Tuesday 19 June 2018

Miyama ・ Mt. Kiyomizu 本吉山 清水寺 & Zoyama Hiking 2018.6.16

Miyama: Mt. Kiyomizu 本吉山 清水寺 & Zoyama Hiking  2018.6.16

Kyushu Olle Course

This is the third Kyushu Olle course that I have embarked on. This time I was lucky to have the whole family accompany me which made the hike a very different experience. I found this hike rewarding however there were too many long road walking and field walking sections which lost their charm fairly quickly. Still the high points were fascinating with the temple being one of the best I have visited in Japan. 

The Kyushu Olle guide can be found here : Miyama hiking guide

Access : Take the JR Kagoshima line to JR Setaka station. From Setaka station there is an orange community bus that runs to the trail start point. The bus information can be found here : Miyama Community bus Kyushu Olle is actively promoted by the Miyama local government info can be found here : Miyama Kyushu Olle

Gear: Not a difficult climb. However there are large exposed sections so you should take a hat and plenty of sun block. 

Zoyama bus stop
Portable toilet

Kyushu Olle Trail Map

The trail starts as soon as you get off the bus there were maps available bear the Kyushu Olle Map board. 

And it all kicked off with a beautiful temple at. 

Kappa statue 
Stunning bamboo forests 
Zoyama forest Map board
After a little walking we came to the forest entrance. The forest started as a bamboo forest and changed as we climbed. 

The kids marched through the bamboo, the youngest complaining a lot!
Kyushu Olle course guide

Burial mound entrance: Too chicken to enter!

The first main feature of the hike. Near the top of the mountain we came to some ancient burial mounds thought to have be built in the 6th century! 

Burial tomb info. board
Collapsed tomb gave us a good idea of what the other looked like inside

View point showed the farmland around the mountain
Observation tower commanded good views of the area

Ancient foundations 

This ancient foundation showed the hints of much larger buildings that would have once stood at the Summit of the mountain 

Colourful Buddha statue

Roadside Buddhist shrine

Some more trekking through forest and some stunning bamboo woods. Soon we reached the base of the climb to Kiyomizu temple. 

Spectacles bridge is one of the features on the Kyushu Olle site. It is supposed to look like specatables but I don't really see it but a pretty little bridge nevertheless.  There were a lot of steps to climb but getting the top was definitely worth it. 


Lots of little stone buddha statues line the temple approach 

Stone buddha statues 

Through many Torii and gate houses there are even more steps! 

Lots of well designed Kyushu Olle boards around the help fill you in

Small Pond with statues in

The main temple building is impressive and had a small little pond near by which was quite picturesque

The pagoda was a stunning bright red

A shrine dedicated to breast feeding was a very different sort of sight 
Some very old pictures one can only guess long they have been hanging on the shrine. 

Now for the climb down and the final leg of the walk. Unfortunately my wife's leg started to ache so she and my youngest took a different route down meaning we lost them for a while. 

Even more forest and an altercation with a snake we finally came to the bottom of the mountain and had to wait for them to catch up. 


Lots of walking through farmland and rice paddy fields

The field walking became tedious after a while

At long last we came to the trail end and the final goal. A farm shop which sells lots of locally produced food. 

It was a great place to relax and eat a late lunch before catching the bus back to Setaka station. 

The walk was enjoyable and provided lots of wonderful photo opportunities. However the view points from the mountains were all a little lackluster and the final leg of the journey through farmland was not all that enjoyable. There were bus stops on route to this section so you could cut off this part however missing out on the farm shop would be a shame. 

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