Amanohashidate is a stunning sandbar spanning more than 3-kilometres across Miyazu Bay in northern Kyoto. Its name roughly translates to “bridge to heaven” because of its immense natural beauty that looks as though it’s a divided road between heaven and earth. It’s so famous across Japan, in fact, that it’s considered one of the top three iconic views across the entire country, landing in the same category as fellow heavyweights Matsushima Bay in Sendai (a unique view that is dotted by pine clad islets), and Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima, Hiroshima.
Amanohashidate itself is quite a sight to see. There are many ways to take in the view, but if you are making the two-hour trip from Osaka and/or Kyoto to see it, we recommend viewing it from all perspectives possible, i.e.from on the actual sandbar itself, as well as from above at one of the many observation points on either side of the bay. It’s quite easy to travel between the sides of the bay, and there are various activities located on either end for you to participate in.
This area has quite a leisurely, slow village-like feel to it, so if you’re looking to wind down a bit and explore at a comfortable pace, this little town is a great option to go for.
How to Get to Amanohashidate
From Kyoto Station, you can catch the Hashidate 5 Limited Express train directly to Amanohashidate Station. This will take just over 2 hours and cost 4,590 yen. Otherwise, you can also catch the Hashidate Kinosaki 5 Limited Express train to Fukuchiyama Station, and transfer for a train to Amanohashidate Station. This will take the same amount of time and cost the same. Lastly, the most affordable option would be to catch a Tankai Bus between Kyoto and Amanohashidate. They take 2-hours, cost 2,600 yen, and there are two buses daily. Check out this link to learn more on how to book a bus ride.
From Osaka Station, take the Kounotori 7 Limited Express train to Fukuchiyama Station, and transfer for the Tango Relay 3 Express train to Amanohashidate. The entire trip will take just over 2 hours. Otherwise, you can catch either the Tankai or Hankyu Bus from either Hankyu Umeda or Shin-Osaka stations to Amanohashidate. The trips will each take 2 hours 20-minutes, and cost 2,650 yen.
The above options are for those who are looking to make their own way to up to Amanohashidate and explore at their own pace. However, if you’re looking for a guided tour option, we have the perfect solution for you. Klook are offering a 3-in-1 tour which includes meeting up with the group at either Osaka or Kyoto, traveling through Amanohashidate as well as the quaint fishing village of Ine no Funaya and finishing off with a trip to Miyama’s Kayabuki no Sato village before heading back to Osaka/Kyoto.
If you’re interested in this tour, check out this link for more information on the activities and how to book.
Amanohashidate Japan – Where to Stay
Whilst it’s completely do-able to visit Amanohashidate for a one-day trip, it’s understandable that some might balk at the idea of the two hours of travel there and two hours of travel back. If you’re not keen on all that time spent on public transport in one day, then booking a stay at the quaint Amano Hashidate Hotel will save all your troubles.
Situated right across from the station, this hotel is literally a stone throw away from multiple attractions in this small town, including the Amanohashidate sandbar itself. Whilst it may not look too flashy from the outside, it’s got all the amenities you need for a comfortable stay, including a public hot spring bath, a sauna, a delicious breakfast, Japanese-style and Western-style guestrooms with ample space, and gorgeous views.
Why Guest Love It: Excellent location nearby loads of other attractions you can get to easily. The food here is fantastic, with lots of local produce used. You might also want to check out dinner at the accommodation next door, Auberge Amanohashidate. The price of the guestrooms is worth it for the views.
Book It Now: Amano Hashidate Hotel
This gorgeous 4-star hotel is wonderful in all aspects, from location, value for money, views, facilities – the lot. It boasts stunning ocean views from both its Western-style and Japanese-style guest rooms, with some rooms offering private onsen baths, an on-site Japanese restaurant serving authentic Japanese breakfasts and Japanese kaiseki dinners, as well as a cafe, and onsite bicycle rental for convenience. There’s also a public hot spring available for guests.
Why Guests Love It: The Japanese-style breakfast is highly recommended, so remember to book it with your stay! There is a free shuttle to the train station so make sure you coincide your plans with that.
Book It Now: Hotel Kitanoya
Things to do in Amanohashidate Japan #1 – Take In Amanohashidate From Above
Head to Amanohashidate View Land
There are two main methods of capturing the beauty of Amanohashidate, and one of them is from Amanohashidate View Land, which is a mini amusement park/observatory that sits on the same side of the sandbar as when you arrive on the train and/or bus. It’s actually right at the top of Mount Munju, and not only does it provide excellent views of Amanohashidate, but it also provides 360 views of the entire bay as well.
The amusement park aspect offers rides such as the ferris wheel, which will take you to even newer heights, the ‘cycle-car’, where you can pedal along a sky-rail and take in the views from ahead, behind, above and below, and even archery!
However, one section of this observatory/amusement park that you shouldn’t miss is the Mata-nozoki platform. Here, there is a bench that is designed specifically for you to stand on, face away from Amanohashidate, bend over and take in the view of the sandbar from between your legs. It’s a method that has a blurry origin date, but is now a must, as it is believed this upside-down method is the best way to see just how closely Amanohashidate resembles a bridge across the sky into the Heavens.
- Address: Monju, Miyazu, Kyoto 626-0001, Japan
- Access: IT is a 5-minute walk from Amanohashidate Station
- Hours: Feb 21-July 20, Aug 21-Oct 20: 9:00am – 5:00pm, July 21-Aug 20: 8:30am – 6:00pm, Oct 21-Feb 20: 9:00am – 4:30pm
- Price: Adult: 850yen, Child: 450yen
Take a Ferry Across to Kasamatsu Park
If you’re keen for a bit more adventure, then why not take a ferry across to the other side of the bay? The ferry ride costs 1,000 yen for a return trip, and takes only 12-minutes to get from one side to the other. Once you land on the other side of the bay, you will need to make your way to the cable car and/or chairlift station to catch a ride to the top of the park. Please note that the chairlift option is not open during winter.
The ride up is just as scenic as the view, so make sure you’re snapping away and looking all directions as you slowly make your way up. Once you get to the top, the views are pretty spectacular. Again, try and use the “Mata-nozoki” style to view the sandbar – it’s unique and fun to try! Whilst the view from Amanohashidate View Land shows more luscious greenery, expect the view from Kasamatsu to show off Amanohashidate as a solid strip of sand standing strong in the ocean.
Amanohashidate Sightseeing Boat
- Address: Monju, Miyazu, Kyoto 626-0001, Japan
- Access: It is a 6-minute walk from Amanohashidate Station.
- Hours: Check the boat timetable here
- Price: One-way: 600 yen, Return: 1,000 yen
Things to do in Amanohashidate Japan #2 – Visit the Ine Fishing Village Nearby
One of Japan’s best kept secrets is Ine no Funaya, a quaint little traditional fishing village located even further up north than Amanohashidate. What’s so special about this village is the concept of ‘funaya’, i.e. the boathouses, which have been built along the shore over the waters of the lake – yes, the families here literally live on the water. Whilst there are families which still inhabit most of the funaya today, some boathouses have been renovated and turned into guest houses for the small amount of visitors to the area.
The scenery here is magnificent, not only of the peaceful surrounding mountains and waters, but if you take a boat ride out into the sea, you will be able to capture the wonderful sight of all the funaya lined up in a row along the shore – a unique view that only exists in Japan.
If you’re keen to read up more on how to make a visit to Ine Fishing Village work, then we recommend reading our blog post on Ine no Funaya here! It’s got all the information you need to plan a succinct trip.
Things To Do in Amanohashidate Japan #3 – Rent a Bike and Cycle All 3.6km of Amanohashidate
What better way to explore a little seaside village than to ride a bicycle through? It’s definitely a method at the top of the list, at least in our eyes! Without the extra time needed to get from one side to the other on foot, this will save you time so you can spend it relaxing and exploring more. As you move along the sandbar, there will be shrines, stone monuments, and torii gates along the way to visit, so make sure to include time in your itinerary for some unplanned exploration.
Bicycles can be rented at Amanoashidate Pier or Ichinomiya Pier (on the opposite side of the sandbar), and luckily, they can be dropped off on the other side without extra charge.
- Address: 466 Monju, Miyazu, Kyoto 626-0001, Japan
- Price: 400 yen/2 hours
Things To Do in Amanohashidate Japan #4 – Visit Chionji Temple
Chionji Temple is only 5-minutes away from Amanohashidate Station, so it might be worth your time to quickly pop in for a visit before heading out to explore the wider area. This particular temple is known across Japan for granting success in academics, and thus welcomes domestic visitors on a regular basis to come to pray for their families to succeed.
What you will notice about this temple is that there will be small ‘sensu’ (folded fans) hung on the pine trees surrounding the temple. These fans represent the temple’s visitor’s fortunes. It is customary here to hang one of these fans on the pine trees once you’ve read your fortune. Why not give it a shot when you’re there?
- Address: 466 Monju, Miyazu, Kyoto 626-0001, Japan
- Access: 5-minutes walk from Amanohashidate Station.
Things To Do in Amanohashidate Japan #5 – Visit Chie no Yu Onsen
A perfect way to start, end, or break up your Amanohashidate trip is to pay the Chie no Yu onsen a visit. It’s located right in the heart of town, only minutes away from the station. It’s a very traditional Japanese public bathhouse, which means it will be gender separated and you will not be permitted to wear any clothes. However, if you’re feeling a bit shy, this actually might be a blessing in disguise, as it’s one of the smaller, less-populated onsen you’ll be able to visit. If you’re really not feeling like using the public onsen, they also provide a foot bath located just outside of the onsen which is free for anyone to use, so dip your feet into that for some R&R if you have time.
It costs 700 yen for a single entry, but if you plan to go to both Amanohashidate View Land and Chie no Yu onsen, you can purchase a bundle ticket at the Amanohashidate Station Tourist Centre at a discounted price. Instead of being 1,550 yen, it is reduced to only 1,000 yen – bargain!
- Address: Chie No Yu
- Hours: 12:00pm – 9:00pm
- Price: Adult: 700 yen, Child: 350 yen (Closed Wednesdays)
We’re imploring you now to not miss out on an opportunity to take in one of Japan’s top three iconic sights. It may not be a majestic castle, an otherworldly shrine, or boast a densely populated bamboo grove, but the unique position and condition of Japan has created this incredible natural landmark that has stood the test of time, and deserves to be known to the world. It’s one of the best and most rewarding quieter side trips you could plan whilst in Osaka or Kyoto. A visit here will be like feeding food to your soul.