Sunday 17 June 2018

Raizan 雷山 and Iharayama 井原山 - Itoshima Hike 2018.6.9

Raizan 雷山 and Iharayama 井原山 - Itoshima Hike 2018.6.9

Raizan and Iharayama (Ibarayama) is one of the most impressive hikes in Fukuoka. I went the day after heavy rain and it only seemed to enhance the atmosphere of the hike. It reminded me a lot of the Studio Ghibli movie "Princess Mononoke" (もののけ姫) and I was half expecting to see one of the Kodama (Forest spirit Kodama)  pop up on a rock or behind a tree. 

There are many newer hikes with fuller routes see the mountains page above for details.

Access: Take the Subway which changes to the JR Kuko line after Meinohama, get off at Chikuzemmaebaru (Chikuzenmaebaru). You need to exit the station using the South exit and you can catch a small yellow community bus from in front of the the supermarket; it costs 200 Yen and you need to pay as you get on the bus. The timetable can be found here the last stop is for Raizan: Raizan Bus timetable from the bus stop you can follow the guide or signs up to Raizan 

Gear: This is a real hike, so you need to be prepared hiking boots, trekking pole, gear in case the weather changes are all a must. There are plenty of water sources and springs across the mountain however on top there is nothing so have plenty of water on you if you plan to go to both peaks. 

The bus stop has good facilities so it is important to use them. 

There were maps in the map box. Itoshima seems to be good with this sort of thing.


At the base of the mountain
The forest was damp and covered in moss
Small little frogs. They were Jumping everywhere.

There was a lot of nature straight off. 

Pictured is a "yama-gani" (Chiromantes haematocheir) a small fresh water crab that lives around streams in the mountains. 

The first of many waterfalls to come. This was a doubled storied waterfall with a nice little picnic bench next to it. A good first stop rest point before the real climb started. 

The second part of the waterfall with a deepish plunge pool

Cloud covered forest

Rising up and out of breath I finally hit the cloud ceiling. The atmosphere was nothing short of amazing.  

My favourite shot. The depth of the forest created a mysterious atmosphere

Rai Shrine Jogu 雷神社上宮

A closer look at the shrine

Moss carpeted trees

Another small shrine

Raizan Summit Sing

After a great deal of huffing and puffing I made to the first peak and had a spot of lunch. 

The views were not as great as they could be due to the thick and low clouds however it was worth it for the atmosphere it created in the forest. 
Looking at the path ahead from Raizan's Summit

View from the Summit of Raizan


The atmosphere was so amazing I felt that it 
required a video to do it justice. 

The speed of the clouds moving past was very impressive. 
A type of Marble/Crystal was everywhere on the top of the mountains. 
Marker for an unnamed secondary speak
A small white mushroom

Finally reached the second peak which was higher and luckily the clouds had subsided allowing for better views.

And some pretty shocking wildlife....

You will need to Zoom in: Japanese Pit Vipers (Mamushi Gloydius blomhoffii) it looked like two of them. These are the most dangerous snake on mainland Japan. 

A very long lizard came out to investigate m
Plestiodon kishinouyei: Kishinoue's giant skink

The view from Iharayama, you can see a fair distance with lots mountains and light cloud cover. There was still plenty to see on the descent

The sound of water rushing filled the air. I collected some fresh water to refill bottles. It tasted fantastic. 
The way down followed a mountain stream with plenty of waterfalls and beautiful sights to behold.  

Another part of the forest stream

Looking back at Raizan and Iharayama after leaving the forest 
I left the trail to take a look at this old water wheel

A smallish shrine at the base of the mountain
It was at this point that I lost the trail and had to retrace my steps. I checked my watch and had only 35 minutes before the last bus was due to come. I tightened my belt and powered on and reached the bus stop with just 10 minutes to spare. 

The Hike in total took me around 5-6 Hours and was challenging but also hugely rewarding.

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