Oct 18, 2018 Attraction Yamagata District

Get Unrivalled Views of Sandankyo from the Kurobuchi and Sarutobi Ferries!

#Activity&Experience ,#Attraction ,#Autumn ,#Mountain&Gorge ,#Nature Hiking

Sandan-kyo (Sandan Gorge) in Akiota-cho is one of the most well-known secluded spots in Hiroshima where many people come to have fun while hiking or enjoying the hot springs.

Although there are many things you can do here, I would recommend taking ferry rides here where you can pass through the gaps between the rock walls and take in unrivalled and dynamic views of the gorge.

Read more about the ferries operating at Sandan-kyo and my experience of these rides in this article!

Let’s Hop on Sandankyo Ferry!

Sandan-kyo is one of the places included in the 100 Landscapes of Japan list where you can take a ferry to tour the gorge.

The Kurobuchi course allows you to see the fantastical views of clear streams and the majestic rock walls on both sides while you can see the two-tiered waterfall Nidantaki only if you take the Sarutobi course.

The views change according to the seasons thus offering you something new whenever you take the rides.

Take the Sarutobi Course to Explore the Untrodden!

This time, I took the Sarutobi course from the pier which is a 30-minute walk (1.5km) away from Mizunashi Exit. Even though it was daytime in the summer, it was rather dark along the way and somewhat chilly. Despite the physical exertion, it was great to be able to see the pier at the end of the walk.

Pay for your ticket, wear your life jacket and set off!

There are many ropes at the gorge so the guides pull on these in order to get the ferry moving.

During the ride, the guide will offer interesting introductions on key spots such as Nidantaki or Sarutobi which is a 20m-high rock wall where wild monkeys climb and jump on as if they are flying.
The place was named as such since Sarutobi means monkeys flying in Japanese.

As the ferry progressed, I reached the two-tiered waterfall where there is a landing spot next to it where you can admire the waterfall at a close distance. Although the name of this waterfall is Nidantaki, it used to be a one-tiered waterfall only.

About 30 years ago, the rock wall on the first tier collapsed thus resulting in the water falling into a waterfall basin first instead of straight down as you see it now.

As compared to the Kurobuchi course which allows you to visit spots that can also be accessed from the walking trail, the Sarutobi course offers unrivalled views of sights which cannot be seen elsewhere.

Although the journey to the pier is challenging, you will probably enjoy it more if you treat it like a leisure hike.

Limited Operating Periods for the Ferries!

The ferries operate during limited periods only so for a popular time such as the autumn foliage season (late October to late November), you may find yourself in a 3-hour-long queue for the Sarutobi course.

As there are only two ferries which can carry a maximum of 14 passengers, it is best to plan ahead and take into consideration the possible waiting time.

Take the Bus to Get to the Pier

If you are taking the Kurobuchi course, it will take you 50 minutes to walk from the main gate of Sandan-kyo at Nagabuchi to get to the pier.

Although there is a bus service to Nagabuchi, there is none going to the pier for the Sarutobi course.

If you are taking a bus to Sandankyo, you can take the regular minibus from the entrance of the Sarutobi course and head towards Nidantaki and Sandantaki.

Ferry Companies


Kurobuchi Ferry
Date Everyday 9:00am – 4:00pm
Address Shiwagi, Akiota-cho, Yamagata-gun, Hiroshima(map)
Closest Station 50 mins on the trail from Sandankyo bus stop
Website TripAdvisor
Ticket [Adults] Round Trip: ¥500
One-way: ¥300
[Children] Round Trip: ¥400
One-way: ¥200
*infants: Free


Sarutobi Ferry   
21 Apr (Sat) – 25 Nov (Sun) in 2018
10:00am – 3:00pm
Closed during winter
*Autumn foliage season operating every day
Address Shiwagi, Akiota-cho, Yamagata-gun, Hiroshima(map)
Closest Station Take minibus to Mizunashi Exit Parking Space
and walk for 30 mins on the trail
Website TripAdvisor
Ticket [Adults] Round Trip: ¥500
[Children] Round Trip: ¥300