Monday, 21 December 2020

Oita Hiking: Yufudake snow hike, Merry Christmas! 由布岳・飯盛ヶ城・青梅台・水口山 2020.12.20

Oita Hiking: Yufudake snow hike, Merry Christmas! 由布岳・飯盛ヶ城・青梅台・水口山 2020.12.20

For the last weekend before Christmas me and a friend went to Yufudake in Oita. My last hike was an Autumn hike which went from Tsurumi to Yufudake. For this hike we started at at the Yufudake starting point and hiked up to the Nishimine peak. Then we went down to Imorigajo where we had some lunch. We then took the gentle trail to Mizuguchiyama which walks through some beautiful woodland, we even saw three large deer. We just missed a bus so had a coffee and relaxed before taking the Yufurin coach bus down to Beppu again. 

We saw a lot of snow at the top which was great and make for some wonderful scenery and put us in the Christmas spirit! 

We finished the day at a Beppu near the sea (Which was too expensive for what is was) and then enjoyed a beer on the way back to Fukuoka. Click on the title for the route map

 


 


 


Nagasaki city Hiking Inasayama and more 金比羅山 天狗山 稲佐山 鉢巻山 2020.12.19

 Nagasaki city Hiking Inasayama and more 金比羅山 天狗山 稲佐山 鉢巻山 2020.12.19

I decided to use the cheap JR Kyushu ticket one more time. For this Saturday I went to Nagasaki city to hike Inasayama and bunch of others in the area as well as Nagasaki's peace park and city atmosphere. I set off first for Kompirasan, this walk was very smooth, like many local mountain areas in Kyushu it was not too difficult and had good views from the top. I went down and walked though Nagasaki city, the houses and tiny streets are like a maze so I was glad to have a map to follow. I went through peace park and sat for a while before carrying on to Inasayama. The trail was steep and pretty wild. I saw just one rock climber along the way and a few hikers near the top. At the top there is a park and view towers.

The views from Inasayama are great. From the viewing platform there is a 360 degree view. I wanted to hike along to the coast but down my route for decent very slow going with lots of climbing unnamed peaks and route to climb down with. Near the bottom I saw a very large wild boar which stared at me before running off in the same direction I was walking!

I came down but couldn't work out the trail to continue so I caught a bus back to the centre from a nearby bus stop. I managed to get great views and hit all the main mountains and points but felt frustrated I couldn't complete my original plan. Click on the title to see the route map, there are a few moments were I got a little lost of strayed from the trail though, I would advise hiking to Inasayama and use the cable car down.

 


 


 


Ooshima Island and Mitake 御獄 Kyushu Olle 2020.12.13

Ooshima Island and Mitake 御獄 Kyushu Olle 2020.12.13


Ooshima is a small fishing island that is part of Munakata city in Fukuoka. The island is very popular for its very high quality fishing. It is also a spiritual city connected to nearby Okinoshima Island a world heritage site which is closed to the public. Due to be it being forbidden to set foot on Okinoshima instead people worship and view it from Ooshima Island.

We followed the Kyushu Olle course through Yamap, however this course misses the light house and Miura cave which is a shame.

It starts by going up to Munakata shrine and then to a small mountain called Mitake. The course is not tough and well worth the time it takes. Near the end we went to the local history museum which is very well funded because of its connection to world heritage.

As usual click on the title to see the route map

 


 


 


Monday, 7 December 2020

Saga hiking: Tenzan and Amezan 天山・雨山 2020/12/6

 Saga hiking: Tenzan and Amezan 天山・雨山 2020/12/6

Tenzan has been on my list to get to for a long time. With great weather we decided it would really be worth it. We drove through Saga past some large beautiful lakes and a beautiful Onsen village and parked at the Amagawa starting point 天川登山口. We went up Tenzan and then across to Ameyama (Amezan). At the top we drank Swissmiss cocoa before taking a different route back which looped around Tenzan and back to the car park. 

The views are wonderful with views in all directions and we could even see Mt. Unzen over the Ariake sea. 

For lunch we went Michinoekiyamato and the road side station Yamato 道の駅 大和 a camping ground, bakery and farm shop. It has benches next to the river and sells delicious local food and produce. The melon pan here is very delicious. 

Click on the title to see the route map

 


 


 


Kumamoto Hiking: Tawarayama 俵山 2020/12/5

 Kumamoto Hiking: Tawarayama 俵山 2020/12/5

Winter is here! We got our first taste of it hiking up a frosty trail to Tawarayama. A short but beautiful hike and a great place to view mount Aso from. 

We started from the Tawarayama view point parking spot 俵山峠展望所 and followed the direct trail up to the top of Tawarayama. The parking area has a small toilet and is free. The view point nearby is also worth stopping to take a look at. It was icy and the ground was covered in frost on the way up but this had started to melt for our return journey. The melting ice left very muddy patches.

Click on the title to see the route map

 


 


 


Monday, 30 November 2020

Miyama Hiking: End of Autumn Solo hike to find the last breath of Autumn at Kiyomizuyama 清水山 2020/11/29

 Miyama Hiking: End of Autumn Solo hike to find the last breath of Autumn at Kiyomizuyama 清水山 2020/11/29


After a lively Saturday group hike and with my kids away for the day, I went off for some "me" time and did a Solo hike in Miyama up Kiyomizuyama 清水山. The area also some beautiful statues and a large temple called Kiyomizudera 本吉山 清水寺 with a tall three story pagoda. The mountains are not too tall and make for a very pleasant walk.

I started from JR Setaka station 瀬高駅. There are local buses that run from here however I didn't want to wait so I walked from the station to the mountains and back again later on, it took about 45mins so it wasn't so bad.

I first visited the temple and then went up Kiyomizuyama 清水山 and the visited two others. The route down from the last mountain was very unused a tough so if you follow that route be prepared for lots of tree branches and debris and no signs or even tape to follow.

This is my last hike of the first year using Yamap application. I started last December and since then I have reached 171 mountains peaks, hiked 1190km in distance and climbed up 78,500 meters in Elevation gain. My target for year 2 on Yamap is to reach 250 mountain peaks in Kyushu! 

As usual click on the title to see the route map

 


 


 


Monday, 23 November 2020

Kaimondake solo hike and camp 開聞岳 2020/11/22 & 23

 Kaimondake solo hike and camp 開聞岳 2020/11/22 & 23

Using the super cheap JR ticket I went down to Kaimon in Ibuski, Kagoshima. The Shinkansen down to Kagoshima Chuo is easy but the local train to Kaimon take two hours so I studied some Japanese, listened to music and still had a hour left! 

Once at Kaimon I went to the camp site at Kaimonsanrokufureai Park かいもん山麓ふれあい公園 they have a great free site area with very well maintained pitches and facilities however it cost 1800yen so a little pricy compared to the mountain sites I am used to. The check in was 1pm and I had to take a number and wait to register. You need to fill out a simple form with your name, phone number and address. After setting up my tent and stowing the bulky items I set off for Kaimondake. 

There is only one main route up Kaimon and it is not too difficult. It starts with a forest walk with the biggest challenge being the volcanic gravel which can be slippy. Just over halfway up it changes to large rocks and boulders, this is the remains of a pyroclastic flow that occurred in the last eruption which took place in the year 885. This area is ok but closer to the took the rocks are usually wet and very slippery. There are also a few ladders to climb and some easy roped sections. The top has great views, however today it was totally obscured but cloud cover. I have added some photos from my climb last year to give you a better idea of what it all looks like. A man at the camp site told me it would take 5 hours to hike and Yamap says just over four hours, it took me 2 hours and 45mins up and down. 

Kaimondake is very much an active volcano. The Japanese Meteorological Agency describe it as having the “potential for increased activity”. Generally a volcano needs to have had no activity for minimum of 10,000 years and have no access to the magma chamber to be considered extinct. Geological time is so vast it is impossible for us to imagine. 

After the hike I went back to camp, I tested out the new sleeping (But it was actually too hot!) and the tent performed well. There were many families but lucky it wasn’t too busy or loud. Ibusuki is very dark at night so I could see many stars. The morning I got up early and packed away and headed down for the 7am train.

Click here to see the route map and yamap post