Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Shikoku Autumn 2014 四国秋季之旅 - Kankakei 寒霞渓

Visited 15.11.2014 (Sat)

Greeted by autumn foliage at Kountei. 
Top 3 in Japan. First attraction we visited in Shodoshima. Kankakei is ranked as one of Japan's three most beautiful gorges because of its mesmerising colour transformation in autumn. There are two ways to explore this gorge: either by the physical demanding trekking courses or by the more time efficient ropeway. Chose the latter option because of time constraint. Later, I found out that there are two trekking courses (outer 12 views 表12景 and inner 8 views 裏8景) that visitors can embark on to unveil the beauty of Kankakei. Each course takes more than a hour to complete and both courses end at the same place (Sankasa Enchi 三笠園地), which is about 612 m above sea level. The highest point on this island is at Hoshikejo (星ヶ城), standing at 817 m above sea level, and it takes another an hour to reach the final destination. On the day of our visit, the bus departing from Kusakabe Port for Kountei was fully packed with people, all making their way to Kankakei to admire the autumn foliage. Fortunately, it seemed that additional buses were arranged in consideration of the peak period and we were able to squeeze onto the following bus.

Accompanied by beautiful scenery while on board the ropeway to summit.
Accompanied by beautiful scenery while on board the ropeway to summit.
Despite choosing the easier way out, I am equally captivated by the beautiful landscape throughout the ropeway journey. The picturesque view of natural rock formations covered with lush vegetation which turned into different shades of red during the autumn season made me lost for words. Two observatories are located beside the ropeway station at the summit and both provide breathtaking overview of Shodoshima and Seto Inland Sea. Spent less than an hour or so at the summit, shuffling from one observatory to another and admiring the gorgeous colours exhibited by numerous maple trees planted in the surroundings before we descended the gorge via ropeway to catch the connecting bus. Kankakei is definitely a place not to be missed especially if you plan to visit Shodoshima in autumn.

Second observatory.
Did you notice a hoop at the left of the picture? One activity that many visitors will engage in - purchase a stack of clay disks and attempt to throw it through the hoop. Not an easy feat. 
One of my favourite pictures taken at Kankakei. 
Seto Inland Sea viewed from First observatory.

Waited for the descending ropeway.
A surprise guest met during the ropeway ride!

Kankakei 寒霞渓
Ropeway: http://www.kankakei.co.jp/ropeway.html
Fee = 1,350 yen (round trip); Present this coupon to get a 10% discount off the ropeway fare.
Operating hours: 0830 - 1700 hrs on most days; Do confirm the operating hours on their web page.

How to get there?

(1) Shodoshima Olive Bus
From Kusakabe Port (草壁港), take Kamigakaru line (神懸線) and alight at the terminus stop, Kountei (紅雲亭). From here, start the ascend via "outer 12 view" route or take the ropeway to the summit.
Bus schedule: http://www.shodoshima-olive-bus.com/course.html


Video (1): Scroll to 12:55 for 玩乐志's feature on Kankakei. 

Video (2): Scroll to 1:05 for Go Go Japan's feature on Kankatei.

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