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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
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 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
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare 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
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving 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
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
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 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

Walk through the pines on a natural bridge to heaven

Ama-no-hashidate is a pine-covered sandbar famous for having one of Japan's three scenic views, along with Matsushima in Miyagi Prefecture and Miyajima in Hiroshima Prefecture. This natural bridge links both sides of Miyazu Bay in northern Kyoto Prefecture, and is part of a national park.

Quick Facts

The sandbar is three kilometers long and has 8,000 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

The sandbar is accessible by train followed by a short walk.

From Kyoto Station, take the Hashidate 7 Limited Express to Amanohashidate Station. The ride takes about two and a half hours. The JR Pass is not usable on this train. The sandbar is a 20-minute walk from the station.

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 quite thin—just 20 meters wide at its narrowest point. Most of it is occupied by pine trees.

Walk the beach

You'll get wonderful views 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.

Take a dip in the sea

There're not just views on offer at Amanohashidate. On the east side are 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.

Parks and recreation

A pair of parks provide the best views 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.

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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