Sandankyo is a spectacular natural wonder right on Hiroshima’s doorstep. Almost completely unknown to anyone other than local villagers until just over 100 years ago, stepping into the 16km gorge is like stepping back in time and a place where you can forget the worries of modern life.
One of the great things about Sandankyo is its accessibility. Unusual for these kinds of locations, there is a bus that drops you right at the start of the trail. The trail is well marked so there is next to no chance of getting lost and it is well maintained, making it suitable for walkers of all abilities.
All this means that if you are just happy to walk and take in the gorgeous views this is a perfect place for the independent traveler. If, however, you are looking for insights into the history, geology, flora and fauna of the gorge, you might like to consider using a trained guide.
The Sanken NPO [ja] was formed with the dual aims of spreading awareness and providing a deeper understanding of the gorge, all while protecting its environment.
Although Sanken’s guides are working on their English language skills, the number of English speaking guides is limited. If an English speaking guide isn’t available or you would just like some extra company and someone to ensure you get on the right bus etc, we recommend using a Hiroshima Travel Buddy.
Hiroshima Travel Buddy
Hiroshima Travel Buddies are open-minded locals who love to meet people from around the world and help them access the real Japan.
Your Hiroshima Travel Buddy will meet you at the bus station, help you buy your ticket and make sure you get on the right bus. En route they are happy to chat and answer any questions you might have about the world going by outside the window. It’s also a great chance to ask a real live Japanese person about anything that you’ve been wondering while traveling around Japan. There’s no guarantee they’ll know the answer, but you’ll certainly get an authentic opinion!
They will accompany you on your Sandankyo hike and help interpret the guide’s explanations and your questions. They will also help you in the local stores and restaurants. Once done they will accompany you on the return journey to Hiroshima. If you are tired, they’ll let you chill out, but are happy to chat if you are in the mood.