Amanohashidate (天橋立, "Bridge to Heaven") is a sand spit at the northern tip of Kyoto Prefecture. It is located in Miyazu in the western part of Wakasa Bay and, with Matsushima north of Sendai and Miyajima near Hiroshima, one of the three top scenic views of Japan. Amanohashidate is part of Tango-Amanohashidate-Ōeyama Quasi-National Park (丹後天橋立大江山国定公園 Tango-Amanohashidate-Ōeyama Kokutei Kōen).


The sandbar measures about 3.6km in length and between 36 and 110 metres in width and separates the lagoon of Asa-no-umi (阿蘇海) from Miyazu Bay. The name "Amanohashidate" can be traced back to Shintō mythology: Ame-no-ukihashi (天浮橋 , "floating bridge of heaven") was the legendary place where Izanagi and Izanami created the Japanese archipelago. The pine-covered sandbar with its white sand beaches connects the villages of Monju (文珠) in the south and Fuchū (府中) in the north.

Chion-ji Temple (智恩寺) is a Buddhist temple next to the southern tip of the spit. It is dedicated to Monju Bosatsu (文殊菩薩), the Bodhisattva of Wisdom. Students pay homage at Chion-ji to pray for academic success.

The portrait of a local retainer displayed at Chion-ji. Many visitors start their sightseeing tour of Amanohashidate at the temple. It is a five-minute walk from Kyōto Tango Railway’s Amanohashidate station. There are several large parking lots around the temple.

Chion-ji, originally a Shingon temple, was founded in 808 by order of Emperor Heizei. Later, it became a temple of the Zen Rinzai school.

The temple's two-storied pagoda was completed in 1501, all the other wooden structures were constructed in the Edo period.

Chion-ji Temple (智恩寺)

Address: 466 Monju, Miyazu, Kyōto 626-0001, phone: 0772-22-2553.
Opening hours: daily, 09:00-17:00. Admission free.

Next to the temple grounds is the pier for the sightseeing boats departing for Fuchū. While most visitors book return trips from Amanohashidate Pier to Ishinomiya Pier, it is recommended to walk the 3.6 kilometres across the pine-covered sandbar and take the sightseeing boat back to Monju (or the other way around, if you can still muster enough strength).

Click for more information on fares and timetable.

This is the view of Fuchū from the sightseeing boat. Kasamatsu Park (傘松公園) halfway up Mount Nariai can be climbed on foot, by chairlift or by cable car.

Motoise Kono Shrine (元伊勢籠神社, Motoise Kono-jinja) is located at the northern tip of the spit. "Motoise" means the "origin of Ise", as Kono-jinja is closely connected to famous Ise Shrine in Mie Prefecture: according to legend, the local kami Toyouke-Ōmikami, the goddess of farming and clothing, was summoned to Ise by sun goddess Amaterasu-Ōmikami. Both of them have been enshrined as deities of the Outer and the Inner Ise Shrine.

The arched stone bridge at the entrance to the shrine.

The second torii at Kono-jinja. The shrine is in Shinmei-zukuri (神明造), an ancient architectural style also used in the honden of Ise-jingū. The shrine also preserves the manuscript of the Amabe clan, the oldest written genealogy in Japan, designated a National Treasure of Japan.

The koma-inu (狛犬, guardian lion creatures) of the shrine are said to have come to life at night and scare passers-by. One day, the master swordsman Iwami Jutaro (岩見重太郎) cut off their front paws; since then, the koma-inu have remained quiet.

Motoise Kono Shrine

Address: 430 Ōgaki, Miyazu, Kyōto 629-2242, phone: 0772-27-0006.
Admission: free, open daily 07:00-17:00.

The view of the sandbar from Kasamatsu Park.

A shrine at Kasamatsu Park.

The right way to view Amanohashidate: the sandbar seems to lead right into heaven!

Kasamatsu Park (傘松公園)

Address: 75 Ōgaki, Miyazu, Kyōto 629-2242, phone: 0772-27-0032.
Opening hours: daily, January to February 08:00-16:30, March: 08:00-17:00, April to June and July 1st-19th 08:00-17:30, July 20th to August 20th 08:00-17:30, August 21st-31st and September to October 08:00-17:30, November 08:00-17:00, December 08:00-16:30.
Access: by cable car or chair lift; adults: round trip 660 JPY, single ticket 330 JPY, children: round trip 330 JPY, single ticket 170 JPY

The view of Asa-no-umi as seen from Oama-bashi Kaisen Bridge (小天橋 (廻旋橋)).

The beaches on the sand bar are pretty popular with students in the summer.

Amanohashidate View Land is an observatory on Mount Monju at the southern tip of the spit. It can be reached by monorail or chair lift and features a small entertainment park and a restaurant. It probably offers the most spectacular view of the sandbar, which is called "hiryukan', as it looks like a flying dragon.

Amanohashidate View Land (天橋立ビューランド)

Address: 437 Monju, Miyazu, Kyōto 629-2242, phone: 0772-22-5304
Opening hours: daily, February 21st-July 20th 09:00-17:30, July 21st-August 20th 08:30-16:30, August 21st-October 20th 09:00-17:30, October 21st-Feb 20th 09:00-17:00.
Access: by monorail or chair lift; adults 850 JPY, children 450 JPY

More pictures in the Amanohashidate album.

Getting There

Amanohashidate Station is on the Miyazu Line (宮津線 Miyazu-sen), a railway line of the Kitakinki Tango Railway.

From Kyōto, it takes about 2 hours and 3 minutes via Limited Express (4,600 JPY reserved seat) or 2 hours and 53 minutes on Limited Express trains via Kinosaki or Maizuru (3,750 JPY or 3,790 JPY). Highway Express buses to Amanohashidate leave from Kyoto Station (2 hours and 18 minutes, 2,800 JPY).

From Ōsaka, there are Limited Express trains via Fukuchiyama and Maizuru ( 3 hours and 7 minutes, 4,630 JPY or 3 hours and 36 minutes, 5,700 JPY) or Highway Express buses from Umeda Station (around 3 hours, 2,650 JPY).



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