Miyazu is a city in northern Kyoto Prefecture best known for one of the Three Views of Japan (日本三景, Nihon Sankei) – Amanohashidate. The 3.6 km long sandbar with the surrounding nature is considered one of Japan’s celebrated scenic sites. So it shouldn’t be a surprise if most Japanese want to this place at least once in their life. As this attraction is so popular amongst tourists, other spots nearby can be easily overlooked.
So below, we have chosen the top three attractions where you can make a detour to before Amanohashidate woos you over!
Kanabiki Falls (金引の滝)
The only waterfall in Kyoto Prefecture that was chosen to be one of the Top 100 Waterfalls in Japan is in Miyazu City! Although it isn’t particularly close to any train stations, it isn’t hard to get there either.
From the car park, it is around a 5 to 10-minute walk with a couple of small waterfalls along the way. Remember to put a 100 yen coin into the wooden donation box at the entrance of the promenade to help fund the ongoing maintenance of the spot.
Instead of having water falling from a cliff, Kanabiki Falls consists of water being split into two separate streams flowing down from a single large rock. The stream on the right is called “Odaki (男滝),” and “Medaki (女滝)” is the one on the left.
From a border aspect, apart from it being 40 meters tall and 20 meters wide, as pictured on the right, there is the Hakuryū no Taki Falls (白龍の滝) and Garyū no Taki Falls (臥龍の滝) at the downstream that you will see on the way up. They are collectively known as Kanabiki Falls.
With a shallow waterfall basin, Kanabiki Falls is the perfect location for you to escape the summer heat. Enjoy a quick shower by just simply standing underneath the waterfall!
How to Get to Kanabiki Falls
- From Kanabiki Falls, it is around:
- A 30-minute walk away from Miyazu Station (宮津駅)
- A 20-minute walk from Miyamura Station (宮村駅)
- From Roadside Station Kyoto by the Sea MIYAZU (道の駅 海の京都 宮津), the waterfall is around:
- 25-minute walk away
- 10-minute by rental bike
- You can also take a taxi from either Miyazu Station or Miyamura Station, which will cost around 1,000 yen
☛ The waterfall’s car park only has a capacity of around 10 cars
☛ The road leading to the waterfall’s car park is quite narrow, making it hard to drive through if there is another car coming from the opposite direction
☛ The car park is not free during peak season. Security guards will be assigned during that time
Shishizakiinari Shrine (獅子崎稲荷神社)
Apart from the two famous views of Amanohashidate (天橋立), the Hiryūkan (飛龍観), and the Shōryū-kan (昇龍観) from two of the observatory parks at the south and the north of the 3.6 km sandbar, there is also the Sesshū-kan (雪舟観) from the Amanohashidate Sesshū-kan Observatory Rest Area (天橋立雪舟観展望休憩所) at the top of Shishizakiinari Shrine.
But let’s talk about the pink flowers first!
The Rhododendron dilatatum is a type of azalea. From mid to late April, the plants that grow alongside the vermilion torii gate of the shrine would reach full bloom, making the scenery more adorable and lively!
Adorning the flowers should be able to make the 200 steps climb a bit more pleasant (´▽｀*).
Amanohashidate Sesshū-kan Observatory Rest Area (天橋立雪舟観展望休憩所)
At the end of the staircase, there is an observatory for a clear view of Miyazu Bay (宮津湾) and Amanohashidate, one of Japan’s Top Three Scenic Places.
The view from this observatory is referred to as the Sesshū-kan (雪舟観). Sesshū was a famous Japanese painter back in the Muromachi period (1336 to 1573) who painted an ink painting of Amanohashidate called Amanohashidate-zu (天橋立図).
Because the composition of the painting is similar to the scenery that you will get from the observatory, the view of the sandbar is named after Sesshū, and the observatory is called Amanohashidate Sesshū-kan Observatory Rest Area (天橋立雪舟観展望休憩所).
How to Get to Shishizakiinari Shrine
- From Miyazu Station (宮津駅), take the Tai Line (田井線) and get off at Shishizaki (獅子崎). Please refer to HERE for the service’s timetable
- Please note that services will be running on Friday, Monday, weekends, and public holidays only
- If you are driving, please note that the car park at the torii gate of the shrine only has a capacity of 2 normal-sized cars
Yuragawa Bridge (由良川橋梁)
Whether you are the cameraman trying to snap a photo of Yuragawa Bridge or a passenger in the train carriage, if the weather is good enough, you are guaranteed to get a couple of astounding images!
Yuragawa Bridge is a 550 meters reddish-brown colored bridge at the mouth of the Yura River (由良川橋梁). With a height of only three meters above the water surface, the trains on the bridge operated by Kyoto Tango Railway (京都丹後鉄道) are also known as the “train running in between the sky and the sea”.
Completed in 1924, the bridge used to be the essential infrastructure that enabled people living on either side of the riverbanks to travel by foot. Although it would be near impossible to trek across the bridge now, you can still board the single-carriage train to enjoy the surrounding scenery.
On one side, you have rice, mandarins, and olive fields with the magnificent mountains as a backdrop and an endless sea view on the other.
Kyoto Tango Railway (京都丹後鉄道)
Because there are no overhead wires, when the train is approaching the bridge, remember to head to the front for the amazing view of the train running on water!
Tip: The sightseeing trains Tango Kuromatsu-gō (丹後くろまつ号), Tango Akamatsu-gō (丹後あかまつ号), and Tango Aomotsu-gō (丹後あおまつ号) will cut down its speed as it runs through the Yuragawa Bridge. Refer to the timetable links below to see if any of the services fit into your schedule. For more information on whether a booking is required and how to book, please refer to their website HERE.
Enjoying What Yuragawa Bridge Has to Offer
Given that the Yuragawa Bridge is so close to the river, it is literally one of the closest things that resemble the train scene in Ghibli’s anime Spirited Away where Chihiro was on her way to see Zeniba to save Haku!
If you are keen on this experience, the bridge on the Miyamai Line (宮舞線) between Tango-Yura Station (丹後由良駅) and Tango-Kanzaki Station (丹後神崎駅).
From Kyoto or Osaka, take the JR trains to JR Nishimaizuru Station (西舞鶴駅) and change for the Kyoto Tango Railway. HERE is the timetable for the service. This part of the Miyamai Line is a great preface to one of Japan’s Top Three Scenic Places – Amanohashidate (天橋立).
If you are coming from Amanohashidate or Toyooka City, you might need to change trains at Miyazu Station (宮津駅). HERE is the timetable for trains departing from Miyazu Station. Please check with the station staff to see if you need to make a transit.
Tip: Get the JR Kansai WIDE Area Pass (5 Days) to save. A one-way trip from Kyoto to Amanohashidate costs 4,590 yen (2,300 yen for children). So a return trip will be almost the cost of the pass, costs 10,000 yen for adults (5,000 yen for children)! Get yours before you depart for Japan to save on tax through KLOOK!
Adorning Yuragawa Bridge from the Riverbank
If you got one of the train passes and have the extra time, you can get off at Tango-Yura Station for photos with both the bridge and the train.
Tip: The best photographic window is between 11 am and 2 pm.
Important: As the train is running on an hourly basis, remember to keep an eye at all times! Otherwise, you will wait for another hour if you narrowly missed the previous one.
Apart from taking photos from just below the Yuragawa Bridge, you can walk upstream to find a spot that gives you the best view of the bridge from afar.
One of the best spots is around the Yura Olive Momiji Park (由良オリーブもみじ公園), which is around a 25-minute walk from Tango-Yura Station. From the river bank close to the Statues of Anju and Zushio (安寿と厨子王像), you should be able to get a great photo of the bridge and the river/sea. And if you trek upwards a bit further, your photo should include the surrounding rural scenery.
Tip: As noted above, the sightseeing trains will pass through the bridge slower, allowing you more time for photography. Check the timetables above to plan a more relaxing photo session.
Ine Bay Funaya (伊根湾 舟屋)
Extend your exploration of Japan’s rural landscape from Amanohashidate to Ine Bay (伊根湾)! There is a quiet fishing village located in the northern part of the Tango Peninsula (丹後半島). Along Ine Bay, where the waves are calm, a unique townscape is formed by the type of private houses called Funaya (舟屋).
For centuries, as most of the population earned their living by fishing, the houses were built directly above the water surface. The lower level is a ship hangar where they park their boats/ships before they head upstairs to join their family.
For more information on how you can enjoy this fishing village, please refer to our article on Ine Bay Funaya!
Visit Amanohashidate for One of the Three Views of Japan
If you haven’t been to Amanohashidate for the celebrated view, you definitely should when coming to Miyazu!
Check out our article on Amanohashidate to find out why people are bending down over on the observatory and how the 5,000 pine trees can grow on the 3.6 km sandbar surrounded by seawater!