The next stop after our marathon spa night in Kinosaki Onsen was Amanohashidate. The main attraction at Amanohashidate is a forested sand bar that stretches across the mouth of a bay on the northern coast. It is considered one of the three most scenic views in Japan. Our first train ride only took us one stop before we had to transfer to the Kyoto Tango Railway. This was literally just one train car that looked like it could have been a tourist attraction in its own right as much as a mode of public transportation. The ride to Amanohashidate was a little over an hour. Alana slept while I enjoyed the scenic views.
The train station where we arrived was on the south side of the sand bar, but the hostel we were staying in was on the north side. This meant we still had over an hour walk once we arrived in town. We had initially planned to store our stuff in a coin locker and then pick it up later to take to the hostel (check in wasn’t until 4 pm). Alana had the great idea to just stash our large backpacks in the coin lockers overnight, taking only our smaller packs with us to the hostel and back. The genius of this idea didn’t strike home until we finally made our way across the sand bar and up to our hostel. It would have been a pretty awful experience with all of our stuff strapped on our backs.
Once our stuff had been securely stowed we took the worlds tiniest chair lift (my feet were dragging on the ground at times) up to Amanohashidate View Land.
Also worth noting, our JR rail passes got us a 150 yen discount on the chair lift!
This small amusement park is located on top of a hill on the south side of the sand bar. There were some kiddy rides and the like, but we stuck to the pedestrian roller coaster since it was free. We also got started on our crotch peeping. I’m not making this term up, I promise. Apparently if you look at the sandbar upside down it looks like a dragon flying in the sky. The best method for getting this view is to bend forward and look between your knees back behind you. This method was referred to as the “crotch peep” on all the official English signage. Needless to say, we spend a while photographing each other crotch peeping and giggling the whole time.
Having gotten our fill of crotch peeping, we set off across the sand bar to the north side. The weather was very nice and our lack of heavy backpacks made for a very pleasant walk. The pine trees growing on the sand bar had some very interesting shapes (maybe because of wind?). It was still too early to check in to our hostel, so we decided to check out the view from the north side. We skipped the chair lift this time around and opted for a steep 15 minute walk up to Kasamatsu Park. Seen from this angle the sand bar has the appearance of a bridge connecting heaven and earth. There were more dedicated crotch peeping platforms here, so of course we had to test them out.
Finally, after having gotten all of our peeping out of our systems, we stopped by a supermarket and got some sushi and spaghetti for dinner which we ate out back right next to the water. It was a pleasant and relaxing end to the day. Our hostel was a bit remote, but very nice. We were the only two people staying in the dorm, so we ended up having a relatively large room all to ourselves.
Amanohashidate wasn’t really on our radar before we decided on the JR Kansai Hiroshima rail pass, but it was a uniquely fun stop on our journey across Kansai. If you only have a short time in Japan I’m not sure I’d recommend it, but if you have the time for it… Well, let’s just say that talking about the time you tried crotch peeping in Japan makes for a great conversation starter.