Sunday 10 June 2018

Mt. Homan (Homanzan 宝満山) 2018.5.4

Mount Homan (Homanzan 宝満山) in Dazaifu, Hike 2018.5.4 

Homanzan is one of the most popular hikes in Kyushu. Located in the historic town of Dazaifu just past the Kamado shrine it is by far the most crowded hiking location I have been too. 

There are many newer hikes with fuller routes see the mountains page above for details including camping on Homan and visiting more peaks in different seasons. 

Access: Take the Nishitetsu Train from Tenjin to Dazaifu station. After leaving the station turn left and cross the road. There is a community bus stop there from which you can catch a green bus to Kamdo-jinja (Kamado Shrine) below is a link to the Kamado shrine website; The start of the trail is just up behind the shrine and easy to find. 

Gear: This is a steep climb so a trekking stick is greatly recommended to take the strain off. Any sports shoes should be ok I used walking shoes although hiking boots would have been better. There is a spring water source on the mountain but make sure you have plenty of water and refill when you get there. 

Main Torii for Kamado shrine

Kamado Shrine (宝満宮 竈門神社)
Torii Tunnel to Shikibuinari Shrine 式部稲荷神社

The trail started at the impressive Kamado-Jinja which is well worth a visit even if you don't plan on climbing up the imposing peak behind it. There is evening a deer there and another smaller fox shrine with a tunnel of Torii (Shrine gates).

The mountain map at the base of the mountain 

Beware of the dreaded Mamushi (The most dangerous snake on the Japanese mainland) 

After a fair bit of intensive climbing I came to the spring water fountain. I refilled by water bottles with fresh and clean spring water and continued up. 

The most characteristic thing about Homozan is the steps/stairs. There are a huge amount of them and I found myself cursing the people who made them more than once on the way up. 

Steps in good condition
What used to be steps

What looks like the ruins of an old stone house. 

After another leg of the climb I came to what looks like the remains of a house. It must have taken whoever built it a lot of work at this altitude! 

After climbing what felt like forever I came to what I foolishly though was the summit. A brief celebratory "Yata!" was followed closely by a gasp of horror at the sight of what was to come. This was where the real fun began with lots of roped climbing sections and nasty looking falls. 


Rope climbing (The pictures do not capture the steepness of the mountain)

Homanzan Summit Shrine 竈門神社 上宮
Signs indicating the Summit of Homanzan

The views from the top where simply spectacular and worth all of that effort to behold them. 

View from the Summit of Homanzan

Another Summit view

The climb down had even more ropes and chains. I even saw a woman crying out of fear at the thought of falling. I laughed thinking she was joking.... she wasn't! 

An interesting find. This is a camping lodge. For a small fee you can sleep here. A great idea for longer hikes in the area! 


The rest of the descent was rather eventiful. Just plenty more leaf carpeted trails, bird song and steps, yes more bloody steps! 
Overall the hike took around hours with plenty of regular stops to rest and regnergate.  The effort is well worth it however my advice is to come prepared with plenty of water, good gear and a good nights sleep beforehand. 

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