Amanohashidate is supposed to 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 and listen to the crash of waves at night, all the while antsy that they would be dragged off to the local police box and reprimanded for pitching a tent in a protected national park -- a definite no-no. Gee, I had to try that.
Amanohashidate's fame is for its slender, 3.6km sand bar that runs along the mouth of an inlet connecting its two ends. 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.
R and I had a fun time and we managed to avoid being reprimanded about anything. 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.
Amanohashidate is worth a full day's stay. The surrounding area is full of things to see and do.