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Region
Chugoku
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Matsue
Population
761,499

Mount Sanbe

Visit Mount Sanbe in autumn for the best views, natural hot springs and a fun day outdoors.

By Laura Payne

Rising dramatically from surrounding grasslands, Mount Sanbe is a “family” of ancient volcanic peaks, which include Osanbe (Man Sanbe), Mesanbe (Woman Sanbe), Kosanbe (Child Sanbe) and Magosanbe (Grandchild Sanbe). Osanbe reaches 1,126 meters above sea level, making it one of the tallest peaks in Shimane Prefecture. Locals and travelers alike visit Sanbe throughout the year to join a plethora of seasonal activities, including hiking, camping, hot spring bathing and autumn leaf viewing.

Mount Sanbe also plays an important role in Shimane’s creation mythology, making it a local cultural treasure.

Mythological Origins

Mount Sanbe

Photo by: iStock/ KS BioGeo They say the Shinto god Yatsukamizuomizunu formed Mount Sanbe

According to the Izumo no Kuni Fudoki (a record of regional geography, traditions and myths compiled in the 8th century), a god named Yatsukamizuomizunu formed Mount Sanbe. Believing the land of Izumo (what is now eastern Shimane) was too small, he pulled some unused land from the Korean Peninsula across the sea with ropes. He then fastened the new land to Izumo with stakes. These stakes became Mount Sanbe and Mount Daisen (in Tottori Prefecture). This story explains the shape of the Shimane Peninsula, which is connected to the prefecture by rope-like land bridges.

Mountain Climbing

Mount Sanbe

Photo by: iStock/KS BioGeo Mount Sanbe in autumn

Mount Sanbe maintains six climbing courses that vary in difficulty. The shortest is Himenogaike—a route to Osanbe’s summit that is recommended for beginners. The most challenging is the “traverse course,” which makes a loop around all of Sanbe’s peaks and is recommended for intermediate or advanced hikers.

The Higashinohara course is the most unique because it offers the option to scale part of the trail with a sightseeing chairlift. The observation area at the end of this trail treats visitors to a panoramic view of Sanbe and its surroundings.

Hot Springs and More

Mount Sanbe

Photo by: iStock/KS BioGeo Jump in one of the many sento available nearby.

After a day of hiking, you can recharge in one of the mineral-rich hot springs at Sanbe’s base. Sento (public baths frequented by local residents) like Kamenoyu and Tsurunoyu are recommended for day visitors who prefer casual settings. Hotels like Sanbeso, on the other hand, provide fancier facilities for day use or overnight accommodations.

Surrounding campgrounds are another popular option for overnight stays. Various accommodation styles such as tents and cabins are available, and pet-friendly sites welcome visitors with dogs. Campgrounds also provide convenient access to attractions such as Sahimel—an interactive nature museum that includes exhibits on Mount Sanbe’s flora, fauna and volcanic history.

Things To Know

Hiking and autumn foliage

More details about Mount Sanbe’s hiking trails, campgrounds, hot springs and other attractions can be found on the mountain’s official tourism website:https://www.ginzan-wm.jp/top_sanbe/ 

Autumn leaves can usually be viewed on and around the mountain from mid-October to mid-November. Certain sites at the base of the mountain can sometimes be viewed as late as early December.

Certain attractions such as the Higashinohara sightseeing chairlift (Open from April to November) are closed during the winter, so make sure to check the operating periods ahead of your visit.

Please do not take plants from the mountain. Mount Sanbe is part of a national park, and doing so without permission could result in punishment.

How To Get There

Address

By train

Take a train on the San’in Main Line to Odashi station. From there, hop on a bus on the Sanbe Sen (Sanbe Line). This bus stops near major attractions around the mountain such as Sanbeso Onsen Hotel and the museum Sahimel. Not every attraction is easily accessible by bus, so make sure to check the route ahead of time.

By car

For the greatest flexibility, you can rent a car in a major city such as Izumo and drive to Mount Sanbe. From Izumo, it takes about one hour to reach the mountain. Parking situations vary from attraction to attraction.


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