Saturday, July 01, 2006

Sandan-kyo Valley

Hello all,

Well, I got up early this morning to start off a really busy day. I wanted to get up because I had to get the first bus to Hiroshima. I knew from looking last night that I would miss the first bus to Hagi, but I was pretty sure that I could make it to the second bus which would put me in Hagi early in the afternoon. It was 6:30 and I knew I had a bit of time to pack, and then make it to the bus stop sometime around 8. I packed one change of clothes and decided that I would check and see the exact time I had to be at the stop. I looked at the timetable I had from two weeks ago, and realized something very disappointing. Even if I took the first bus to Hiroshima, I would miss the bus for Hagi by 15 min. I would have to take the next bus and I wouldn’t get there till 7:20 pm and I would have missed out on an entire day. This was not good, but there was not too much I could do about it.

I got to the station, and decided that even though I didn’t really like the idea, I would have to go to Sandan-kyo Saturday instead of Sunday. The reason that I didn’t like this is because I had seen the coolest pictures of Omi-Jima (about 10 min from Hagi) at sunset. If I went tomorrow, I wouldn’t be able to stay till sunset, but I couldn’t lose the entire day. I found the bus for Sandan-kyo, and I only had to wait 45 minutes. I got on the bus and mad the two hour bus ride, while it was raining on and off the entire time. This weather made the bus ride very nice. The trip was through the mountains of Japan with the clouds and the fog surrounding the mountains. For the last part of the trip, the road ran next to the river. We finally got to the end of the line (my stop was the last one) and I got out and found a tiny town where probably only a few hundred people live, but not a person in sight. I finally found map with pictures and found the where I was compared to the waterfall. I got to the head of the trail, and found a sign with a circle with a line through it. I know that in the US that means don’t enter, but I couldn’t read the sign. I hoped it meant something else here and walked past it. I later found out that it said no cars beyond this point.


I started walking and I found that because of the rai

n, the river had been flowing much faster than it usually did. I was noise was almost deafening. It was a bit frightening because the little bar that was there to keep people from falling in, was about a foot tall, just tall enough to trip me, and if I would have fallen in, there would have been no way that I would have ever been able to swim in the river because it was flowing so fast. I would have been really fun if there was a raft though. They did have a boat that went to down the river, but the water was flowing to fast so it was closed for the day.


(picture of the valley)


Pretty soon, it was raining again, so I got to my umbrella out and kept going. After I had been walking for a short time, I came to the first waterfall. Usually, it was not too much to see(I could tell because only a small sign and not on all the maps), but now, due to the rain, it was quite beautiful. I kept walking and soon found some waterfalls that were not on the map, probably because they were only there when it was raining. I could tell because the water was flowing over the path. I made it quite far before the water started getting water in my shoes, but little by little my feet got more and more wet from the places where the water was flowing across the pass. After I had gone about 3.5 km (there were little signs along the way), I turned the corner and saw a large waterfall that that was completely covering the path. There was a small stone wall there so all the water was building up. I tried to edge around the side, but made it about a step before one foot sank in about 6 inches. I decided that I would have to turn around because I would have had to go about 100 m through the puddle before I got to the waterfall over the path, and then another 2 km and no telling how much water before I got to the actual Sandan-kyo Falls. (the last two pictures show the path covered with water)

I walked the 3.5 km back to the bus stop, and luckily the bus was going to come within 20 min. I had just enough time to squeeze my socks out and put them back on. I pulled out the timetable for the bus, and to my disappointment, the bus was going to get back to Hiroshima, 15 minutes after the last bus to Hagi left. I showed this to the bus driver and he confirmed this so I took my seat to try to come up with something else. After we had gone about ten minutes the bus driver stopped at a stop and ran back to me and grabbed the bus table from me. He jumped out and motioned for me to get off the bus. With a few had motions he managed to tell me, “If you get off here and wait for this bus, it will get back to Hiroshima in time and you will make if for the bus to Hagi.” I got on the right bus, but of course, I couldn’t leave well enough alone. I saw that the lady in front of me had a timetable for this route and I managed to explain to her that I wanted to see it, and found that there was another stop on this route that was in common with the bus to Tokuyama, where I could catch the bus to Hagi. I thought if I got off there, I could save some money and would have to make a bus change but I might be able to get to Hagi a bit sooner (I was supposed to check in to the hotel before 8 and the last bus didn’t get there till 9:24. I got off, and waited for the bus, not realizing that I was supposed to go to the other side of the expressway to catch the bus. A nice man that had missed his bus left, but then can and motioned for me to follow him and tried to explain it to me. I missed one bus, but there was another 20 minutes later, only later did I realize that I had left my umbrella where I had gotten off.

I made it to Tokuyama, and I tied to ask the bus driver where to catch the bus to Hagi and he motioned to the station. I walked local bus platform (where later found out is what the driver was pointing to), and walked into station. I asked a man that looked like he would know English, and he told me that I would have to hurry but I could still make it. He helped me get a ticket, and before I knew it I was showed to the train tracks. It turned out I was at the train station too and he thou

ght that I wanted to take the train. To make it worse, instead of one bus, I had to 3 local trains. One of the JR conductors wrote the name of all the stations where I had to change trains. I was very disappointed, because now, I was going not going to get to Hagi till 9:45, and I would have to go all though the hassle of the train changes. I forgot about all that when the train came out of the forest to where the tracks ran along the inland sea. The sunset was great, and I decided that I was not that bad. I started looking at the map to try to figure out where I was and figure out where I was going. I soon realized that one of the stops was at a station closer to Omi-Jima Island. I know that God had to be watching out for me because I never could have planned it that well.


I decided that I was going to try it and I got off at that station. The only problem was that I was in this small town at 9:15 and I had no idea where I could stay. I had only looked up hotels in Hagi. I asked the man at the ticket counter and he told me there was a hotel

right outside the station. I walked in and found the nicest lady that spoke very little English. I knew that she would be ok because of her shirt (she probably had no idea what “Rock Solid Republican” meant, but it made me smile). I found out that it was only 4,100 yen (about $35-$40), and the room was pretty nice. She managed to give me as much information as she could about Omi-Jima Island and I learned that the bridge was about a 30 minute walk, or I could take the bus after 8:00. On the way to showing me my room, the lady introduced me to another guest that was from the Philippines who spoke English very well as well as Japanese. After we all talked for a bit, and I had answered all their questions, I was showed to my room. I quickly took off the still wet socks and shoes, and took a quick shower before bed because I still want to make if for sunrise (or maybe a bit after, no DST so sunrise is at 5). That is all for now.


Till next time,


Josh


PS this was typed and posted after I returned to Hiroshima because I didn't have a computer or the internet in the motel.

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