Sunday 24 June 2018

Aburayama 油山 Hike 2018.6.23

Aburayama 油山 Hike 2018.6.23

The plan was either to go to Karatsu or climb Sefuri-yama however due to the rain (It is called rainy season I suppose) I changed my plans and decided to climb Aburayama (Yuuyama on google maps) instead. It was a pleasant climb with at least one "Wow" moment and it reminded me of a smaller scale Raizan. The nature park on the mountain I think the kids will love and it looks like a great place to have a BBQ as well. 

Access: Catch a bus from Tenjin or Hakata (I went from Yakuin and changed in Ropponmatsu) either the #13 or #113 will get you to the Aburayama bus stop. The buses are frequent around one every 15 minutes. You can change the bus timetable here: Nishitesu Bus From the bus stop it is a bit of a walk to the nature park however you will soon be in partially forested area and you can follow the road or the track to the side which I recommend. 

Gear: Not a too difficult climb but it is fairly long. There are some water sources nearer the top and by the waterfalls but bring some if you are climbing in the summer. Any sports shoes should be ok and a trekking pole would be of help but you would be OK without one. 

English Map of Aburayama available from the main forest visitor centre. 

I saw  Aburayama in the distance before entering the forested area. 

After some climbing for a short while I came to a guard box for collections parking fees. There are no fees to hike so I walked past and snapped the mountain map. 

Plenty of wildlife, can you spot the frog
Forested trail leads to the true start point. 

Entrually the path changed into stone stairs and then some steps which came out in the card park

The main visitor centre was well facilitated. With lots for kids to do and they had copies of free maps you take from the main office. They even had an English map. 
Giant Japanese hornet display
Athletic activities for kids around the park

The first main feature suspension bridge

The suspension bridge was impressive and I could really feel it move as  especially in the centre as aI crossed. 

A community farm called "moo moo land" is near by and I could hear the announcements from across the mountain. 

From across the bridge was were the real climb to the summit begins. There are a number of courses I started with course B. 
View from the bridge, building in the distance is  Moo Moo land

View from the other side of the bridge showed a dense forest.

Map at the climbs start

Left there is a spring 
And here is the spring

The early morning rain meant that the area near the summit was covered in mists and low clouds. It spoiled the view but created a great atmosphere. 

There were thousands of frogs, no bigger than a 1 yen coin leaping out of way as I hiked. 

The summit marker was a welcome sight although it was covered in trees and the mists meant there were no views to speak of. Time for a short rest. 

Cup noodle is the best! 

View from the Summit 

Summit area

Strange mushrooms looked like chips

The descent was characterised by lots of small mountain streams and springs. 
A great sound of rushing water and frogs and small crabs

Mountain springs gushing all around
The path up to the falls wet and slippery. 

Now was time for the "wow" moment. After descending using the C course it eventually came to the bottom where I took a detour to a waterfall marked on the map, the Yamagasano (Yamakasa on the map) falls.

Yamagasano Falls 山笠の滝

A bit of a closer look

From here is was a surprisingly short walk down to the camp area. There were a few BBQ parties going on, with smells that made my mouth water. 

I followed the road back on the main forest park office. I had a short rest and continued on. I got this short looking across the car park and to the city below. 

The hike took around 4 hours. The walk from and to the bus stop was a significant part of that. Well worth a visit to this park even without the hike to the summit. I think I will be back with the kids who were really excited to see the athletic areas and the waterfall. 

Wednesday 20 June 2018

Kizan 基山 - Kiyama Hike 2018.6.17

Kizan 基山 - Kiyama Hike 2018.6.17

Warning: The first part of this hike has changed radically due to the flooding and landslides caused in the Summer 2018 rainy season. The water gate has been badly damaged and the buildings and house next to it have been destroyed. The hike is still possible but you need to be prepared to climb over debris and tree trunks etc. Please check out the latest post Tenpaizan to Kizan for more up to date info. 2018.10.21

Kizan is a short hike in one of the first towns in Saga you will come to travelling south. Despite being short and not too steep it's treeless summit offers some fantastic views similar to those found on the mountains of Shioji. 

Access: Take the JR Kagoshima line to JR Keyakidai station (Alternatively you could start from JR Kiyama station. For variety I started at Keyakidai and finished at Kiyama.) From here it is a 20min walk to the base of the mountain. Be careful of using Google maps as there is a bridge across the expressway which it may tell you to use. This is completely sealed off with a large fence with a sign saying "Danger!" in Japanese instead walk south to a tunnel that goes underneath the road. There are also community buses which seem to run from Kiyama station Kiyama community bus

Gear: Not too strenuous of a climb still hiking boots and a trekking pole are recommended. Bring some empty bottles and you can refill them at the freshwater spring at the base.

Route map - There are many alternatives to the climb this is the one I used.

The walk to the trail head is pretty uneventful just a little farm land. 

At the start of the trail there was a helpful route map. 

A tunnel for the freshwater mountain stream. It looked pretty ancient. 
Freshwater spring. A man was refilling his home water supply

Ancient water gate built around 1350 years ago
基肄城 水門址 Water gate shrine

The route started just a little way up on the left side past the water gate. 

Forest trail
Route start
A snake across the trail, possibly a Japanese Keelback

Wonderful view of Saga below 
Looking from the back of the mountain wonderful sky views

The summit is a small mound on top of the mountain. 

Summit marker

A small stone Summit shrine

 A video of the Summit view, the treeless summit allowed for wonderful views of the area around. 

An old viewtower. A smaller new tower now exits. 

Yet another view video this time from the otherside of the mountain looking across the urban areas. 

Lots of ruins in the forest on Kizan. Only the foundations now remain. Probably marking where the support beams would have once have been. 

Ancient ruins

Eventually I got to the bottom of the mountain a little further up from the trail I started with. From there it was a pleasant walk through rice fields and farms to Kiyama station. 

A perfect short afternoon hike that delivered in spades.