Amanohashidate is a popular yet relatively unknown spot on Honshu’s northern shore, a beautiful sandy naturally formed bridge.
The 3km stretch runs across the bay, with a beautiful sandy beach running along it the whole way. Roughly translated, Amanohashidate means “bridge to heaven”. Legend has it that the bridge was formed when an ancient dragon god needed to get to heaven, which is confusing because it’s basically just going over to the other side, not up or down.
But! If you go to a vantage point and look at the bridge upside down through your legs (as you would) then it looks like a flying dragon. So maybe the dragon flew. But then why would they need a bridge if they can fly? Hmmm.
Anyway, what is known for sure is that the bridge exists, is sandy, and lovely.
Where is Amanohashidate?
Amanohashidate located on Miyazu Bay in the north of Kyoto Prefecture.
How do I get to Amanohashidate?
“Let’s go to Kyoto and go to the beach!” said no one, ever. But! If you go to Kyoto prefecture, you’ll be interested to know that it is possible to get your wild swimming fix just a mere 1.5 hours from the main city.
If you have a car it’ll take about 90 minutes from Kyoto, or you can take the train from Kyoto to Amanhoshidate station, and from there the beach is about a 15 minute walk.
You’ll go through a small shoutengai and pass a few shops and a very nice temple before you get there. If you go on weekdays it’s relatively quiet, but expect busier crowds on weekends and holidays.
Swimming wise there is a cordoned off area at each end of the beach, which will help save you from jellyfish and local fishermen. The water is very clear
The town is small and relies mainly on tourism - expect the usual sort of tourist friendly izakayas, but a lot of them will close early, so best to try and get your dinner in before sundown.
We didn’t use it but there was a nice looking onsen next to the station so you can wash off before heading off. If you’re in the area, Ine is also a lovely town to visit.