Last additions
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Amanohashidate area has all these neat, painted trains.Nov 27, 2018
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Amanohashidate Station plaform.Nov 27, 2018
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Inside Amanohashidate Station.Nov 27, 2018
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Inside Amanohashidate Station. Nice station with luggage lockers and English-speaking tourist information desk.Nov 27, 2018
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Amanohashidate StationNov 27, 2018
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Nov 27, 2018
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Amanohashidate StationNov 27, 2018
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View from the Aomatsu train.Kyoto Tango Railway has another cafe train named "Akamatsu" that runs twice a day (except on Tue. and Wed.) between Nishi-Maizuru and Amanohashidate. But this train requires reservations.
https://trains.willer.co.jp/matsu/akamatsu.html

There's also the "Kuromatsu" restaurant train that runs on Fri., Sat., Sun., and national holidays. You can order a full dinner or confections or sake. The train fare includes the meal or drinks and obviously will be much more expensive than regular train fare.
https://trains.willer.co.jp/matsu/
Nov 27, 2018
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Front of the Aomatsu train.The Aomatsu train runs only twice a day from Fukuchiyama to Amanohashidate taking about an hour. Love this train.
https://trains.willer.co.jp/matsu/aomatsu.html
Nov 27, 2018
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Bathroom sink.Nov 27, 2018
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Nov 27, 2018
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Toward the front of the train are regular seats.Nov 27, 2018
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Cafe-type seats (wooden) with a table.Nov 27, 2018
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Cafe-type seats (wooden) with a table.Nov 27, 2018
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Wooden showcase.Nov 27, 2018
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There's a staffed bar where you can order drinks and food.Nov 27, 2018
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Counter seat with a knob to hold on to.Nov 27, 2018
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Window seats at the counter.Nov 27, 2018
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Aomatsu is special because the interior is wooden and it has a variety of seating (train fare is the same for all seats).It's a cafe train and you can order drinks (including alcohol) and light meals. No reservations required, and it's all non-reserved. Train fare is the same as regular trains.Nov 27, 2018
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Enter the Aomatsu train and see this rack of tourist pamphlets.Nov 27, 2018
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This Kyoto Tango Railways one-day train pass is a good deal.Nov 27, 2018
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The Aomatsu train runs once every morning (10:17 am) and afternoon (3:17 pm) from Fukuchiyama Station to Amanohashidate Station and requires no reservations or extra train fare.Nov 27, 2018
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At JR Fukuchiyama Station, Kyoto Tango Railways operates a special tourist train named "Aomatsu" to Amanohashidate. It's just one train car.It's a cafe train that serves drinks and light meals.
JR Fukuchiyama Station is a major gateway to northern Kyoto Prefecture because it is a terminal station for Kyoto Tango Railway, the dominant train network in this area.
Nov 27, 2018
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Kyoto Tango Railway (abbreviated as "Tantetsu") is the dominant train network in this area.Nov 27, 2018
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Amanohashidate Station as seen from Amanohashidate Viewland.Nov 27, 2018
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Amanohashidate manhole is based on the view from the southern end.Nov 27, 2018
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Chiarlift down from Amanohashidate Viewland.Nov 27, 2018
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Chairlift down.Nov 27, 2018
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About the Circle of Wisdom.Nov 27, 2018
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Another Circle of Wisdom at Amanohashidate Viewland.Nov 27, 2018
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Nov 27, 2018
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Map of Amanohashidate Viewland amusement park.Nov 27, 2018
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Amanohashidate Viewland's amusement park for kids.Nov 27, 2018
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Besides having lookout decks, Amanohashidate Viewland is a small amusement park for kids.Nov 27, 2018
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This small ferris wheel at Amanohashidate Viewland is visible to the naked eye from across the sandbar.Nov 27, 2018
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Nov 27, 2018
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Amanohashidate Viewland has this elevated walkway to view Amanohashidate. Not good if you're afraid of heights.Nov 27, 2018
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That's the dragon's head in the front and the slim tail in the back. When you see it upside down, the sandbar/dragon is in the sky right?Nov 27, 2018
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On the southern end here, Amanohashidate upside down looks like a flying dragon (hiryu 飛竜). Nov 27, 2018
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On the southern end here, Amanohashidate upside down looks like a flying dragon (hiryu 飛竜). Nov 27, 2018
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Platform to view the sandbar upside down. Nov 27, 2018
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Platforms where you supposed to view the sandbar upside down. Nov 27, 2018
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The thing about Amanohashidate is that it looks very different from different lookout points. The most popular spots to view Amanohashidate are on the hilltop on the southern end and northern end.If you have time, I highly recommend that you see it from both the southern end and northern ends. Which means you should rent a bicycle and ride across Amanohashidate.

This is from the hilltop on the southern end, from a small amusement park called Amanohashidate Viewland easily accessible via chair lift or cable car, and a short walk from Amanohashidate Station. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/yNhxjwK2ocz

This southern end connects to mainland Japan, so what you see in the distance is Tango Peninsula up north.

The left side is the west side with an enclosed, but connected ocean named Asoumi Sea. The right side is the east side with white-sand beaches facing the open ocean. Ships can still go through both sides of the sandbar through a narrow strait on the southern end.

The greenery area on the lower left facing the sandbar is Chionji Temple.
Nov 27, 2018
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On the lower right of the sandbar, notice the finger of sand extending into the ocean. This finger keeps growing as the northern sand erodes and drifts over to it. So every few years, they have to remove the excess sand. (Notice the power shovel and dump truck working on it.) Otherwise, this little sand spit will become another sandbar across the ocean, impeding local shipping.Nov 27, 2018
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Chionji TempleNov 27, 2018
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Amanohashidate as seen from the southern end atop Amanohashidate Viewland.Nov 27, 2018
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Amanohashidate from Amanohashidate Viewland (southern end).Nov 27, 2018
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Chair lift and monorail car for Amanohashidate Viewland. Taking the chair lift is faster than the monorail car.Nov 27, 2018
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Chair lift and cable car station for Amanohashidate Viewland. Short walk from Amanohashidate Station.Nov 27, 2018
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Ship coming through.Nov 27, 2018
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After bicycling across Amanohashidate back to the southern end, the rotating bridge again making room for a ship.Nov 27, 2018
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Entrance to Amanohashidate's northern end.Nov 27, 2018
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AmanohashidateNov 27, 2018
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Boat dock on the northern end to cross by boat if you don't want to cycle.Nov 27, 2018
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Lucky to see a shrine priest bless a vehicle for traffic safety.Nov 27, 2018
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Nov 27, 2018
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Moto-Ise Kono Shrine torii. No photos beyond this torii.Nov 27, 2018
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Purify yourself here.Nov 27, 2018
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About Moto-Ise Kono Shrine (元伊勢籠神社). Before Ise Jingu was established around the 7th century (or earlier), a number of shrines for these two deities were temporarily or permanently established in various locations including this Kono Shrine. These pre-Ise Jingu shrines are prefixed with "Moto-Ise." Kono Shrine worships five gods and one of them is Toyouke-Omikami (豊受大神), the same goddess of agriculture worshiped in Ise.Nov 27, 2018
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Moto-Ise Kono Shrine (元伊勢籠神社)Ise Grand Shrines (Ise Jingu) in Mie Prefecture are Japan's most sacred Shinto shrines. They are dedicated to the Sun Goddess Amaterasu (Shinto's most important goddess and legendary ancestor of the Imperial family) and Toyouke-Omikami (豊受大神), goddess of agriculture. Nov 27, 2018
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Path to nearby Moto-Ise Kono Shrine.Nov 27, 2018
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Path to nearby Moto-Ise Kono Shrine is lined with souvenir shops.Nov 27, 2018
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Puffer fish.Nov 27, 2018
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Old postbox and a message.Nov 27, 2018
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Amanohashidate sardines supposed to be good.Nov 27, 2018
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Souvenir shops near the chair lift station at Fuchu Station.Nov 27, 2018
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Chair lift down from Kasamatsu Park has nice views.Nov 27, 2018
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Chair lift to go down from Kasamatsu Park.Nov 27, 2018
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Entrance to chair lift to go down from Kasamatsu Park.Nov 27, 2018
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Bus stop to Nariaiji temple further up the hill, one of the 33 Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage Temples.Nov 27, 2018
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Autumn heart at Amanohashidate.Nov 27, 2018
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How Amanohashidate was formed, according to mythology.Nov 27, 2018
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Padlocks for lovers.Nov 27, 2018
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And so Amanohashidate symbolizes a link between Heaven and Earth and between two lovers. That's why you may also see heart or love symbols at Amanohashidate.Nov 27, 2018
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Another Ring of Wisdom on Kasamatsu Park.Nov 27, 2018
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Kasamatsu Park has the usual touristy restaurants and shops. Nice benches and no amusement park.Nov 27, 2018
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Southern end of Amanohashidate. Amanohashidate Viewland can be seen.Nov 27, 2018
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Closeup of Amanohashidate.Nov 27, 2018
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Upside down, it supposed to look like a bridge to heaven.Nov 27, 2018
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Look at Amanohashidate upside down.Nov 27, 2018
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Amanohashidate as seen from the northern end atop Kasamatsu Park.Nov 27, 2018
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Amanohashidate as seen from the northern end atop Kasamatsu Park.Amanohashidate is a sandbar created since thousands of years ago by opposing ocean currents carrying sand. According to Japanese mythology, Amanohashidate was created during the age of gods (before man appeared). The great god Izanagi in Heaven, built a long floating ladder-bridge from Heaven to Earth so he could see his wife the goddess Izanami who was living at Moto-Ise Kono Shrine on Earth. However, in a single night while he was asleep, the bridge collapsed and fell to Earth, where Amanohashidate is today. And so if you view it upside down at Kasamatsu Park, it's supposed to look like a bridge to heaven which is what "Amanohashidate" means.Nov 27, 2018
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Amanohashidate is northern Kyoto's main attraction and very famous for centuries as one of Japan's Scenic Trio (Nihon Sankei 日本三景). The other two in the scenic trio are Miyajima (vermillion torii and shrine on the ocean) in Hiroshima and Matsushima (pine tree islands) near Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture. It's about 3.6 km long, totally flat, and you can cross it on foot or by bicycle (rentals available) on a dirt road in the middle. The road is lined with thousands of Japanese pine trees and closed to vehicular traffic. This view is from the northern end atop Kasamatsu Park. Near Amanohashidate Station.Nov 27, 2018
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Arriving Kasamatsu Park on cable car.Nov 27, 2018
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Cable car to Kasamatsu Park.Nov 27, 2018
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Cable car to Kasamatsu Park.Nov 27, 2018
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Cable car to Kasamatsu Park.Nov 27, 2018
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Cable car to Kasamatsu Park.Nov 27, 2018
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Cable car if you're afraid of heights.Nov 27, 2018
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Chair lift to Kasamatsu Park. Nov 27, 2018
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Arriving Kasamatsu Park on the chairlift.Nov 27, 2018
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Chair lift to Kasamatsu Park. Nov 27, 2018
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Chair lift to Kasamatsu Park. Nov 27, 2018
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If you're not afraid of heights, take the chair lift. They keep telling you not to jump off even if you dropped something.Nov 27, 2018
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Time schedule and fares for Cable Car and Chair Lift. The chair lift runs non-stop so it's faster than waiting for the next cable car. Nov 27, 2018
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Cable Car and Chair Lift station to go up to Kasamatsu Park.Nov 27, 2018
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Fuchu Station is the Cable Car and Chair Lift station to go up to Kasamatsu Park on the northern end of Amanohashidate.Nov 27, 2018
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Fork in the road. Go left.Nov 27, 2018
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Kasamatsu Park on the hill as seen from Amanohashidate.Nov 27, 2018
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East edge of Amanohashidate looking toward Kasamatsu Park on the hill.Nov 27, 2018
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The Twin Dragon Pine Trees were broken. 双龍の松Nov 27, 2018
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Sunny beach on Amanohashidate.Nov 27, 2018
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Don't ever get tired of the scenery.Nov 27, 2018
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Looks like another wedded pair of pine trees, but it is named "Good Friends pine trees." なかよしの松Nov 27, 2018
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Pine tree for the sawn maiden's clothes. 羽衣の松Nov 27, 2018
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Wind-blown pine trees.Nov 27, 2018
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Wedded pine trees on Amanohashidate. (夫婦松) Nov 27, 2018
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Good to know how far away you are.Nov 27, 2018
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A few pine trees died or were knocked down.Nov 27, 2018
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This part of the beach had many little piles of driftwood which they were cleaning up.Nov 27, 2018
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The ocean and beach.Nov 27, 2018
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Marker for Emperor Taisho's visit. Anybody who is a somebody has visited Amanohashidate.Nov 27, 2018
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West side of Amanohashidate.Nov 27, 2018
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Path on Amanohashidate going north. Almost endless forest of pine trees. Very pleasant cycling ride or walk.Nov 27, 2018
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Many pine trees have names.Nov 27, 2018
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About Buson, a famous poet.Nov 27, 2018
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Poetry monument for Buson, a famous poet.Nov 27, 2018
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About "Iso-shimizu" (磯清水) well.Nov 27, 2018
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About "Iso-shimizu" (磯清水).Nov 27, 2018
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Near Amanohashidate Shrine is this well of pure spring water named "Iso-shimizu" (磯清水) famous since the Heian Period.Nov 27, 2018
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About Amanohashidate Shrine.Nov 27, 2018
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Amanohashidate ShrineNov 27, 2018
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Near the cannon is Amanohashidate Shrine. Nov 27, 2018
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The cannon was never based or used on Amanohashidate. It was originally from the Battleship Kasuga. Donated by the Imperial Navy to the village in 1923 to promote the Imperial Navy.Nov 27, 2018
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Would you believe a cannon on Amanohashidate?Nov 27, 2018
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About swordsman Jutaro Iwami's testing stone.Nov 27, 2018
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Swordsman Jutaro Iwami's testing stone.Nov 27, 2018
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Wild birds found at Amanohashidate. They only wrote the scientific names of the birds. Looks like they include the seagull, egret, heron, sparrow, and cormorant.Nov 27, 2018
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West side of Amanohashidate with no beaches.Nov 27, 2018
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Cycling on Amanohashidate through thousands of Japanese pine trees. It takes 10-15 min. by bicycle without stopping. But there are a number of monuments, shrine, commemorative pine trees, and beaches to photograph along the way. So it took me 30-40 min.Nov 27, 2018
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About Amanohashidate's pine trees.Nov 27, 2018
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Amanohashidate poetry monument for famous travel poet Yosano Akiko and husband Yosano Tekkan. 与謝野 鉄幹(与謝野 寛)、与謝野 晶子Nov 27, 2018
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Beach on the east side of Amanohashidate.Nov 27, 2018
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The bridge to Amanohashidate.Nov 27, 2018
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The sand spit gets shorter each hour.Nov 27, 2018
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Amanohashidate's finger of sand that keeps growing. Every few years, they have to remove the excess sand, otherwise it will become another sandbar impeding shipping.Nov 27, 2018
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Amanohashidate's finger of sand that keeps growing. Every few years, they have to remove the excess sand, otherwise it will become another sandbar impeding shipping.Nov 27, 2018
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Jizo statue on Amanohashidate.Nov 27, 2018
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Emperor Showa's Amanohashidate poem.Nov 27, 2018
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Monument for Emperor Showa's Amanohashidate poem he wrote when he visited this area in 1951.Nov 27, 2018
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Amanohashidate marker.Nov 27, 2018
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How Amanohashidate sandbar formed. Sand from the east coast of Tango Peninsula carried by ocean currents were repeled by the river current of the Noda River. The sand thereby accumulated from the northern end to enclose the bay.Underwater, Amanohashidate looks like a sand wall.Nov 27, 2018
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Entrance to Amanohashidate's path to the other end. Japanese pine trees all over on both sides of the road.Nov 27, 2018
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Sightseeing map of Amanohashidate.Nov 27, 2018
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About the rotating bridge (Shotenkyo).Nov 27, 2018
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Rotating bridge for Amanohashidate.Nov 27, 2018
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Rotating bridge for pedestrians again.Nov 27, 2018
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Most of the boats carry freight.Nov 27, 2018
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On the southern end, this bridge to Amanohashidate rotates quite often to allow boats to pass. Nov 27, 2018
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Near the entrance to Amanohashidate, this welcome sign with "One of the three famous beauty spots of Japan" has been here for decades.According to Japanese Wikipedia, the "Nihon Sankei" (Japan's Scenic Trio) label originated in 1643 by Hayashi Gaho (aka Hayashi Shunsai), a Japanese Neo-Confucian scholar who wrote a book mentioning these three sights. The expression "Nihon Sankei" was later coined in 1689 by another Japanese Neo-Confucianist scholar, Kaibara Ekken in his travel diary. So "Nihon Sankei" goes way back to the 17th century.

It's really amazing that it has stuck throughout these centuries even with Mt. Fuji not included. With Japan having so many places of beauty, it would be nearly impossible today for anyone to unilaterally declare any three sights as the "Best Three."

To the question of why it's always the best "three," the answer seems to be more complicated. It seems the Japanese have had numerical favorites for many centuries. Many odd numbers are favorites including one, three, five, and seven. This might sound familiar when you think about haiku and tanka poetry syllables, and the 7-5-3 coming of age celebration for kids. But the number "three" for "Best Three" has also stuck for centuries and still today.
Nov 27, 2018
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My rental bicycle. Rental bicycles also available at the entrance to the Amanohashidate sandbar.Nov 27, 2018
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What to see from Amanohashidate Station. Best to rent a bicycle at the souvenir shop in front of the station.Nov 27, 2018
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Amanohashidate Station (Kyoto Tango Railway, nicknamed "Tantetsu" or "Willer Trains") is close to Amanohashidate sandbar. Trains from JR Osaka, Kyoto, and Fukuchiyama Stations stop here.Nov 27, 2018
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Next to the bridge is this local Shinto shrine named Minazuki Jinja dedicated to Tsukuyomi (月夜見命), the Moon deity and younger brother of Sun Goddess Amaterasu. 水無月神社Nov 27, 2018
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This is the road behind the homes along the inlet.Nov 27, 2018
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Beyond the bridge, the inlet has no boats.Nov 27, 2018
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Here's one house that used to have a boat garage connected to the water.Nov 27, 2018
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Get some good shots of the inlet from the bridge.Nov 27, 2018
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Walk until this bridge going over the inlet. Banner says, "We won't pollute the inlet."Nov 27, 2018
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Yoshihara Inlet Nov 27, 2018
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You can just walk along the inlet (be careful not to trip over the boat lines and ropes).Nov 27, 2018
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The homes used to have built-in boat garages like at Ine, but they were abolished and the boats are moored right in front instead. Nov 27, 2018
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Yoshihara Inlet is a picturesque waterfront fishing neighborhood with boats moored right outside. Fishing village since the Edo Period. Located on the north end of Isazu River (伊佐津川). "Yoshihara" means reed fields, so this area used to have reed beds on marshy land. About 20-min. walk from JR Nishi-Maizuru Station (JR Maizuru Line). Map hereNov 27, 2018
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Seat back.Nov 27, 2018
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Small statue of Admiral Heihachiro Togo in a private dining room.Nov 27, 2018
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Private dining room at Shoeikan.Nov 27, 2018
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Private dining room.Nov 27, 2018
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Stairway.Nov 27, 2018
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Private dining room named "Takasago."Nov 27, 2018
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Garden view from a private dining room.Nov 27, 2018
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Private dining room.Nov 27, 2018
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The private dining rooms are quite ornate with carved transoms like this one of Mt. Fuji.Nov 27, 2018
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Calligraphy by legendary Admiral Heihachiro Togo.Nov 27, 2018
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The 2nd floor's private dining rooms are adorned with calligraphy by legendary Admiral Heihachiro Togo.Nov 27, 2018
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Private dining room.Nov 27, 2018
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Private dining room.Nov 27, 2018
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We could also go upstairs and tour the private dining rooms.Nov 27, 2018
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For the restaurant menu and recipes, the restaurant chefs use an old navy recipe book that was used by navy galley staff in the Imperial Japanese Navy. It has about 200 recipes for Western dishes and confections.Nov 27, 2018
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The restaurant's menu is quite cheap, prices ranging from ¥900 for Navy curry rice to ¥4,500 for a full course.Nov 27, 2018
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We had a special sample of the curry rice, cabbage roll, stewed hamburger, and potatoes and meat (niku-jaga). Curry rice is famous as a navy dish in Japan.Shoeikan restaurant, Maizuru, Kyoto Prefecture.Nov 27, 2018
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The 1st floor is the main dining room. It even has a Noh stage.Nov 27, 2018
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Shoeikan corridor to the restaurant.Nov 27, 2018
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Entrance hall stained glass.Nov 27, 2018
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Shoeikan entrance hall.Nov 27, 2018
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The ryokan's annex building was left unused and decrepit for many years and was on the verge of being torn down until a citizens group got together to clean, renovate, and preserve the building. They finally decided to make it a Western-style restaurant serving navy cuisine. It just opened on Oct. 11, 2018. Glad that they preserved the building.Nov 27, 2018
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Shoeikan was originally the annex (別館) of the Shoeikan ryokan inn opened in 1904 (Meiji 37). The inn was built for navy VIPs like Admiral Heihachiro Togo who led the Japanese navy during the Russo-Japanese War.Hours
Lunch: 11:30–14:30 Dinner: 17:30–21:30

About 1 km from JR Higashi Maizuru Station. Parking available.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/sQd8ZdekJqA2
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Maizuru manhole shows Maizuru Bay in northern Kyoto Prefecture.Nov 27, 2018
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This is the Atago, a guided missile destroyer.Nov 27, 2018
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Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's Maizuru navy base (舞鶴基地) where the Hyuga helicopter carrier, Aegis ship, and other navy ships are based.This base is in charge of maritime security along the Sea of Japan's coast from Yamaguchi to Aomori Prefectures.Nov 27, 2018
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Old anchor for the Shirane destroyer that was retired in 2015.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JDS_ShiraneNov 27, 2018
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Maizuru Brick Park is right next to the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's Maizuru navy base.Nov 27, 2018
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The brick park has been used as a backdrop in Japanese movies. Nov 27, 2018
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This part of the park had buildings owned by the Japanese government. Not open to the public.Nov 27, 2018
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Brick Building No. 5 had rails.Nov 27, 2018
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Inside Brick Building No. 5 (赤れんが5号棟), the park's largest building. Built in 1918 to store torpedoes, depth charges, and mines. After the war, it was used by a warehouse company.Now used as an event hall and cafe space (cafe open only on weekends). It can be rented to hold exhibitions or events (concerts, weddings, etc.). It has been reinforced with these steel girders for earthquake resistance. National Important Cultural Property.Nov 27, 2018
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During World War II, the brick buildings were painted black to make them less noticeable. The black paint still remains here and there. Amazing that these buildings have survived. Maizuru's weapons factories and navy base got heavily bombed by American planes in July 1945, but not this arsenal.Nov 27, 2018
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