Amanohashidate (天橋立)

Amanohashidate is a scenic spot in Miyazu Bay, near Miyazu City in Kyoto Prefecture.

Outline

Amanohashidate is a sand spit (geologically, a sand bar) 3.2km long (Daitenkyo, Shotenkyo), lined with about 7,000 pine trees, and ranging in width from 20m to 170m at its base. It stretches from Miyazu Bay to the Aso Sea. Miyazu Bay opens into the Aso Sea via Monju-no-kirido and Monju-no-suiro. The name can also refer to the area including Kasamatsu Park, which has a view of Amanohashidate. Daitenkyo and Shotenkyo are connected by a drawbridge (in the picture on the right, between the land in the foreground and the sand spit), below which tour boats and other small boats pass.

It got its name from the fact that if you look at it upside-down, it looks like a bridge across the sky. The name came from people looking through their legs from Kasamatsu Park on the north side, a view that is traditionally considered very beautiful (the view from Kasamatsu Park is also called a "slanted number 1").

The view from the south side (and that from vantage point), called "flying dragon" (Hiryukan. Because it looks like a dragon climbing into the sky), is also popular, drawing just as many tourists as the north side.
There are other vantage points: the view from the east side is called Sesshukan (
from "Amanohashidate-zu" by Sesshu, shown at left); and the view from the west is called "Ichijikan" (
Because it looks like the kanji character for 1, or ichi).

Since it has been famous from ancient times, examples can be found in literature, such as the poem by KOSHIKIBU no Naishi in the Hyakunin-isshu, "By Mt. Oe the road to Ikuno is long, I have not yet seen Amanohashidate"; and in the Tango no Kuni Fudoki it is written that Izanagi had a ladder to climb to heaven, but it fell over while he was sleeping and became Amanohashidate. Since the Edo period it has been counted as one of Japan's three scenic views, along with Matsushima (current Miyagi Prefecture) and Miyajima (current Hiroshima Prefecture).

On November 22, 1952, it was designated by the national government as a place of special scenic beauty, and has also been selected as one of the top 100 white sand beaches and green pine groves of Japan (Hakushaseisho Hyakusen). Although it was designated a part of the Wakasa Bay Quasi-National Park on June 1, 1955, it indepedently became Tango-Amanohashidate-Oeyama Quasi-National Park on August 3, 2007. In 2007 it was selected as one of Japan's top 100 geological features (Chishitsu Hyakusen).

Kyoto Prefecture and Miyazu City have made suggestions to the Agency for Cultural Affairs as candidate for the tentative (UNESCO) World Heritage Site list, and named their suggestion "Amanohashidate: The Origin of Japan's Cultural Scenery".

Transportation

Air

Osaka International Airport (Itami) - Tajima Airfield (Japan Air Commuter Co., Ltd.)

Connections to Japan Airlines Corporation's flights to Tokyo at Osaka International Airport

Zentan Bus Airport Shuttle from Kounotori Tajima Airport to Toyooka Station (Hyogo Prefecture)
Take Kitakinki Tango Railway from there and get off at Amanohashidate Station.

About 60 minutes by car from Kounotori Tajima Airport (or from downtown Toyooka)

Railway

Get off the Kitakinki Tango Railway Miyazu Line at Amanohashidate Station.

About 2 hours from Kyoto Station via JR non-stop express

A short walk from Amanohashidate Station to the southern end of Amanohashidate
To get to Kasamatsu Park on the north side, take the Tango Kairiku Kotsu Bus or Tour Boat to Ichinomiya and walk toward Fuchu Station. From there, get on the Amanohashidate Cable Railway, and then walk from Kasamatsu Station.

Car

From Kyoto

Via Trans-Kyoto Expressway, Tamba interchange to National Route 27, Ayabe Ankokuji interchange to Trans-Kyoto Expressway, Miyazu Amanohashidate interchange to National Route 178, to Kyoto Prefectural Route 2, to Amanohashidate

From Osaka

Via Chugoku Expressway, Yoshida Junction to Maizuru Wakasa Expressway, Ayabe Junction to Trans-Kyoto Expressway, Miyazu Amanohashidate IC to National Route 176, to Kyoto Prefectural Route 2, to Amanohashidate

Erosion Problem

Amanohashidate has shrunk in recent years due to erosion, and is in danger of disappearing. This is because dams were built on the rivers after the war, reducing the amount of sediment carried from the mountains to the sea, and destroying the balance of sediment deposits and erosion on Amanohashidate. To prevent further erosion, the administration has installed many small erosion barriers on the sand bar in an attempt to stop the sand from washing away (in the picture from the south (Hiryukan), it is the part on the right where the beach is serrated).

Pine Weevil Problem

At one time the trees were blighted by pine weevils, and were in danger of being wiped out. Since then a pest eradication program has been implemented and the problem is currently in abatement.

Reference Works

The Story of Amanohashidate: Its Culture, History, and Preservation - Yuichi IWAGAKI (July 2007, Gihodo Shuppan) ISBN 978-4-7655-1721-8