Road Trip on Tango Railway Line (Part 2)

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Road Trip on Tango Railway Line


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Road Trip on Tango Railway Line (Part 2)

We continue our two-day trip on the Kyoto Tango Railway, which comprises the Miyatoyo and Miyamai lines. At the end of the first day, we stay at the traditional-style inn Satake. For dinner, we feast on Matsuba crab, sashimi and crab shabu-shabu.

The next day, from Amino Station, we take the train to Yosano Station, which is three stops ahead. Yosano is said to be the birthplace of the Tango chirimen fabric. In the Edo period, a local craftsman put a unique twist on techniques learned at Nishijin in Kyoto and popularised Tango chirimen as a high-class textile.

A local resident tells us about the Tango Chirimen History Museum in Iwaya, Yosanocho and offers to drive us there. We reach the place after a 10-minute drive and meet the museum’s director. Admission to the museum, which attracts about 40,000 visitors annually, is free. Following the Meiji Restoration, the government encouraged the production of silk textiles. A factory was established in 1905 and it was a major producer of silk textiles in the Kyoto region. In 2000, the factory closed due to a fall in demand and this museum was opened on the former grounds of the factory. Nearly a third of the 10,000 products on display and for sale in a shop here were weaved on the looms that are still in operation today.

We ask the museum’s president for recommendations and he suggests we go to Itoi Manju. He drives us to the Japanese confectionery which has been a family-run business since 1948. The green manju is its signature item. The locals love this addictive treat which consists of paste made from Hokkaido green beans which is wrapped in dough with granulated sugar and then baked.

We head back to Yosano Station and take the train to Amanohashidate Station. A lady at the station recommends we go to the observation deck on a mountain, from where we can see Amanohashidate, one of the famous “Three Views of Japan”. She also suggests that we walk through the pine forest on Amanohashidate. We take a chairlift to the observation deck on Mt. Monju. Spanning 3.6km, Amanohashidate is a famous sandbar covered in over 8,000 pine trees. Tradition says you have to look at it upside down through your legs. We later walk through the pine forest where we come across the Shotenkyo Bridge that connects the sandbar to the mainland. There is also the Kaisenkyo or "revolving bridge", which rotates when a boat passes through.

We then go to another recommended attraction, the Isoshimizu Shrine. A famous spot here is a freshwater well which is on the list of "100 Famous Water Sources". This unusual well has fresh water despite being surrounded by the ocean. The Isoshimizu well has been mentioned in a poem by Izumi Shikibu, a famous poet during the Heian period. The Amanohashidate Shrine is located nearby; worshippers come here to pray for good luck in love matters.

After this, we take the train to Miyazu Station, where Kyoto Tango Railway’s Miyatoyo Line ends. The Miyamai Line starts from this station and ends at Nishi-Maizuru. We decide to take a special “tatami” sightseeing train which also goes to Nishi-Maizuru. We have an hour till the train departs at 2.35pm so we decide to have lunch in Miyazu. A resident tell us to try the handmade udon at Dondonya, which opened in 1981. The restaurant’s speciality is the akamoku udon, which uses seaweed cultivated in Yoro in Miyazu Bay. The dish also includes a generous helping of wakame seaweed. Another popular item is the roast pork fillet udon, which features thick slices of roasted pork.

We return to Miyazu Station and hop on the Tango Akamatsu sightseeing train, which makes a round-trip journey between Toyooka and Nishi-Maizuru daily. The train slows down while crossing the 550m-long Yura River Bridge so that passengers can enjoy the scenery. We arrive at Nishi-Maizuru Station after 45 minutes. Maizuru was a base for the Japanese Imperial Army before WWII. It is also famous as the setting for the classic hit song "Ganpeki no Haha". It is the final stop in our two-day journey on the Kyoto Tango Railway, during which we checked out 10 recommended tourist attractions.


1) The best way to view Amanohashidate is look at it upside down through your legs
2) A must-try delicacy in Miyazu is akamoku seaweed