The crowd at Amanohashidate is thicker than I'd anticipated, even for the start of the o-Bon holidays. I'd come here to see the Kyoto beyond Kyoto. That is, to see some of what Kyoto has to offer aside from the city itself.

I start in the north of the prefecture at Amanohashidate, one of the Nihon Sankei (three scenic views of Japan), that links the western shores of Miyazu Bay on the Sea of Japan and is the gateway to the Tango Peninsula beyond. On this sweltering day in early August, hoards of beachgoers revel on the undulating shoreline of Amanohashidate's eastern edge. Others stroll slowly beneath the pine trees while licking ice cream cones or snapping the occasional selfie. I only make it about a third of the way along the 3.6-kilometer-long sandbar before the sound of thunder greets me from the south. Examining the dark clouds, laden with rain, I grudgingly decide to turn back.

I make it to the monorail up Mount Myoken just as the clouds let loose. My luck continues, and the storm passes minutes before I climb aboard. We glide up the slope for seven minutes before reaching the diminutive amusement park Amanohashidate View Land. From here, Amanohashidate can be seen to extend out toward the horizon like a great green blade slicing through the bay. A steady breeze follows behind the retreating storm clouds.