Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Amanohashidate Overnighter

Took a trip with Grecia to see one of 'Japan's Three Most Beautiful Views' - the sandbar of Amanohashidate, near the town of Miyazu in northern Kyoto prefecture. From Kyoto city a relatively simple ~135 km ride...

...but of course nothing is simple when it's in the high 30s, humid as the Devil's armpit and there is zero shade to be had while riding on hot, black asphalt.

Both of us were absolutely on our last legs by the time we finally reached our guesthouse in Miyazu. I don't think food and, more importantly, copious fluid has ever been consumed with more utter desperation than by the pair of us at that point.

Minshuku Kataoka - highly recommended, beautiful old Japanese guesthouse.

A soak in the a hot bath (while spraying our heads with cold water), a couple of good (and large!) meals and a night of quality sleep later, we were quite refreshed and ready to explore Amanohashidate the following day.

Sights included visits to Kono and (the rather lovely) Manai shrines, a ride along the Amanohashidate sandbar itself, a trip to the classic viewpoint in the south (more on that in a minute). Finally a visit to Chion shrine, where we scoffed some chie-no-mochi (rice cakes with sweet bean paste, rumoured to bring wisdom to those who eat them) and a big bowl of cold soba noodles with tempura (fresh local prawns - delicous!) before heading the station, packing up our bikes and making the lengthy train ride home.

Generous offerings to the gods on Amanohashidate sandbar:
5 Yen, a shell, a knife an a small bottle of classic Coke. Nice.
View along the sandbar towards southern Miyazu.

So, about that viewpoint...

To get the proper Amanohashidate experience, one is supposed to climb to a high point (or take the chairlift in our case...), put your back to the sandbar and bend over, viewing it between your legs - the name Amanohashidate roughly translates as "Bridge to Heaven", so use your imagination!

Cue a lot of people looking very silly indeed, but probably not as silly as those doing it in cycling gear.

Searching for the bridge to Heaven...
There it is, apparently!
The lazy man's way down (although surely not as lazy as the monorail)
Building an impromptu bike bag out of a 100 Yen bike cover and some string. It worked!

Lovely trip but now time for a rest day or two, I think!

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