The Dangyokei gorge is a spectacular natural beauty spot in Ohnan in Shimane Prefecture with great access.
The Nigori-gawa River [濁川], that runs into the Gō-no-kawa River [江の川] has carved beautiful smooth slots through a wide, flat expanse of rhyolite rock that sits between steep cliffs, dotted with waterfalls (24 by official count). The entire gorge is almost 4km long, but the area safely accessible by pathways extends a few hundred meters. The cool thing about Dangyo-kei, compared to places like Sandan-kyo Gorge, is that the flat rock formation allows you wander around the gorge itself and get right up close to the torrents of water that course through it. In one place there is a little bridge over which you can cross one of the slots, though my 13 year old son had a great time leaping rock to rock over gushing streams, treating it like a natural parkour playground.
Dangyo-kei was hit hard by the torrential rains of the summer of 2014, and was closed to the public for almost 2 years. It reopened in spring 2016 after extensive restoration work. At time of writing, the steps which provide access to the gorge and walkways along the edges are all in excellent condition, making it highly accessible and an excellent place to be awed by nature for people of all ages with a reasonable degree of fitness and mobility.
At the lower end of the gorge, where most people enter via the steps from the parking lot, there are toilets and and a picnicking area. Here, the river is more calm and it is an excellent spot for paddling and playing in the water. When in any part of the gorge, however, you should pay attention to changing weather conditions as sudden rises in river levels and flash floods are always possible.
During spring, the picnicking area turns pink with the blooms of many different varieties of cherry blossoms and in autumn the mountainsides turn red, yellow and orange as the leaves change.
There are no places to buy food at Dangyo-kei, but the gorge is only 9km away from the Kō+boku-no-mori herb garden around which are several eateries.
Location: Ibara, Ōnan-chō, Ōchi-gun, Shimane-ken
Location in Japanese: 〒696-0101 島根県邑智郡邑南町井原
Dangyo-kei is 30 minutes by car from the Mizuho Interchange on the Hamada Expressway. Turn left just before the Dangyo-kei Tunnel on Route 261.
The Hiroshima-Oda express bus that calls at Iwami Ginzan Siler Mine stops on Route 261 at Dangyo-kei, a few hundred meters from the gorge, twice a day in each direction. Visitors should be aware, however, that should the bus be full on the return trip they will not be able to board.
Hiroshima Shinkansen Station 10:00 14:55
Hiroshima Bus Center 10:15 15:10
Dangyokei 11:55 16:50
Iwami Ginzan 12:40 17:35
Oda Bus Center 13:07 18:02
Oda Bus Center 07:30 16:00
Iwami Ginzan 07:57 16:27
Dangyokei 08:42 17:12
Hiroshima Bus Center 10:22 18:52
Hiroshima Shinkansen Station 10:34 19:04
A limited number of Ohnan buses run to and from central Yakami (from where it is possible to catch a bus to the express bus stop at Mizuho Interchange) several times a day (though services are further reduced on weekends and holidays – check times here [ja pdf]).