Amanohashidate, the bridge in heaven

Amanohashidate, the bridge in heaven

Amanohashidate, the meaning of which is roughly bridge in heaven, is a 3.6 kilometer long, pine tree covered sand bar. It spans across Miyazu Bay on the Tango Peninsula, northern Kyoto Prefecture. It is ranked as one of Japan's three most scenic views.

About the only thing to see in Amanohashidate is, well, Amanohashidate itself. The land bridge is best viewed from the hillside on either the south or north side of it. On the south side, there is a chair lift and cog wheel-type train that one can ride up to a viewing area, where there is a small amusement park. On the north side, there is a chair lift and an electric train/trolley that take visitors up to a viewing area, where there is a small coffee and snack shop. Purchase tickets at the bottom of the lifts. They are well-marked and easy to locate.

The canonical way to view Amanohashidate is to turn your back to it, then bend over and look at it upside down from between your legs — this is supposed to make the bridge appear as if it floats to heaven, and bring good luck.

The rotating bridge on the south side of Amanohashidate is unique, though it is by no means a must-see. Rather than raising like a traditional drawbridge, the middle section of this bridge rotates 90 degrees to allow boats to pass through. The bridge is located near the Shinto shrine and boats that transport visitors to the north side of Amanohashidate

The small villages on both the north and south sides of the land bridge are easily walkable by foot, as distances are short. In the village of Monju (??) on the south side of the land bridge, the train station is only a few hundred feet from numerous ryokan, noodle shops, dried fish shops, and tourist shops.

One can rent a bicycle at one of the many bicycle rental shops around Amanohashidate to ride across the land bridge and bike to surrounding local tourist spots.

If you prefer motorized transport, small motorboats transport passengers between the north and south sides of Amanohashidate. The boats are inexpensive and take 5-10 minutes to travel the length of the land bridge. On the south side of Amanohashidate, the boats dock near the Shinto shrine.

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