I had decided that to hell with revisiting Kyoto sites and temples (I was not that struck by the place the first time frankly) I was going to try and cross off another one on my Japanese bucket lists. Namely the scenic area of Amanohashidate. Its about 2 ½ hrs to NW of Kyoto out on the coast. Getting there can be a bit of a trial due to fact that JR can only take you so far then you have to change to a private railway, the wonderfully named KTR (Kita-Kinki Tango railway). I had to the station to check what times connections etc were and lo and behold there was a JR limited express in 2mins. I knew there were only a couple of these a day so jumped on it. I knew that I was going to have to pay $15 extra for their little bit of line. Everyone jumped off the train and poured up and over the bridge onto the next platform for a suitable picturesque looking rail motor so I followed. After a while most people had got off and it was only then I had got on the wrong train in the wrong direction
to save time crossing the lake
– a circular line and going broadly East not NWest. So back to Toyo-oku, after having wasted an hour or so and restarted (on the right train I hoped).
This time we finally ended up in Amanohashidate – at 2pm, having left Kyoto at 9.25am, I was starving as had had no breakfast. So some fine sashimi fish etc on rice with a local beer was required before I did anything. The girl at the tourist counter at the station spoke very good English – and also German and Swedish, as a result of living in Sweden and Austria for a while – very versatile. I took a bright pink speed boat for $6 across the bay from the Chionji temple area to the Kono shrine area on the other side. Although the girl at the info centre had recommended walking up, as you get to go higher, I decided that with the time I had, and still hauling lunch around, it was the cable car for me. It great the guidebook prices (mine from 1999!) have virtually not changed since then – what you call a zero-inflation situation.
The draw here is the long (3km odd) pine-covered
sand finger that runs between the 2 points (in that way very similar to Klaipeda in Estonia I think which I visited 3 yrs ago). The classic way to view it is called Mata-nozoki – the world between your legs. So you bend over facing away from the elevated view of the pine peninsula/sand bar and view it upside down so it appears to be floating in the air. I would not say this sensation is overwhelming but it does sorta work. Then down in the cable car and the steady stroll across the peninsula – it said 50mins but not sure how amble pace this was and I had a direct train (no changes – phew!) back to Kyoto to catch. It took a comfortable 40 so that was OK.
The view is one of the three great sights in Japan (they love lists) so now I have done all 3 – Matsushima near Sendai and Miya-jima off Hiroshima being the other two. Japanese bucket list complete then! It was a pleasant day out – other than the tangle of wrong way trains of course.
Dinner was a simple ginger pork fry thing in a beery Saturday
night kinda place near the hotel – I was not feeling fancy. It barely cost $20 with large beer – food is so cheap here.
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