Ok. So originally the plan was to stay in Kinosaki for 3 nights but the accomodation was only available for the first 2 so i needed to move after that. Wasnt a real issue cause i had planned to visit Amanohashidate anyway – it was close enough to get there easily from Kinosaki by train but far to have only a day visit – was well made decision to have a sleep there.
It was the most expensive Ryokan i stayed all over my visit – it was 10.000yen for one night and nobody spoke english there. Worth every penny – Jinpuso. I enjoyed a massive traditional room, didnt needed bathroom cause i pampered myself with a tiny private onsen pool which was built in the Ryokan (and met the first time ever an Australian lady inside). Also got not a simple ‘champion’s breakfast’ but a GOD’S FEAST for next day breakfast just before i left. But i should start at the beggining.
So my japanese friend and ex colleauge ChefMiki suggested me to go and see this place with its amazing name. Amanohashidate actually means ‘bridge to heaven’ , like a path between heaven and earth – if u see the place u understand the reason why. It is a pine covered sandbar that spans the mouth of Miyazu Bay in the scenic, coastal region of northern Kyoto Prefecture. Viewed from the mountains at either end of the bay, the scene has been admired for centuries and is ranked among Japan’s three most scenic views.
“most scenic view” – imagine the preassure i had to see this place but the weather forecast was just terrible with lots of clouds and rain. I wasnt happy at all and i started to stress out like crazy on the train getting there. Only because there is nothing else to see/do if the weather is f*cked – but if the weather is nice then the best place ever.
Arrived. And… u know what… sunshine! Freakin sunshine!!!! Could not believe it, so i was in a very hurry to leave my bag at the Ryokan (was difficult as no english around) so i could head to the top of the mountain with the funicular to see ‘the top view’. But for that i needed to cross first the sandbar – its pretty awesome. Like a wide path covered with pine trees and water both sides. To walk thru takes like 40 minutes – sun was coming and going and fighting with the clouds. Was checking the map for proper directions not to waste a single minute. Pretty straight forward – tourist shops and funicular station. U can choose if u want to take the ‘cabin’ or the free individual seats (im not sure but was around 300yen maybe). Was raining before so in case of bad weather the free swing chairs are not in use – but because the sun was around and i really wanted to take the free chair to get to the top – they actually let me sit in one of these cool swingy thing. Happy oh very happy. Trying to keep the balance holding the chairlift and also holding my go pro. Reaching the top. I won. Sunshine. Still. Clouds but sunshine. Mission complished – i did it, climb up, got the view and was very very happy.
For 20 minutes approx – and started to rain. Slowly but continously. I still wanted to take the free chairlift to the way down – i did need to use my umbrella (of course! in the Ryokan the old lady forced me to take an umbrella – i was so thankful). It was still around 3 in the afternoon so i picked one more interesting thing i wish to see – its the Amanohashidate Winery. Yes, a winery there.
On the map it didnt look that far away – in reality it took me like a good 50 minutes walk to get there – and the weather turned to be pretty shitty. Was raining heavily with lots of wind so the umbrella didnt really help me out. I wanted to turn back like 5 times on the way – u know when u feel miserable cause u soaked and cold… i did not. Kept going on and finally i found the place. Was very quiet – a big shop and museum. Tried some great fresh must and some winey chocolate, bought winegrapeseed tea and of course a small bottle of local red for dinner.
Weather didnt turn much better – but it was time to head back to my Ryokan on the other side of ‘the bridge’. Found a big supermarket so i picked a big sushi set* for dinner around 1000yen.
*footnote: when i mentioned before – u are in the island of Japan so sushi and sashimi is good and fresh quality everywhere. Unless u have spare money u can buy same good fish for 1000yen (in big supermarkets) in ready to eat plates instead of 5000yen – u can easily be charged in a restaurant.
By the time i actually got back to my Ryokan was just over. Over all, over wet, soaked, cold and miserable. So when i ve been told to use the onsen till 11pm… felt literally in heaven. It was not bigger than a luxury bathtub but was onsen and warm and calm with no stress… thats all i needed. And my biggest surprise was a lady who didnt mind to have a naked bath with me and a bit of a chat. Finally i did manage to say some words to someone on that day.
Open up your mouth…!