Despite having only recently completed a fair hike of Ishizuchi and my legs screaming in protest, today I set off on the ferry to Shodoshima – the home of olives (in Japan) and one of Japan’s top three most beautiful gorges.
After arriving on the ferry I easily caught a bus up to the ropeway station in Kankakei gorge. But despite my complaining leg muscles, there was no way I was taking the ropeway on this trip, and I’m so glad I didn’t. The ‘hiking’ trail up the omotekakei (front gorge) from next to the ropeway station was only 2km, with a number of key ‘viewing points’ along the way, so that even though it was fairly steep, there was a lot of resting and photo taking. Less than an hour (including plenty of time taken with photo opportunities) and I was at the top, where I sat and had lunch before descending via the urakakei (back gorge), which takes you back to the Inotani bus stop – one stop below the ropeway station.
Though there was less to see on this route, I was surprised towards the end when I came across a shrine complex in a large grotto-type area, with the most magnificent Japanese maples I have ever seen. They were huge trees and in huge number, and the colours were unforgettable. Unfortunately, my camera and phone batteries had both run out just before reaching this area, so I was disappointed to not be able to capture the scale and brilliance of the scene other than in my mind.