IWAKUNI, Japan - The average unaccompanied Marine spends approximately 63,899,200 seconds in Japan during a two-year tour at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni.<br /> <br /> Many of these seconds waste away while Marines complain about being stuck in Japan or sitting around their barracks, oblivious to the adventures awaiting them.<br /> <br /> One of these adventures could be a trip to the Sandankyo Gorge, less than a 90-minute drive from MCAS Iwakuni.<br /> <br /> The gorge is also accessible by bus and is about one hour from the Hiroshima bus station.<br /> <br /> Sandankyo remained unknown to the public until approximately 1910 when Nanpo Kuma, a photographer from Hiroshima, discovered its beauty and value. Kuma’s efforts were complete when the area received designation as a national place of scenic beauty in 1925 and as a national special place of scenic beauty in 1953.<br /> <br /> The Sandankyo Gorge consists of the Shibaki River, a tributary to the Ota River. The Shibaki flows through fault valleys to form a large number of falls and rapids extending 10 miles.<br /> <br /> One of the highlights of Sandankyo is Sandantaki Falls, or Three-Step Falls. Some of its visitors call this area the most beautiful spot in the Sandan Valley.<br /> <br /> Sandantaki Falls is just one of the many falls to visit while negotiating the river-lined trails.<br /> <br /> Nidantaki Falls, an area accessible only via riverboat, waits behind a six-foot wide passage through sheer cliffs. The falls are one of the must-see treasures and to get to their location, one must navigate a four-mile trek. In addition to the Sandankyo Gorge, there are other sights, such as the<br /> Sandankyo-onsen Hot Spring and Mt. Osorakan-zan, where a forest creates a canopy above the mountaintop.<br /> <br /> For those interested in visiting Sandankyo, Marine Corps Community Services is slated to host a trip Nov. 3, 2012. <br /> <br /> The trail requires moderate skill and is appropriate for most fitness levels. An adult must accompany attendees less than 18 years old. Bus transportation leaves from Ironworks Gym. A $15 transportation fee is due at the Outdoor Recreation Office when signing up. Registration opens this week. For more information, call 253-3822.