With the Autumn leaves in bloom my father-in-law thought it would be nice to journey on up to the Sandankyo area the day after our wedding shenanigans had taken place. As part of the Western Chugoku Mountains Quasi-National Park this canyon is designated as a national place of scenic beauty and is considered one of the top 5 special valleys of scenic beauty and one of the top 100 scenic spots in Japan.
Sandankyo is about an hours drive from Hiroshima City and whilst the majority of the signs are only in Japanese, there is an English map available at the information desk at the main entrance. The whole area is fairly vast with many hiking courses ranging from five minutes to five hours which feature some fine picturesque spots including waterfalls, caves, streams, rocks, rapids, deep pools and the Autumn foliage.
The scenery reminded me of some of the places I went hiking on the south island of New Zealand and parts of Australia. Nearly all tourists here were local as I guess very few international visitors to Hiroshima venture too far from it’s major two sites. The benefit of me having a family here who know the area well and can take me to such little known gems like this.
The hiking course was all fairly easy but one still needs to concentrate as the paths are quite thin in places with sheer cliffs and gushing water alongside which you need to be aware of.
I didn’t know it at the time but our destination was Kurobuchi; an area 2.7 km away where we had to take a boat across the water amid a beautiful setting of tall standing cliffs and dark green waters. It took about 5o minutes to reach this place and the boat, propelled by an oar (pole?) rather than a motor, was a 500 yen return trip per person.
We had some lunch at the Kurobuchi Lodge. Oden and onigiri (rice balls) were on the menu in the tatami lunchroom and it’s not usual to mention the toilets but due to their location they’re worthy of a quick mention. They were situated across the gorge and could only be reached by a rope bridge and as I crossed it, ‘Indiana Jones & The Temple Of Doom‘ (1984) came to mind with images of Indy using his sword to cut the bridge in half.
Later that evening we went out to a rather expensive sushi restaurant; my first time to ever eat such food in a non-kaiten sushi (conveyor belt sushi) environment.