Amanohashidate : one of the three most famous scenic spots in Japan

What is Amanohashidate?

Amanohashidate is a natural land bridge located in the northern part of Kyoto Prefecture. Along with Matsushima in Miyagi Pref. and Miyajima in Hiroshima Pref., it is one of Japan’s most famous scenic landscapes. This land bridge is a sandbar that spans 3.6km across Miyazu Bay, and ranges from 20m to 170m in width. The name ‘Amanohashidate’ means ‘Bridge to the heavens’ and was named for its shape when seen from the lookout points at either end of Amanohashidate – the land bridge looks as if it leads up into the sky. To see the Heavenly Bridge, you are supposed to turn your back to the scenery, bend over, and look from between your legs.

Two lookout points
Amanohasidate View Land
The observatory that stands on the top of Mt.Monju from which an amazing view of Amanohashidate can be seen. It has some rides, such as a Ferris wheel, which can be enjoyed by people of all ages, both young and old. The view is called “Hiryukan” since it looks like a “flying dragon” up in the heavens.

Kasamatsu Park
An observatory where you can overlook Amanohashidate. It can be seen in the shape of “一”, the Chinese character for “one”. If you turn your back to Amanohashidate and bend over to view the amazing landform from between your legs, it looks like a bridge to heaven. This position is called “Matanozoki” in Japanese.

Other sightseeing spots

Rotating Bridge
This unusual bridge turns 90 degrees when ships pass through the waterway and connects the Amanohashidate land bridge and the Monju area.
The original bridge built in 1923 was hand-operated but was latermade electric in 1960.

Chionji Temple
One of the three temples in Japan dedicated to the Monju Bodhisattva (Bodhisattva of wisdom). It is believed that you can gain wisdom from visiting this temple so many students and their families visit here to pray for help passing exams.
The Tahoto Pagoda that stands on the temple grounds is a National Important Cultural Property and enshrines a statue of the Dainichi Nyorai.


Motoise Kono Shrine
Motoise Kono Shrine is an old shrine that has a strong affinity with the famous Ise Shrine in Mie Pref. It is said that the goddess of agriculture, Toyouke-Omikami, who once resided in this area was called to Ise Shrine by the sun goddess, Amaterasu-Omikami, and has since been enshrined at Ise Shrine
The legend of the floating bridge from heaven:
In ancient times the god Izanagi went to and from the heavens to see the goddess Izanami via the Bridge to the Heavens (Amanohashidate).
Now this area is known as the land where men and women can be bound to one another like Izanagi and Izanami were.

Funaya “Fisherman’s Boat House”
“Funaya” are boat garages used to protect boats and make them last long. They are also used as storerooms to hold household goods and workspaces to make processed food such as dried fish, to repair fishing nets, and to prepare to go fishing. Funaya have maintained these uses for several hundred years since the Edo period, slightly changing as time passes.

By Masa Tamura

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