After driving around a winding mountain road, we finally parked the car. There was nothing much around us, only a few steps made of simple rocks which were going up in the forest. We followed this path first but a few minutes later the trail was completely gone!
My friends switched on a very serious looking GPS since our mobile phones didn’t work anymore. The village seemed to be a few kilometers away further in the middle of the forest. The mountainside was really steep and full of broken trees. That was not a relaxing dominican hike. Then the GPS device we had eventually lost the signal and it became difficult to guide ourselves. There was no sight of any houses or even the old mountain track.
We decided to split up. My friend and I went towards an area where the trees looked different, somewhat thicker. I thought it could have been planted by people and that might have been right: once we arrived, the whole area was leveled and a little wall of rocks appeared. The village was not far behind.
Crumbled wooden houses, grass and trees recovered everything, farming and forestry tools everywhere. The cemetery seems to have taken over the whole village with tombs scattered all over the place. There is also a temple, located slightly on the side, from where you could have seen the village well when it was more visible. That looked like some kind of wooden version of Angkor Wat. Not as fancy, not as beautiful but we had it: our old loggers’ village.
Sanno (山王) was one of those logging villages which were providing massive amount of wood and charcoal required for the construction of the new towns and cities, but also for many wooden products (such as sake barrels). In 1960 however, the timber import was liberalized and cheap wood from abroad started to be shipped in. Those villages could not survive it and started to disappear.
In 1975, it is told that there was still a few people in the little village of Sanno.
- 1889 – 1975