Enjoy the naturally formed gorge with vivid autumn foliage from the ropeway or whilst hiking on the trail in Kankakei gorge!
Kankakei gorge（寒霞渓）is ranked as one of the three most beautiful gorges in Japan, and it’s located on the biggest island of Kagawa prefecture called “Shodoshima”.（小豆島）
It’s situated on the slopes of the 816 meter’s Mount Hoshigajo (2677.17 feet), the highest mountain in Kagawa prefecture.
The gorge has been formed by its crustal change and natural erosion by wind and water for over 2 million years.
The best season for autumn foliage is usually the first and second week of November, that’s also when I went there.
Not only can you enjoy the seasonal views from the top of the mountain, but also there are great trails for hiking in Kankakei Gorge.
Let’s get started!
How to get to Kankakei Gorge :
Shodoshima is only accessible by ferry and the nearest port from Kankakei gorge is Kusakabe port.（草壁港）
I got on a ferry from Takamatsu port to Kusakabe port. It took about one hour to get to Kusakabe port.
The ferry fare is 690 yen for adults and 350 yen for children — the prices are for a single ticket.
The local bus to Kankakei
Once you arrived in the port, it’s easy to find the bus stop, which is on the opposite side of the ferry terminal.
When it’s busy, just follow the crowd, you’ll find the line for the bus.
In the high season, you may have to wait in line, but they run extra buses if it’s getting so busy, so you might not have to wait too long to get on the bus.
The first ropeway station called “Ko-untei”
In a high season like autumn, the place is filled with lots of tourists from all over the country and foreign tourists as well.
At the first ropeway station – “Ko-untei”（紅雲亭）, you see the trees are already full of colors all around you.
I didn’t wanna wait in line for an hour at the ropeway station and I knew that If I took the hiking trail by the station, it would only take one hour to get to the summit, so I decided to take the hiking trail…
The mountain is relatively steep and mostly uphill, but it’s only a one hour hike.
You get to see cliffs peaking their heads out of the woods from time to time, so the trail won’t make you feel bored.
How about making it a nice picnic?
To be honest, it was so crowded when I was on the summit and the food there was no better than one on the island or a food court in a mall….
So, it would be a great idea to make it a picnic before making your way up to the summit with a lunch box and some drinks.
There are lots of seats on the summit, so you can have your lunch while enjoying the panoramic view of the gorge.
There are a couple of supermarkets and gift shops selling local specialties around Takamatsu port.
Make sure you buy food and drinks to bring for a picnic.
It’s also a great way to burn your carbs that you piled up during your trip in Japan.
The sky is usually covered with lots of trees, but…
Here is another cliff coming out of the woods. The hiking trail keeps you entertained along the way.
You would also see lots of families enjoying the autumn foliage like the family in this picture.
A stone monument at one of the observation decks on the Summit.
Kankakei gorge is within the Seto-naikai national park.
The panoramic view on the Seto Inland Sea and Shodoshima.
The contrast of the colors is beautiful.
The very deep color lasts only for a week or so…
A rest space at one of the observation decks.
The ropeway station at the summit.
Make sure you buy the tickets first and get a number indicating your departure.
Wait until your number is called/shown on the panel while exploring something good in a gift shop nearby.
Up to 40 people can fit into the car .
The view from the ropeway on the way down.
The views from the ropeway is breathtaking: the bare cliffs and autumn foliage creates a stunning contrast.
General Information of the Ropeway :
Operating hours: 8:00am – 5:00pm(open all year round ) The opening and closing times may vary slightly depending on the season. The ropeway usually runs every 12 minutes, and every 6 minutes when it’s busy.
Fare: One way ticket – Adults 980 yen, Children under 13, 490 yen. Return Ticket – Adults 1760 yen, Children under 13, 880 yen.