Amaharashi Beach, near Takaoka in Toyama Prefecture is a beauty spot long-celebrated for its view of the sea and Tateyama mountains.
Amaharashi Beach, Takaoka City, Toyama Prefecture 雨晴海岸 高岡市 富山県
Why don't we ride our horses together
to see the waves washing
the pristine beaches of Shibutani.
Otomo No Yakamochi, 746 A.D., Manyoshu, Book 17
Visiting Amaharashi Beach on a clear winter day offers a stunning view. Behind a small rocky islet close to the coast, on top of which a few weather-beaten pine trees edge out a living, you get a full view over Toyama Bay and right behind it, you can see the snow-covered mountains of the Tateyama Massif rise up more than 3000 meters.
It is a view so pure and so essentially Japanese that it has inspired poets from ancient times to the present day. The above poem celebrating the beach was written by Otomo No Yakamochi in the year 746.
Amaharashi Beach on a clear winter day, Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture
Amaharashi Beach, Takaoka, Toyama
Amaharashi Beach History
Otomo no Yakamochi (718-785), a Nara Period government official, was born near the Amaharashi coast and he wrote many poems about the area of his upbringing, some of which he included in the Manyoshu, the earliest Japanese poetry anthology, partly edited by Otomo and completed in about 759.
In Otomo's time, the beach was known as Shibutani Beach.
The beach got its current name from a legendary though a rather minor incident in the year 1187 when tragic warrior Minamoto no Yoshitsune (1159-1189) hid in the cave under a rock right on the coast to wait for a rainstorm to end.
Yoshitsune was the younger brother of Minamoto no Yoritomo, the founder of the Kamakura shogunate (1129-1333). Though a warrior fiercely dedicated to his clan and his elder brother, he was later betrayed and according to some sources, forced to commit seppuku (suicide by disembowelment).
Amaharashi translates as "rain clearing" and the rock under which Yoshitsune hid is today known as Yoshitsune Rock (Yoshitsune iwa). A shrine celebrating Yoshitsune has been built on top of the rock. The cave underneath the rock in which Yoshitsune waited out the rainstorm, is still open to the public. Indeed, it's a fine place to wait out the rain.
View to Amaharashi from a Himi Line Train
Amaharashi Beach with Himi Line Train, Takaoka, Toyama
Modern times entered the area with the opening of the railway line from Takaoka to Himi in 1912. In fact, the railway line with its cute red trains adds to the beauty of the area. Technology and nature make a perfect match here.
The railway line, known as the Himi Line today, is very scenic and offers great views over Toyama Bay.
The train line terminates in Himi, an old fishing town situated right at the southeastern end of the Noto Peninsula.
Amaharashi Station is a tiny, historical wooden local station and it allows direct access to the beach.
The station master sells not only train tickets but also postcards and calendars with images of the Amaharashi coast.
Yoshitsune Rock and shrine with level crossing in front
It takes about five minutes to walk from the station to Yoshitsune Rock and the beach below it. These are the best points to fully enjoy the beauty of Amaharashi.
The railway line follows the coast but is a little above the actual beach. Above the railway line is Highway 415 which from its somewhat elevated position also offers excellent views over the bay. Parking is available at the best viewpoints.
Amaharashi Beach is very popular for its sunrises. On clear days, you can see the sun coming up right behind the Tateyama mountains on the other side of the bay. It's a spectacular view. On New Year's mornings, many people will gather at the beach to greet the first sunrise of the year.
Amaharashi Beach on a cloudy winter day
Access - how to get to Amaharashi Beach
By train from Tokyo: take the JR Hokuriku Shinkansen to Shin-Takaoka Station, change to the JR Johana Line, go to Takaoka Station (a 3 minute ride), change to the JR Himi Line, get off at Amaharashi Station.
By car: take Highway 415 from Takaoka in the direction of Himi.
From Toyama city. Shin-Takaoka Station is just 8 minutes from Toyama Station by Hokuriku Shinkansen. Alternatively Takaoka Station is 17 minutes on an Ainokaze Toyama Railway train from Toyama Station.
A Himi Line Train, Takaoka, Toyama