Amanohashidate is considered among the top three beautiful scenes in the country. For years I had been aware of this honour given to a spot somewhere within a short train ride from Osaka, but I had never bothered to go there. Then a colleague spoke of how fun it was to camp on the sandy white beach, drink local wine, listen to the crash of waves at night, and avoid being dragged off to the local police box for pitching a tent in a protected national park. Gee, I had to try that.

Amanohashidate is famous for its slender 3.6km sand bar that runs along the mouth of an inlets. From the peak of one of the nearby hills, if you bend over and look at the scene upside down through your legs, the serrated edge of the sand bar is supposed to have the appearance of stairways to heaven. Amanohashidate itself means “bridge to heaven”.

Located in northern Kyoto prefecture, it is easily accessed in two and a half hours by train from Osaka.

The area surrounding the train station is interesting on its own, and a walk along the length of the sand bar was lovely. As it was an October weekend, it wasn’t crowded, but surely there would be droves of people in the summer.

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