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October 21, 2013
Day 18 - Amanohashidate

Amanohashidate (V, "bridge in heaven") is a pine covered sandbar spanning the mouth of Miyazu Bay in northern Kyoto Prefecture. Viewed from the mountainside parks at either end of the bay, the sandbar is said to appear like a dragon or a pathway between heaven and earth. The beautiful scene has been admired for centuries and is ranked among Japan's three most scenic views.

Various temples, shrines, and amusement parks lie along the sandbar or on the mountains that overlook Amanohashidate from either end. Visitors can also take sightseeing cruises around Miyazu Bay.

Today's Report
 
Amanohashidate and Ine Village

{{> image path:"/community/img/889385_329.jpg", caption:"View of Amanohashidate from the ruins of the Tango Kokubunji Temple.", width:"", height:"" }}

Dinner last night was a different experience, a first in this trip. Tokuda-san, the 13th owner of Seikiro, invited me to dinner with his family. It was a great pleasure to meet his wife and children. His children were very cute, gifting me with origami they made at the table.

Seikiro has a long history of about 300 years. The ryokan is also part museum; my room has calligraphy by a famous writer (pity I canft read it though). The bath is also very traditional with not much changed from before. Youfll get to have a similar experience as those who lived many years ago!

{{> image path:"/community/img/889385_319.jpg", caption:"Tokuda-san and his family.", width:"", height:"" }} {{> image path:"/community/img/889385_338.jpg", caption:"Part of my very spacious room.", width:"", height:"" }}

Today, we went to Amanohashidate, one of the three most beautiful spots in all Japan. We took the chairlift up to the view point on the Amanohashidate side for a look at the sandbar. Following which we used Nordic walking sticks to walk across the sandbar. Using the Nordic walking sticks made walking easier and we got to Kasamatsu Park in no time.

{{> image path:"/community/img/889385_324.jpg", caption:"Nordic walking across the sandbar.", width:"", height:"" }} {{> image path:"/community/img/889385_322.jpg", caption:"Jumping over Amanohashidate. (l-r) Muruka, Tokuda-san, Alan and Nakajima-san.", width:"", height:"" }}

We were greeted by great views of Amanohashidate at the top of the park. I was told that the upside down view of Amanohashidate should be done from Kasamatsu Park as it started off on this side, gradually reaching the other side over thousands of years.

Along the walk, we visited the three power spots in the area. The first being at the Amanohashidate Shrine located in the sandbar, the second at the Motoise Kono Shrine and the last spot at Manai Shrine.

{{> image path:"/community/img/889385_326.jpg", caption:"The dragon's head is on the opposite side.", width:"", height:"" }} {{> image path:"/community/img/889385_327.jpg", caption:"Taking the chairlift down.", width:"", height:"" }}

In the afternoon, we parted ways with Tokuda-san and took a bus to Ine village with Muruka-san, who works at Amanohashidate tourist information centre and joined us on her day off! Ine village is a fishing town, with itfs inhabitants living in eboat housesf. Not quite what youfd imagine a boat house to be, but instead of car garages, they have boat garages under their house.

{{> image path:"/community/img/889385_332.jpg", caption:"Boat houses in Ine Village.", width:"", height:"" }} {{> image path:"/community/img/889385_333.jpg", caption:"View of half of Ine Village from the top of the hill.", width:"", height:"" }}

The town is U-shaped and only about 5km long. It felt like a throwback to the past with all the quaint old-style houses and elderly people. There were community bicycles to use for free (they werenft locked at all) to explore the town. We had a chance to enter a converted house, that is available for rent. The owners were very kind to pause from fishing and show us around the house.

{{> image path:"/community/img/889385_334.jpg", caption:"Inside a boat house looking out.", width:"", height:"" }} {{> image path:"/community/img/889385_335.jpg", caption:"The entire house is available for rent.", width:"", height:"" }}

We took the bus back to Seikiro and on the way back, we saw the sun set over Amanohashidate. What a day exploring, Ifm sure Ifll sleep well tonight.

{{> image path:"/community/img/889385_337.jpg", caption:"I feel like I haven't seen the sun set for a while.", width:"", height:"" }} {{> image path:"/community/img/889385_331.jpg", caption:"Fishing in Ine Village", width:"", height:"" }} {{> image path:"/community/img/889385_330.jpg", caption:"Almost every house has a boat.", width:"", height:"" }} {{> image path:"/community/img/889385_336.jpg", caption:"Community bicycles we used to travel around Ine Village.", width:"", height:"" }} {{> image path:"/community/img/889385_328.jpg", caption:"I errr... cannot stand on my hands.", width:"", height:"" }} {{> image path:"/community/img/889385_323.jpg", caption:"Omikuji in Chion Temple.", width:"", height:"" }} {{> image path:"/community/img/889385_320.jpg", caption:"With the kids outside Seikiro.", width:"", height:"" }} {{> image path:"/community/img/889385_325.jpg", caption:"When in Amanohashidate...", width:"", height:"" }}

Today's Program
 
Today's Walk: Exploring the Amanohashidate Sandbar

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Starting at Amanohashidate Station, today's walk will first lead to the Amanohashidate View Land on the hills south of the sandbar. This theme park is accessible by monorail or chairlift (850 yen round trip) and offers some of the best views over the Amanohashidate Sandbar.

After heading back down the hill, we will walk over to Chionji Temple at the south end of the bay and check out the temple grounds before crossing the pine tree covered sandbar.

After emerging on the north end of the sandbar, we head via Motoise Kono Shrine to the lower chairlift/cablecar station of Kasamatsu Park. Ride either the chairlift or cablecar (640 yen round trip) up to the mountainside park from where there are more beautiful views of Amanohashidate.

Travelers can either return to the station back the way they came, or cross the bay by sightseeing ferries (520 yen, frequent departures). This route is also well suited to be done by bicycle. Rental bicycles are available from shops and hotels around Amanohashidate Station.

Date October 21, 2013
Start Time 9:30
Start Amanohashidate Station
Goal Kasamatsu Park (})
Distance 4 kilometers one way not including lift rides (about 2-3 hours)
Terrain This route is easy to walk and mostly flat along city streets and a well maintained dirt road across the sandbar. The hilltop parks at either end are accessible by cable car, monorail or chair lifts (640 or 850 yen depending on the park). Rental bicycles are available from shops and hotels around Amanohashidate Station (typically 400 yen for 2 hours, 100 yen per additional hour).
Weather Average daytime high: 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit)
Average nighttime low: 11 degrees Celsius (52 degrees Fahrenheit)
Weather Forecast for Kyoto
Access Amanohashidate is connected to Kyoto and Osaka by direct limited express trains.
More details on how to get to Amanohashidate
Lodgings A variety of hotels and ryokan provide accommodation around Amanohashidate and the nearby Kinosaki Onsen. An alternative base for today's walk is at Kyoto City.
Search hotels in Amanohashidate through Agoda, Booking.com or Japanican
Search hotels in Kinosaki Onsen through Agoda, Booking.com or Japanican
Search hotels in Kyoto through Agoda, Booking.com or Japanican

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Daily Quiz
The deadline for answering the quiz question for day 18 has passed.

Amanohashidate, Miyajima Island and Matsushima Bay have been traditionally ranked as Japan's three most scenic views. Which of the following statements about the three scenic views is correct?

55%   One of them is located in a national park
5%   Two of them are world heritage sites
16%   Two of them are located along the Sea of Japan coast
0%   One of them is located in a geopark
24%   None of the above

The correct answer is: One of them is located in a national park

Only Miyajima is currently part of a national park (Setonaikai National Park), although Matsushima is considered to be added to the Sanriku Recovery National Park in the future. Only one of the three sites (Miyajima) is designated a world heritage site. Only one of them (Amanohashidate) is located along the Sea of Japan. And none of them is located in a geopark.

Current Standings: (after 30 days)

28 Points: Csabba, AlexanderStankov
27 Points: gladhiola, almoehi, ZoomX2, mikaelus
26 Points: Rabbityama, Proxy707

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