Our stop after the tropics of Okinawa was Amanohasidate, which is one of top three scenic views in Japan. It a 3,3 kilometre long sandbank with approximately 7000 pine trees. Many people go to Amanohasidate to see the view of the sandbank from top of a mountain, as it appears like a road to heaven. Two hour drive or train ride away from Osaka, it’s quite easy to access.
Both locals and tourist stroll along the sandbank and admire the sea stars and jelly fish swimming about. There are also quite a few girls dressed as geishas around.
By the time we arrived to Amanohasidate, we’d been in Japan for a week. We’d been indulging in Japanese food for days.. sushi, ramen, miso soup, rice, seaweed pancakes, green tea and so forth. I’d never experienced it in my life, but I had become desperate to eat some plain solid bread. As it seems to happen in Japan, whenever you desire something, for example you’d need a taxi to pick you up or you can’t find a bin, so the shop keeper runs out from the shop to take your rubbish and dispose it, it somehow appears. As such, only a couple of houses away from our ryokan, we discovered the most amazing coffee shop in Japan – The Jou Jou cafe. There were fresh fruit juices, bagels, freshly made bread and muffins. And coffee.
Brother, sister and mother trio manage this little cafe. The coffee making skills have been acquired in San Francisco and the bread making skills have been learnt over years. I have never in my life enjoyed a ham, lettuce, egg and tomato sandwich as much as I did then. There was a note on the blackboard at the restaurant saying ‘We want to make a wonderful life for you with coffee and bread and we are always looking forward to seeing you.’ I could not have agreed less, that’s exactly what they did.
If you visit Amanohasidate by car, then a place worth to visit is Ine. Small fishing town, it’s full of ancient houses and men depending their livelihoods on fishing. We were welcomed by a grandfather with his grandson, showing us a photo of a huge tuna fish they had recently caught.