Kyoto, once the capital of Japan, is now a place filled with historical relics and a hotspot for tourists from all around the world.
With its beautiful aesthetics mixed with Japanese history, it is not a place to be missed! A trip to Kyoto is never complete if you do not visit its temples, shrines, numerous gardens and the palace. Events like the Gion Matsuri are big festivals to catch when you are there and are precisely the reasons for visiting Kyoto during summer. However, it is not just the city area that should have your attention. Let us look at the different side of Kyoto!
Some of the most famous beaches in Japan can be found here in the Kansai region! Kyotango,Ine, Amanohashidate, and Maizuru will be where you would want to go!
Now look to your left and then to your right. The only thing you can see is pure white sands and the beautiful endless blue sea.
Amazingly, there are more than 10 beaches here in Kyotango alone. One of the popular beaches here is the Kotohikihama Kakezu beach. It is well known for its crystal-clear water. In an effort to keep the sea, the beach side, and trees free from pollution, it was one of the very first few to be designated as a non-smoking beach in the world.
Address: Amino-cho Kakezu, Kyotango City, Kyoto Prefecture
Access: After getting off the Amino Station on the Miyafuku Line, there is a bus running from Amino Station bus stop to Kotohikihama. The bus ride is about 15 minutes long and it will take you just about another 15 minutes to walk to the beach from the bus stop.
Ine is a charming fishing town located around the Ine Bay. This area makes up about 25% of all the fishes caught in Kyoto!
But that is not what we are here for. The town is unique for its Funayas (meaning boathouses). The first floors of the buildings are usually a garage for boats, while the second floors are the living quarters of the residents. There are currently about 200 of them and some of them are open for rent overnight. Two types of boat tours are available for you to choose from; one that brings you around the bay with a sightseeing boat, or the other with small sea taxis operated by the local fishermen (the latter being more expensive usually). The area is, in fact, quite big, but do not worry as they have rental bicycles for you to tour around more efficiently.
Since this is a fishing town, the seafood is irresistible and you should never miss out on such fresh harvest!
Access: As there are no train stations in Ine, you will need to alight at Amanohasidate Station on the Miyafuku Line from Kyoto Station. From here, there is an hourly bus service that will bring you to Ine. There is another stop near the Motoise Kono Shrine. Most buses will first make a stop at the cruise ship pier (Inewan Meguri / Hide) and followed by Ine bus stop at the center of Ine. It costs you around 400 yen for each trip and the journey is about an hour long.
Among all the amazing sceneries in Japan, there are three breathtaking and magnificent ones called the “Three Best Scenic Views of Japan”, which are Matsushima, Miyajima and Amanohashidate.
On a side note, before heading back to Kyoto. Let us take a quick look at the Matsushima and Miyajima islands. The Matsushima (literally “pine islands”) Bay is filled with over 200 tiny islands which are covered with pine trees. Every day, many sightseeing cruises go round the bay and they usually cost from around 1,000 yen to 1,500 yen.
Miyajima (or Itsukushima) has long been regarded as an Island of Gods in Hiroshima. It is a beautiful island filled with its numerous shrines, temples and historical festivals. Perhaps one of the most famous pieces of relic here is the “floating” Torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine which is listed as a UNESCO world heritage.
As it is located right here in Kyoto, Amanohashidate (meaning bridge to the heaven) is our main hotspot for today! The thin strip of sand bar connects both shores of Miyazu Bay and is about 3.6km long. You can view this from either side of the mountains.
The Amanohashidate Sandbar would look like a pathway between the heaven and earth especially during sunset when the sunlight gets reflected on the seawater. .It is rare to have temples and historical sites so close to nature beauty and of such scales, which makes this a must-go on our list.
This is a bay area in the northern Kyoto that faces the San’in Kaigan Geopark. Here, you will be able to enjoy the beach and hot springs, and find great places to take photos.
Has the beauty of the sea kept you captivated for too long and now it is too late to get back? Do not worry because there are many hotels and Ryokans in the vicinity for you to choose from. The open-air hot springs here are said to have slightly higher viscosity but better beautifying effects. Once you are done with your bath, delicious Japanese cuisines prepared by the Ryokans will be waiting for to fill your stomach.
San’in Kaigan Geopark was designated as a Japanese Geopark by the Japan Geopark Committee in December 2008. Come to Yuhigaura beach if you want to enjoy a romantic evening with a fantastic golden reflection from the sea. There are not many places where you can enjoy such natural beauty.
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