that the sandbar looks like the kanji, or Chinese character, for "one."

For over one thousand years, locals have been striking the same pose to view the bay best: bending over with their head between their legs. This stance has a name: “matanozoki.” You'll be sure to see many people in this position, following the local tradition.

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