One of the three most beautiful valleys in Japan – Kankakei in Shodoshima

Kankakei, listed as one of the most beautiful valleys in Japan with Mount Myogi in Gunma prefecture and Yabakei Oita prefecture, is a famous sightseeing spot in Shodoshima. In autumn, lots of tourists visit Shodoshima for its beautiful scenery composed of impressive rocks and red leaves.

IMGP4512Located between Mount Hoshigajo, the highest mount of Shodoshima, and Utsukushinohara Highlands, Kankakei presents different atmosphere through the year. Spring painted with fresh green, Summer and its contrast between the blue sky and the lush green of trees, fall and the nuances of red leaves, and winter and its white snows, there are the kinds of sceneries awaiting you along the season for each of your visit.

In the past, Kankakei was also called Kagikakeyama (鉤掛山) or Kankakeyama (神懸山), and was recorded in the Nihon Shoki, the oldest book of classical Japan history (written in 720), for its spectacular scenery.

In 1875, the famous Confucian scholar Hujisawa Nangaku, born in Sanuki province (Kagawa prefecture nowadays), named the valley Kankakei (寒霞溪) from the pronunciation of Kankake (神懸). From that time, many literatis named each special scenery they visited in Kankakei:  for example, Eboshiiwa (烏帽子岩), Tsutenso (通天窓), Taikigan (大亀岩).

There are in total 20 superb view spots in Kankakei valley, divided between the Front 12 views trail, on the left side, and the Back 8 views trail on the right side of the mountain.

To preserve the scenery and maintain the trail, local people found in 1898 the Kankakeyama Preservation Association.  The association also invites painters and journalists to present and represent the gorgeous scenery of Kankakei through paintings and articles.

In 1923, Kanakakei was listed as a National Sites of Natural Beauty under its name Kankakeyama (神懸山), and it was also included in the Setounaikai National Park in 1934.

If you drive from Tonosho port to Kankakei, it is recommended to use the prefectural road No. 27 which is also called Shodoshima skyline. From the road you can enjoy the boundless Setouchi Inland Sea and the gorgeous scenery of Kankakei at the same time.

img-mapPhoto credit: The official site of National Park Kankakei

If you would like to appreciate all the 20 views, we recommend you to start your journey from the 2-kilometer front trail located at the left side of the Kankakei Ropeway Kountei station. Once you arrive to the top, you can go downhill by the other 1.8-kilometer back trail.


IMGP4431However, if you would like to enjoy the superb view of Kankakei from the sky, the ropeway would be the best choice.

IMGP4444Riding the ropeway, you can appreciate the spectacular natural cliff with both green trees and red leaves in autumn.

DSC05598From the mountain top, you can lay back and enjoy the amazing view of the Setouchi Inland Sea.

IMGP4461Besides the beautiful overlooking panorama, lots of visitors take pictures with this heart-shaped tree.

DSC05548There are some stores selling delicious light food including Udon and hamburger on the summit of the mountain., It is charming to enjoy a meal with beautiful scenery. The Olive beef croquette hamburger and the Momiji cider which is made with extracts of red leaves are the special foods only served at Kankakei mountain top.

IMGP4458On the summit, there are two observation platforms. From platform No.1.  you can appreciate the Kankakei and Setouchi Inland Sea views. Besides enjoying the mountain view from the platform No.2, visitors also buy tiles and try to through it across the iron ring downhill to make their wishes come true.

IMGP4482There is a small 2.3-kilometer trail leading to the Mount Hoshigajo behind the mountain. This trail is not offering cliff views but a simple and relaxing walk in silence where you can enjoy the music of nature.

IMGP4485In autumn, red leaves paint a really beautiful and gorgeous picture of Kankakei. Maybe next time come to enjoy the beauty of the valley in different seasons, it will be great to visit the mountain in spring with sakura blooming or in summer when the green of nature is so vivid.


Access: Take 15-minute bus by Kankakei line from Shodoshima Kusakabe port to the final stop Kountei, then take the ropeway (5 minutes) or hike (1 hr) to the mountain top.

  • Address: 761-4433 香川県小豆郡小豆島神懸通168(山頂站)
  • Business hours:
  • Closed on: Open all year round
  • Ropeway ticket:
    Adult (above junior high school) JPY 1,050/ one-way, JPY 1,890/ round-way
    Children (elementary school) JPY 530/ one-way, JPY 950/ round-way
    One day pass:Adult JPY 2,700, Children JPY 1,400 (Not available in November)
  • TEL: +81-87-982-2171
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  • Wi-Fi: N/A
  • Language: Japanese
  • Credit card: N/A