I took a trip to Amanohashidate (天橋立） with some friends a few weekends ago. Amanohashidate is in Kyoto. It is considered one of the three most beautiful places in Japan. The big three “scenic spots” in Japan or, “Nihon Sankei”（日本三景） are, Matsushima (松島）in Sendai, Itsukushima or Miyajima(厳島） in Hiroshima, and here, Amanohashidate. I asked a Japanese friend if he really thought it was one of the most beautiful places in Japan, and he could only shrug. Personally though, I thought it was pretty nice… I have also been to Miyajima, which is also interesting with the Torii gate in the water.
We started our trip from Osaka extremely early, leaving in the middle of the night and driving all the way there. We arrived in time to see the sunrise. It was cold…
This area is most famous for the view you can get of the land bridge while looking between your legs in a bent-over-rear-in-the-air fashion… Check the picture.
People come from far and wide to bend over backwards from the specially designated view points to get a glimpse of this land bridge upside down. A friend of mine even turned her cell phone upside down and took a picture. (You could take the picture regularly and show your friends the phone upside down right??) Anyway… Not to be outdone… Behold.
This bending over backwards is called “matanozoki”. “Mata” 股 meaning “thigh” or… “crotch”, and “nozoki” meaning look. You can even buy some Matanozoki goods if you feel like it… I didn’t.
As for other Amanohashidate gimmicks… We have this Horse Omamori. Those good luck charms you can get at Japanese temples… This one is a horse, because it let’s everything “umakuiku” (うまくいく）. Which means, let everything “go well”. In Japanese, to say Horse, you say Uma（馬）… So… UMAkuiku. This style of humor may be familiar to those who read my Japanese Jokes entry I did so long ago. This joke isn’t of as high a quality as mine though. As you can plainly see.