Tuesday 12 June 2018

Shioji 四王寺 2018.5.20

Shioji 四王寺 Hike 2018.5.20

Shioji is actually a collection of different mountain peaks spread over Dazaifu, Onojo and Umi. It is one of the most historic and feature filled hikes in Fukuoka and commands some wonderful panoramic views. 

Access: I start out at JR Onojo station and took the local Madokapia community bus which costs just 100Yen to the final destination Onojo comprehensive park (Madoka Park) bus information can be found here, you need to follow the blue course Madoka Bus Onojo From here it was a short walk to the trail start. The map below shows the route I took, click to enlarge. 

Gear: The climb on the Onojo side is quite steep so a trekking stick may be useful. There are also very few water sources so bring plenty (You will reach a forest park after a while which as plenty of vending machines etc.) The top is open to the elements so bring a hat and if you go in the winter a good coat and gloves would be needed. 

The trail start is quite hard to locate and is up a small road to the side of the park. As soon as you get on the trail though the Onojo signposting is very well done and mostly supports English as well as Japanese. 

There are quite a few steep steps to climb

Signposting is well done in English as well!

Info. Boards have lots of photos and are easy to understand.

There are quite a few points where you can take in the view as you climb. 

Onojo flags around until it changes into Dazaifu
Small wooden Torii greets you at the top.

The top is quite flat with lots of lovely forest walking on dry leaves. 

Just past the stone shrine gate I came to this small shrine building. It looked like somebody lives inside and they took the panels off as I was standing there. 

A closer look at the shrine building

This is the site of one of the Gods of Shioji. 

Impressive views of the city below and countryside south

A good of Shioji

Rich green views of the forests

Forest and mountain peaks in the distance

Lots of stone statues can be found among the trees

The colour of the trees impresses even in summer

After descending slightly from the mountain I came to a forest park. It had a pretty little Japanese garden and lots of info. boards. 

After climbing up again the terrain changed as I emerged from the forest. This area had some wonderful views of the surrounding area.  

Impressive Panoramic views 

Not sure what these are for maybe to mark the way to more remote Torii.
A dubious little wooden bridge

After following the ridge along towards next mountain peak I was treated to yet more wonderful views. 

Following the path down lead to the grave of Joun Takahashi who was a Samurai of great importance (高橋 紹運, 1548 – September 10, 1586)

From there it was a pretty straight path down emerging from the forest and walking past farmland and a tennis court. 

Looking back over the ruins of the old Government building in Dazaifu at Shioji
All in all the journey took around 3 hours, I didn't take any lunch but ended up regretting that as there were so many wonderful viewpoints and places to sit. 

2018/7/1 Return to Shioji 

Due to the unpredictable nature of the rainy season weather I decided to not go too far and instead retackle Shioji in slightly different conditions. This time I took my daughter with me which changed the experience significantly from my first hike. 

We followed the same basic route as last time with a few detours to see some historical features I missed the first time. 

Malena looking down from the first view point. She was excited to find Kasuga park and her school. 

The whole forest smelled really good from the coniferous trees. It smelled like Christmas! 

The summit marking post for Ooguskuyama 大城山 one of the main peaks at Shioji

More building ruins, there are so many of these at Shioji

More Fungi and mushrooms. 

The view was impressive today. More clouds due to the heavy rain the day before by the mountains almost looked like a watercolor painting. 

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