From our place it takes about 2 hours to Amanohashidate, a sand bar located in the Northern part of Kyoto prefecture.
It had been ages since the last time I had been here!
Amanohashidate is one of three top scenic spots in Japan. For your info, the other two scenic spots are the pine clad islands of Matsushima (Miyagi) and the torii at Itsukushima Shrine (Hiroshima).
We had to change trains at Fukuchiyama and was surprised by these new trains. Apparently this part of the line was bought by Willer, a bus company.
We arrived at eleven-ish and I decided in order to beat the crowds we should seek out lunch.
We had lunch at Cafe du Pin which overlooks the rotating bridge (I'll talk more about this bridge later).
Satoshi had the Miyazu "burger"...did you know that Miyazu is known for sardines?
Well, his "burger" had sardines, lots of veggies, even shiso (perilla) and mayo.
I went with their chicken katsu sandwich. This was like chicken namban (sweet sour fried chicken with tartar sauce).
Both sandwiches were good and the view was really relaxing.
After lunch we went up to Amanohashidate View Land.
You have a choice of riding a "monorail" or the lift. If you don't have a lot of time to spend here, definitely take the lift.
We chose the lift because we didn't want to wait twenty-something minutes for the monorail nor did we want to be crammed into the monorail car.
Plus you can get shots like this.
When you reach the top, there are platforms you can stand on. Face your backside to the sandbar, then look at the sandbar from between your legs.
It is supposed to look like a dragon rising to the heavens.
I was too embarrassed to do this. I'm also flipping my photo upside down for you to see.
We then went back down to the area we had lunch, to see if we could rent-a-bicycle...well, because it was GW (Golden Week) there were no bicycles to be rented one-way, so we walked the length of the sandbar (it only takes about an hour).
Back to that roatating bridge. This is a bridge that moves so that boats can get "across" the sandbar. Pretty neat to watch it move. Apparently in the olden days, men used to move the bridge with pulleys.
Nearby the rotating bridge is a huge wisdom ring (chie no wa) it is said that if you can pass through it three times, you'll become very wise. It is too small for adults, so lots of children were going through it. It was also apparently used to hang lanterns from for boats to see.
The sandbar has about 8000 pine trees, many were huge!
Once on the other side, we went to check out Moto-Ise Shrine and Manai Shrine (power spots)
Then we went up on the lift to Kasamatsu Park. This was a steeper grade.
From here, you can see the sandbar, but it looks like the dragon going up at a slight angle.
We also took a bus to Nariaiji, a temple located up above Kasamatsu Park.
The road is so steep and curvy that they only allow authorized vehicles up there. Pretty scary riding a mini-bus up there!
The view is pretty breathtaking though.
Once back at Kasamatsu Park, we then queued up to take the lift back down.
The minshuku (family run inn) that we would stay at was really close to the park. It was a good thing too because we were exhausted.
Dinner was an assortment of seafood.
It was a long day, but we were glad that the weather was nice.
I'll continue with our adventure to Ine-cho tomorrow...stay tuned!
Cafe du Pin