Amanohashidateis one of the three famous sceneries. And today I move to a hotel in Kyoto. But how? With the loop line to Oosaka Eki. And then? I view on the board. Platform 4 in two minutes. I ask the conductor if this is the correct train. It is. Lucky. Then the next question: I only have 1 minute to change the train. Is this possible? The conductor says yes. The other train is wainting at the same platform (and is waiting for us). Wow. In Germany this would be unthinkable.
I arrive in Amanohashidate at 11:25 and no coin locker left. The tourist information suggests a souvenir shop. Practical. I can store my luggage (even the big bag) and have breakfast. Prefect Timing. It starts to rain. I order Asari-Don, a local specialty. Don is always rice plus egg plus X. And in this case X are clams. Delicious. No comparsion to Germany. And a beer from a local micro brew: Kölsch, yes with a “ö”.
I visit the small temple. Nothing fancy but really worth a visit. The ropeway brings me up to a viewing platform. The sandbank is not looking that long. I don’t know what I had expected. Because of the strong wind I cannot use the full zoom of the camera. There is also a small amusement park here for kinds. Really small.
I start the walk to the northern side. The travel guide says that there are more than 8000 pine trees. The sand bank is 200m wide and has a nice beack on the right side. The view reminds me a little bit of the baltic sea. On the left side the pines are close the the water line. The wind is coming from this side. Here it is stormy. On the right side is now wind at all. Both within 200m.
First sum up: Amanohashidate is nothing special. Of you are in this area, you can take a stop but it is not worth a 3 hour train ride. The sand bank may be unique but that is all.
On the northern side is a nice shrine. Behind it is a ropeway. At the top there is a viewing platform (again). There are some strange poles with a ring on top. A saw them on the other side too. Looks like you can buy some wooden plates and try to throw them thru the ring. I don’t know why. I book this thing in the category “fathomless Japan”.
There is a bus to temple. Shall I? Another 1100yen? Japense are the Ferengi of the planet earth. And the are successful. It would be stupid to go back without going the last mile. The bus is going uphill on a extremly winding and extremly narrow road. Koyasan flashback.
The temple was worth the money. Here at the top it is anowing a little bit. At the ropeway it was rain. This is snow line live. The temple is old and weathered. But this is its charme. Hundreds of lantern are hanging from the ceiling. Beautiful and impressiv. I only have a few minutes until the last bus is going back to the ropeway. I run. The driver is waiting for me. He stops. Because there is reason why this temple is mentioned in the guide. The pagode. I nearly missed it. I take some pictures. Next stop at the daimon. Just for me and a second tourist.
My rule to be always nice to the UPS guy, is also applicable for japanese bus driver and conductors. I talked to the driver at the ropeway station. Asked him, if the temple is worth the trip and if the remaining time of 20 minutes is enough. He said, that this is ok. He recognized me while I was running to the bus and also saw that I missed the pagoda.
To save some money I walk back to the southern side. Dinner at the souvenir shop. Udon. I don’t have to pay for storing my luaggage. Maybe because I visit the resto twice. The concept is working: You store your luaggage and maybe you visit the resto or buy some souvenirs. It is working for me. I saved 600yen for the coin locker *).
The express ends in Kyoto. The famous central hall is 10 stories high. At the bottom of the big stairway is a Xmas tree. I takes some time to find the north-south-passage. It is not easy to find the south exit. After that it is also not easy to find the hotel. Where is it? I check all streets and side alleys. Then I see the entrance. A small door and two elevators. That is all. The reception desk is in 3F.
Btw.. Internet! I am back online after three days without network. Sorry for this break. Pictures will follow within the next days.
*) If you are in Japan and cannot find a coin locker – this happened to me several times before – ask the tourist information or the station staff. Before the rise of the coin lockers many shops close to the station offered storage space for a small fee. For the shops this was an additional customer and some money. This old tradition is still existing today in some places. My advice: In a small town ask for a store with a storage service. In the worst case you spend the same money than on a coin locker. But usually you get some additional information that are not mentioned in the guide. Only disadvantage: The closing time of the shop. — On this trip I did this three more times. In Inuyama, Kisofukushima and Fukui. In Inuyama I placed my bag in the office of the train station because there was no locker of the right size. In Kisofukushima were no locker at all. In Fukui I could store my stuff in in the bus station office for my short trip to Eihei-ji.]