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Amanohashidate: Floating Bridge In The Sky Just 2 Hours Away From Central Kyoto

Amanohashidate in Kyoto

While the city of Kyoto has plenty to offer with its abundance of shrines, a short train ride will take you away from the crowd and to Amanohashidate, a picturesque 3.6km-long pine-clad sandbar at the north of Kyoto Prefecture. 

Nicknamed the “bridge in heaven”

Amanohashidate - sakura
Image credit: @sora1836

As one of Japan’s three most scenic locations, the fabled Amanohashidate derives its name from an ancient myth. Legend has it that in order to meet his wife Inazami, Izanagi – a deity in Japanese mythology – used the bridge as a pathway between heaven and earth.

Amanohashidate - view of sandbar
Image credit: @kyotogosyuin

Hence, the narrow sandbar that spans Miyazu Bay has earned the nickname of “bridge in heaven”.

Amanohashidate - winter
Image credit: @yasuo611

While the view is beautiful all year round, winter is arguably the best time to visit. With pristine white snow blanketing the area and piling on rows of pine trees, Amanohashidate becomes a true winter wonderland. 

Best way to enjoy the view

Amanohashidate - matanozoki
Image credit: Xiu Ting Wong

Upon reaching the observatory point, some take a quiet moment to take in the scenery, while others snap away, hoping to get the best shot. But ask any local and they’ll tell you that the panoramic view is best enjoyed upside down and through your legs

Amanohashidate - matanozoki
Image credit: @shinji184

Known as matanozoki (股のぞき), the customary practice is a fresh way of taking in the view at Amanohashidate. Once you’re at the observatory point, turn your back against the sandbar, bend over, and admire the view through your legs. 

Amanohashidate - kasamatsu park
Image adapted from:

Depending on which viewpoint you wind up at, the imagery that the landscape conjures up differs. There are two observatory points – Amanohashidate Viewland, which is nearer to the train station, and Kasamatsu Park

For the former, it is said that when viewed upside down, the sandbar resembles a floating bridge in the sky, hence its moniker “bridge in heaven”. At Kasamatsu Park, however, the pine-tree covered sand bay is reminiscent of a majestic dragon flying in the sky. 

How to get to Amanohashidate

Amanohashidate - view point of amanohashidateImage credit: @mkhire_suzuki

Thanks to Amanohashidate’s popularity among local and international travellers alike, there are plenty of ways to get there. Starting your journey at Kyoto Station, you can opt to ride the highway bus. A one-way ticket will set you back ¥2,900 (~USD22.69) and take around two hours. 

Alternatively, if you’re looking to make use of the Japan Rail Pass, hop on the JR Hashidate limited express train (¥4,500, ~USD35.22), which will take roughly the same duration. 

Amanohashidate - chairliftImage credit: @amanohashidate_view_land

The easiest and cheapest way to get to the observatory point is through the chairlift at Kasamatsu Park, where round trip tickets are available at ¥680 (~USD5.32) for adults and ¥340 (~USD2.66) for children.

Address: Miyazu, Kyoto
Opening hours: 24 hours, Daily

Kasamatsu Park
Address: 75 Ogaki, Miyazu, 629-2242 Kyoto
Opening hours: 8AM-4.30PM, Daily (Dec-Feb) | 8AM-5PM, Daily (Mar & Nov) | 8AM-5.30PM, Daily (Apr-Oct)
Admission: ¥680 (~USD5.32) for adults, ¥340 (~USD2.66) for children
Telephone: 0772-27-0032

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Cover image adapted from (clockwise from left): @sora1836, @shinji184 and @yasuo611