Amanoshidate is one of the three Nihon Sankei (the three most scenic views of the traditional Japan).
Since in the past, Amanoashidate was frequently depicted in many stamps and printings, such as the well known, either abroad, Ukiyo-e stamps. The other two famous views are Matsushima, in Miyagi Prefecture, and Miyajima, in Hiroshima Prefecture.
What’s special about Amanohashidate?
Amanohashidate is located in a singular area, a 3.6 km long sandbar. This geographic feature formed about 8000 years ago, during the end of the glacial era, and nowadays about 8000 pine trees are growing on it. Also, since Heian era this area was considered one of the three wonders of Japan, and we can find a proof of this in this quote from the Koshibu no Naishi poem:
How to reach Amanohashidate?
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We went to Amanohashidate in a cold winter day, some snow had just fallen.
Close to the Amanohashidate sandbar, there is a famous temple called Chion-ji: here people come to pray Monju Bosatsu-Zō in order to increase their knowledge and to pass school exams.
Once passed through Chion-ji, in order to reach the sandbar you have to cross a rotating bridge (it rotates about 90 degrees to allow little ships to enter in the lagoon) finally arriving to Amanohashidate. In front of your eyes you will see lots or pine trees, some of them are really old, sometimes venerated as deities and with proper names.
The narrowest part of Amanohashidate measures only 30 meteres. By looking at the sea in both the direction, We somehow could understand the importance of this place for Japanese people in the history: even if so apparently fragile and abandoned to the force of the sea and the nature, this tiny sandbar is still here after 8000 years. To cross all the sandbar it takes about 45 minutes, or 15 min by bycicle (you can rent it). Along the route there are resting areas, toilets and a little shrine.
In the southern side of Amanohashidate you can find Kasamatsu park and on its hill, reachable by a cable car and a chairlift, you can see the sandbar from the top. In addiction, here there is a platform where you can take the typical “matonozoki” pose, which consists in turning your back towards the sandbar, bend over your body and looking between your legs. From this point of view, the sandbar looks like a vertical and slim line.
In certain periods in the year, Amanohashidate may see a real invasion of tourists, especially during Golden Week (around half of May) and Obon vacations (around the middle of August), so if possible let’s try to avoid these periods.
Amanohashidate is located along the sea, so fish is really good here. Also, in the surroundings there are many hot springs, so how about spending a night in a local ryōkan?