Road Trip on Kyoto Tango Railway (Part 1)
This week's trip features a bridge connected to the movie "Spirited Away", a pastry shop selling sake-flavoured desserts and a hotel with great views of famous scenic attraction Amanohashidate.
Our next two-day train trip takes place along Kyoto Tango Railway’s Miyamai and Miyatoyo lines. We will travel from Maizuru in Kyoto Prefecture to Toyooka in Hyogo Prefecture, covering a distance of 83.6km across 19 stations. Our journey starts from Maizuru, a port city facing the Sea of Japan. At Nishi-Maizuru Station, we first buy a two-day pass before travelling on the Miyamai Line to the neighbouring station, Shisho. After riding the train for five minutes, we arrive at around 9.45am.
A local here recommends we visit the Toretore Centre at Maizuru Port. It is a large fish market, where various seafood items from the Sea of Japan are sold. One can buy fish, get it cooked and eat it at the market. As it is the crab season, we try a freshly boiled Maizuru snow crab. We also get to taste some rarely caught shrimps, which are sweet and flavourful.
After this, we catch the 11.45am train from Nishi-Maizuru Station and ask a passenger for recommendations. He suggests we alight at Tango-Yura Station to check out the Yuragawa Bridge. It stretches across the mouth of the Yura River. Our train arrives at Tango-Yura at 12pm and we walk to the bridge. People say that the way trains cross the bridge resembles a scene from Hayao Miyazaki’s famous movie “Spirited Away” - the trains look as if they are running on the water’s surface.
After watching a blue train travel across the bridge, which is popular among railway enthusiasts and fans of the movie, we explore the area. We meet a group of elderly folks at a community centre near the port. We ask them about eateries where we can have lunch. They mention reservation-only restaurants such as Pension and Kaku. One of them suggests Hakurei Shuzo, a sake brewery which also runs a pastry shop called Hakureisya. The latter is popular for sweets which contain the great flavours of Japanese sake, sake lees and other unique ingredients from the brewery. We buy the recommended sweet sake pudding and the Hakuei roll, which uses sake made with yuzu.
Our next destination is Miyazu Station, where the Miyamai Line connects to the Miyatoyo Line. While waiting for the 1.55pm train, we speak to a resident. We are told about Osakana Kitchen, located next to the Magokoroichi market in the town centre. We arrive at Miyazu Station after a 10-minute ride. We walk to Osakana Kitchen, which comprises a fish shop and a cafe. We can choose whichever fish we want and create our own original seafood rice bowl here. We choose squid, sea bream, tilefish and marinated tuna for our rice bowl.
We then travel by train along the Miyatoyo Line from Miyazu Station to Amanohashidate Station. A local we speak to suggests we stay at the Amanohashidate Hotel. It has more than 50 rooms and a night’s stay with two meals costs around 32,400 yen. This Western-style hotel also has traditional Japanese rooms with tatami mats. The suites come with their own open-air baths from where one can see Amanohashidate, ranked as having one of Japan’s three most scenic views.
As we checked into the hotel quite late, dinner is not provided so we have to find a restaurant. A resident recommends we try our luck at either Mamaya or an eatery named 310. But much to our dismay, both are closed.
1) Fans of Hayao Miyazaki’s film “Spirited Away” should visit the Yuragawa Bridge near Tango-Yura Station
2) Amanohashidate is a must-see tourist attraction when travelling on the Miyatoyo Line