Miyazu, a city in northern Kyoto Prefecture is 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 one of the celebrated scenic sites in Japan that most Japanese would love to visit at least once in their life. But when one attraction being so famous, other spots that have their special charm nearby can be easily overlooked.
So below we have chosen the top three attractions that you can make a detour to before Amanohashidate managed to woo 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 to either.
From the car park, it is around a 5 – 10 minutes hike 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 fund the ongoing maintenance of the spot.
Instead of water falling from a cliff, Kanabiki Falls has the water just split into two streams and flowing down from a big rock. The stream on the right is called “Odaki (男滝)” and “Medaki (女滝)” is the one at the left.
From a boarder aspect, apart from the 40 metres tall and 20 metres wide main waterfall in the picture, 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 also collectively known as Kanabiki Falls.
With a shallow waterfall basin, Kanabiki Falls is perfect to escape the summer heat that you can safely enjoy the natural shower of cool water by simply standing underneath the waterfall.
How to Get to Kanabiki Falls
- Kanabiki Falls is around
- A 30 mins’ walk away from Miyazu Station (宮津駅)
- A 20 mins’ 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
- 25 mins’ walk away
- 10 mins by rental bike
- You can also take a taxi from either Miyazu Station or Miyamura Station that 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 where security guards are assigned
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. Usually, from mid to late April, the plants that grow alongside the vermilion torii gate of the shrine reach full bloom that makes the scenery more adorable!
Adorning the flowers should make climbing up the 200 staircases an easier job to do (´▽｀*).
Amanohashidate Sesshū-kan Observatory Rest Area (天橋立雪舟観展望休憩所)
At the end of the staircases, there is an observatory for a clear view of the Miyazu Bay (宮津湾) and Amanohashidate, one of the Top Three Scenic Places in Japan.
The view from this observatory is referred to the Sesshū-kan (雪舟観). Sesshū is 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 the service is running on Friday, Monday, weekends and public holidays only
- If you are driving, please note 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 customer in the train carriage, if the weather is good, you are guaranteed to get a couple of astounding photos!
Yuragawa Bridge is a 550 metres reddish-brown coloured bridge at the mouth of the Yura River (由良川橋梁). With a height of only three metres above the water surface, the trains operated by Kyoto Tango Railway (京都丹後鉄道) that crosses the bridge on an hourly basis 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 enables people living on either side of the riverbanks travelling across the river by foot. Although now you can’t trek across the bridge, you can board that 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 the endless sea view on the other.
Kyoto Tango Railway (京都丹後鉄道)
Without the overhead wires, when the train is approaching the bridge, remember to head to the front of the train for the amazing view of your train running on the water!
Tips: 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 while it runs through the Yuragawa Bridge. Refer to the timetable links below to see if any of the services fit into your schedule and for more information about whether a booking is required and how to book, please refer to their website HERE.
Enjoying What Yuragawa Bridge Has to Offer
With the Yuragawa Bridge being so close to the river, the track looks like just being laid on the water surface that continues all its way to the other side of the river. It is literally one of the best places to experience 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 serves as a great preface to one of the Top Three Scenic Places in Japan – Amanohashidate (天橋立).
If you are coming from Amanohashidate or Toyooka city, you might need to change train 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.
Tips: 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 that costs 10,000 yen for adults (5,000 for children)! Get yours before you depart for Japan to save on tax through KLOOK!
Adorning Yuragawa Bridge from the Riverbank
Especially if you got one of the train passes, if you have time, you can get off at Tango-Yura Station for photos with both the bridge and the train.
Tips: 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 on the time so you won’t miss out on the next train coming.
Apart from taking photos from just below the Yuragawa Bridge. You can trek upstream and find the 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) that is around a 25 minutes’ 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 can get a great photo of the bridge and the river/sea. And if you track upwards a bit to the lookout in the park, your photo will include the surrounding rural scenery.
Tips: As we said above, the sightseeing trains pass through the bridge at a slower speed allowing you more time for photography. Check the timetables above in advance to plan for a more relaxing photo session.
Ine Bay Funaya (伊根湾 舟屋)
Extend your exploration of Japan’s rural landscape from the Amanohashidate to Ine Bay! Here, a quiet fishing village is located in the northern part of 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).
With the majority of the population earning their living by fishing since centuries ago, these houses here are built directly above the water surface. The lower level is a ship hangar where they park their boats/ships before they head upstairs to enjoy their families’ accompany.
A workshop is also usually located at the lower level for the fishermen to perform any necessary fish handling.
Ine Bay Sightseeing Ferry (伊根湾めぐり遊覧船) and Sea Taxi (海上タクシー)
At Ine, approximately 230 Funayas are surrounded the Ine Bay. As most of them are private houses, one of the recommended ways to take a closer look at these distinct houses is by taking either the Ine Bay Sightseeing Ferry or hire a Sea Taxi.
HERE is the difference between the two. Note that the price for the ferry has increased to 1,000 yen for adults.
Booking is not required and you can head directly to Ine-chō Information Centre when you arrive at Ine Town and the staff will sort out your ferry ticket or contact the sea taxi driver on your behalf.
Tips: If you are going to both Amanohashidate and Ine Town, consider getting one of the passes to save on transportation and admission fees for the cablecar/lifts and Ine Bay Sightseeing Ferry. HERE is the link to their English website for some of the passes. Another pass that you can consider is the Ine Kasamatsu Tourist Ticket (伊根傘松観光券). The ticket includes a return cablecar/lift trip to Amanohashidate Kasamatsu Park and Ine Bay Sightseeing Ferry. You will also get a discount on Nariaiji Temple Mountaineering Bus. For more information, please translate their Japanese website HERE by changing the language setting at the right of the address bar in Google Chrome.
Roadside Station Funayano-Sato Ine (道の駅 舟屋の里伊根)
From Funaya, if you trek your way up the hill, you should get to the roadside station in 20 minutes.
On a sunny day, your effort of making your way up will certainly not be wasted once you reach the lookout at the back of the roadside station. The view of the Ine Bay and the Funaya houses is just stunning. And if you come in the late afternoon, the scenery is even more fantastic with the sky dyed in red by the sun that is disappearing from the horizon!
Roadside Station Funayano-Sato Ine’s Opening Hours and Access Information
- The lookout is accessible 24/7
- The roadside station is actually part of the ryokan Aburaya (油屋). It is opened from 9 am to 5 pm except for Tuesdays. Whilst there are restaurants, there are no vegetarian menu
- Instead of hiking your way up, you can also take a bus from the town centre and get off at Michinoeki Funayanosato Ine (道の駅 舟屋の里伊根). Please refer to HERE for the timetable
Miyabi Ine Boathouse (伊根の舟屋 雅)
Miyabi Ine Boathouse is one of the places in town where you can find out what the interior of the Funaya can look like.
Renovated from a Funaya, it is now a Japanese-style cafe on the first floor. If the weather is warm, definitely see that outdoor seats are available for you to chill with Ine Bay’s astonishing view in front of you while their Japanese dessert and tea entertain your taste buds (^_-)-☆.
If you are looking for somewhere to stay overnight in town, you can book out their second floor to have a feel of what it is like living in one of these unique houses. For more information about staying at Miyabi Ine Boathouse, please refer to Ine Town’s website HERE.
Important: Please note dinner and breakfasts are not served by Miyabi Ine Boathouse.
Miyabi Ine Boathouse’s Business Hours and Access Information
- The cafe on the first floor is opened from 9 am to 5 pm daily but may close on Thursdays
- The boathouse is a 5 mins’ walk away from the bus stop – Ine (伊根)
Cycling the Ine Town and Surrounding Coastal Lines
If you are a bit of an adventure type of person and love cycling, you can rent one of the e-BIKEs from Ine-chō Information Centre and cycle along the coastal line to enjoy the magnificent Sea of Japan sceneries!
For example, the Kamaya Coast (カマヤ海岸) in the Instagram post is one of the most popular spots the attracts people throughout the country when they visit rural Kyoto.
Please refer to HERE for a bit more information about the e-Bike including rental cost and payment options.
If you would like to get a bit of guidance around the area, then consider booking one of the e-BIKE Cycling Guided Tour where your guide will share with you the town’s history and a few fun facts. You will be guided through the Funaya and cycling along the hilly roads for some wonderful views from various parts of Ine Bay.
For more information such as itinerary and cost, please refer to their website HERE.
Important: If you aren’t planning to cycle for the whole day, or are happy with non-electric assisted bicycles, there are free tourism bikes that you can rent at one of the five bicycle ports in Ine. HERE is the map of where those five ports are. As you can’t reserve these bikes, there are times where all of them are rent out.
Honjō Beach Sea Kayaking (本庄浜カヤック)
From mid-April until the end of September when the temperature isn’t freezing cold at Ina, you can sea kayak your way to explore the caves underneath the cliffs along the coastal line while adorning some of the most scenic landscapes in the area.
For more information about the activity and to book, please refer to the official website HERE.
Staying Overnight at Ine
One of the ways that you can explore the interior of the Funaya is by staying overnight at one of the inns. HERE is a list of the accommodations available in town (note not all of them are Funaya). The thing that you need to watch out for is many of them don’t provide dinner or breakfast. Without a convenient store in town and restaurants serving seafood dishes, it is best if you bring some bread with you.
Some of them such as Ine stay Tokiwa (伊根ステイ ときわ) do have microwaves, fridge, and kettle that you can use, making it possible to have an instant meal. A few of them such as WATERFRONT INN (与謝荘) may be able to cater to special dietary requests, but please check with them before you make a booking.
Tips: As many of the accommodations are hard to book if you don’t read/speak Japanese, you can contact Ine Tourist Information Centre by submitting a web form HERE. They should be able to make a booking on your behalf.
How to Get to Ine Bay by Public Transport
To get to Ine Bay, there are a couple of places that you can take the Tankai Bus in Amanohashidate. Depending on whether you are heading to Ine Bay first or after exploring Amanohashidate, your boarding stop will differ. HERE is the bus’s timetable for you to plan ahead.
Tips: Sometimes, the bus can be packed when it reaches the Amanohashidate Cable-shita (天橋立ケーブル下). So to get a seat, you can head to the stop before – Amanohashidate Motoise Kono-jinja Shrine (天橋立元伊勢籠神社) for a higher chance to get a seat.
You can also head straight to Ine Bay from Kyoto Tango Railway (京都丹後鉄道)’s Miyazu Station (宮津駅). HERE is the service’s timetable but only in Japanese. Please use the bus stop’s Japanese characters to read it.
Which Bus Stop to Get off at Ine
- If you are taking the Ine Bay Sightseeing Ferry/Sea Taxi, then get off at Inewanmeguri Hide (伊根湾めぐり ・ 日出)
- If you plan to just stroll around the town, then get off at Ine (伊根)
- If you have more time to spend at Ine, then you can consider getting off at Michinoeki Funayanosato Ine (道の駅 舟屋の里伊根) for a panorama view of Ine Bay and Funaya houses from a high hill then track back down to the town centre
Visit Amanohashidate for One of the Three Views of Japan
If you haven’t been to Amanohashidate for the celebrated view that most Japanese would love to visit at least once in their life, then you definitely should if you are coming to Miyazu!
Check out our article on Amanohashidate and find out why people are bending down on the observatory and how the 5,000 pine trees can grow on the 3.6 km sandbar surrounding by salting seawater!