Sep 14, 2018 Attraction Yamagata District

Refreshed & Recharged – Trekking in Sandankyo Gorge

#Autumn ,#Hiking ,#Mountain&Gorge ,#Nature ,#Outdoor ,#River&Lake ,#Spring ,#Summer

The Sandandaki Waterfall.

Considered one of Japan’s top five scenic valleys, Sandankyo Gorge is the perfect place to come if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. 

It’s easy to forget the scale of Hiroshima Prefecture. Beyond the popular coastal cities and the islands of the Seto Inland Sea, Hiroshima stretches for miles inland. It extends over scenic rice paddies, verdant valleys and forested mountains for over 100 km to Mount Hiba in the north and the Chugoku Mountains in the west.

Sandankyo Gorge sits deep inside Hiroshima’s mountainous region of Akiota – an hour’s drive from Hiroshima City. The gorge extends for 16 kilometers, weaving its way through some of the region’s most idyllic natural scenery.

The path through Sandankyo is easy to follow.

The trekking route through Sandankyo is easy to follow. The concrete footpath will take you all the way to the Sandandaki waterfall – the goal for most walkers. It takes just over two hours to reach this picturesque three-tiered waterfall. For those who prefer a shorter hike, you can drive to the Mizunashi Parking Area halfway up the trail and set off from there.

The Nidandaki Waterfall

Sandankyo also boasts the Nidandaki – a two-tiered waterfall tucked away in a secluded basin accessible only by boat. The short journey to the waterfall through the narrow crevasse called Sarutobi (or “monkey jump”) is an experience in itself. As the boatman pulls the vessel through the thin gap in the rocks, the murmur of the waterfall slowly turns into a roar.

Some of the beautiful scenery you’ll see during the hike.

Hike for an hour from the entrance to Sandankyo and you’ll arrive at Kurobuchi. One of the many scenic spots you’ll encounter along the trail, Kurobuchi is famous for its tall cliffs and dark emerald green water.

On the far bank, you can have lunch and take a break at the Kurobuchi Lodge. You can access the lodge via a footbridge further down the trail, or take the small ferry boat. To call the ferry, just pull on the rope and wait for it to appear.

At Kurobuchi Lodge, they offer a number of dishes, but the most popular is ayu (sweetfish) caught locally and roasted on skewers around a fire pit.

 For those who want an extended stay in this peaceful setting, the charming Sandankyo Hotel next to the entrance provides comfortable accommodation and delicious meals. The rooms and the hot spring bath all overlook the gorge. Even if you’re planning a day trip, you can still use the hot spring bath at the Sandankyo Hotel for a mere ¥500.

The Sandankyo Hotel at the entrance to the gorge.

The most popular season to visit is autumn. People flock to the area to enjoy the autumn foliage. The whole valley turns into hues of brown, orange and gold, punctuated by the deep reds of the Japanese maples.

-People flock to Sandankyo in fall to enjoy the autumn leaves.

From June to October, you can also enjoy SUP excursions in the gorge. A new and exciting way to experience the ravine from a unique perspective.

Even if you don’t have a car, you can easily access Sandankyo by bus from central Hiroshima. For a day trip, it’s best to leave early in the morning. The Sandankyo Line Express leaves Hiroshima Bus Center at 8:18 am and arrives in Sandankyo just over an hour later. The return journey leaves Sandankyo at 3 pm and arrives at Hiroshima Bus Center at 4:20 pm. There are local buses, but the journeys will take two hours.

The shops in Sandankyo (and the trail itself) are usually shut from the end of November to the end of March due to heavy snow. But throughout the rest of the year, Sandankyo is a great place to come if you need a break from your travel schedule, or fancy stretching your legs in a pristine natural environment.


How to Access Sandankyo from Hiroshima City

Required Time: 1h15mins      Price:¥1,440

Hiroshima Bus Center

(Hiroshima Downtown)


Hiroshima Dentetsu Sandankyo Line

(bound for Sandankyo)