We meet up with our intrepid adventurers after a long day in Hiroshima. The next day we went to Sandankyo Gorge. It’s about an hour north of Hiroshima and known for beautiful canyon walls, clear blue water, and a bunch of waterfalls. The hiking map is here. While looking for the map I discovered there was a land slide just days after we were there and you can’t do the 12 kilometer (each way) hike any more. You can access it from several sides but can’t make it all the way through in one go. We parked half way through the trail and went in one direction, then back, then passed our starting point, went to the start of the trail, and then back again. It was a long but beautiful day.
The tunnel in the last picture was just tall enough for me to walk through standing normally. It was a little damp and surprisingly long. There were three tunnels total on the path.
Then there were waterfalls everywhere!
I loved this sign. It was on a path barely big enough to walk on two across, let alone drive a car.
We took a little boat ride through the canyon to one of the waterfalls. There was a guy who used a grid of strings attached to the walls to guide us down a very narrow canyon with water 10 feet deep where we could see the bottom of it. It was amazing. When we got to the waterfall, we were let off the boat to take photos. Brian told me to pose on a rock and I promptly slipped off of it into the water. Thankfully I was fine!
As we got off the second boat, we had to walk through a little cafe and restaurant. It was close to the end of the day, and I briefly marveled at the pretty spotted “Salmon Masu” or Cherry Salmon (because it appears when the cherry trees blossom) they had swimming in a tank. They also had a few on sticks roasting over a fire. So we look at the pretty fish swimming, and cross over a bridge to get back to the trail. As we almost reach the other side, we feel the bridge start to sway with someone running across it toward us. It was the guy from the restaurant, holding two smoked fish in hand. He offered them to us, no charge. Neither of us really like fish, but it was such a nice gesture that we finally took one of them. We didn’t really want to eat it whole, which we think we were supposed to, but we peeled off the skin and picked out the meat. It wasn’t so bad and made a great prop.
To end our day, we drove around the reservoir on the top of the canyon. We discovered we could drive across the dam! It was neat. It’s weird to see water so high on one side and a deep valley on the other.
The next day we set out to climb Hiko-san. It starts at a temple and then you wind up steep and rocky stairs, pretty much forever, through a lovely forrest. It’s a holy mountain and there are temples and shrines and carvings all the way up. It was wonderful! And steep.
Then you get to the top and there are two temple like large buildings. They were totally falling apart.
Brian has a theory that 50% of Japan is falling down, and sometimes it seems true. It’s amazing that on a holy mountain, the temple on the top is closed down and falling over.
It’s hard to believe but the way down was even steeper and less step like than the way up. We were swealtering, it was probably 80 degrees and it was not an easy hike. Every person we passed coming up this trail was in long sleeves and pants and didn’t have a drop of sweat on them. Except one guy, he was maybe 40, Japanese, and looked like we felt. He was dripping with sweat. We said hello and he proceeded to stop and talk with us for quite a while. When we were a little further along, we joked that he was obviously a tourist like us, as all the locals didn’t seem perturbed by the climb.
Further along an older Japanese man stopped to tell us all about the flowers on the side of the trail. I could only understand that he was talking about blue flowers but he was really enthusiastic about chatting with us, so we just stayed and looked interested for a while. It’s a funny thing about Japanese people, they talk to you until they are done talking, even if you don’t understand them. My impression of Americans is that they lose interest in people much sooner and won’t bother talking to people who don’t understand them. Although it can be frustrating not to understand people, I really love that the Japanese want to talk to me and want to show me more about Japan.
At the bottom of the mountain was another temple, with a lot of cows.
The trees were also blooming with wild lilac and wisteria. It was beautiful!
We had a wonderful lunch in a tiny town. I have no idea what I ate but I loved it.
After a late lunch we went to Yufu Dake, a large, used to be volcano, that has two peaks. As we started to climb people started to stop us to tell us it was cold on top or it would get dark too soon. We kept going. The clouds were coming in, the wind picked up, and eventually I gave up. I’m embarrassed to say it because it wasn’t a particularly hard climb, but in my defense we had done a long one earlier that day. Brian kept going and made it up both peaks but unfortunatly they were covered in cloud by the time he got up (the top right photo and bottom right are taken from the same place, the bottom one at the same time Brian messaged me to say he was on top).
The next day we went to Takachiho Gorge, another lovely deep gorge but much more touristy than our first. I wanted to ride a boat under a waterfall but the line was 3 hours long! How could you possibly wait three hours in the rain for a row boat ride?! Even I’m not that crazy.
Then there was another waterfall.
And we found yet another waterfall. It was in another canyon and there were waterfalls coming down several sides. It was lovely!
Then there was Aya Teruha Bridge, which spanned a large canyon but is a suspension bridge soley for pedestrians. Crazy. It was a long way down.
Our hotel for the night had a great warning on the sink, “Caution Hot Water”.
And so we have four more days to cover, but to try to make progress I’ll stop here!