Thursday 23 August 2018

Nijodake 二丈岳 Itoshima hiking and Mamushi Onsen まむしの湯 2018.8.19

Nijodake 二丈岳 Itoshima hiking &

Mamushi Onsen まむしの湯 2018.8.19

Nijodake is located in the Itoshima area of Fukuoka. Famous for its agriculture and beautiful coastline Itoshima is a wonderful place to visit in the summer. Nijodake is a greatly varied hike. Split into three sections; the first is a walk through farmland from Dainyu station to Yurarinko bridge, next from the bridge to Kamo Shrine and from to the top of Mt. Nijo. Each section is quite different from the other which helps keep the hike interesting and fresh. After hike you have the option of going down to the next station and visiting Mamushi onsen which is well worth it. 

Access: Take the Fukuoka city subway Kuko line to Meinohama use the JR Chikuhi line to get to JR Dainyu station 大入駅. From here it is about a 30-40 minute walk to Yurarinko bridge ゆらりんこ橋. Once you get to the bridge there is a car park with a map box. Itoshima provide maps for a lot of their hiking areas and they very detailed and useful so be sure to pick one up. Make sure you bring plenty of water as are no vending machines in the car park just a few around the station area. 

After getting off the train I crossed back over the tracks to get a look at the sea. The view right next to Dainyu station is quite impressive 

 After following road for a little while I crossed back over the tracks and started to head toward the mountain. After a short while I came to a small shrine and from there I followed the river toward Nijodake. 

Following the river toward the mountain

Can you spot the snake?

Another small shrine

The land in this area is almost all farmland. The water coming from the mountain is used for the rice paddy fields. 

This was the view of Nijodake from over the fields on the way up. 

After a while I came to the car park for Yurarinko bridge. There are toilets here, a map board and a map box with free hiking maps. Next up it was across the bridge and on to section two of the hike. 

After crossing the bridge it was easy to find the trail as there are plenty of signs and even one in English 
Yurarinko bridge

For this section of the hike I covered a lot of terrain even going through a few streams. You basically need to follow the mountain stream up. This gives a nice atmosphere with the sound of running water and some waterfalls. 

There are plenty of water sources alot this section. You can drink a lot of the rushing water. There is a also a place to get water at the shrine. 

The terrain became a lot steeper as I moved away from the stream and a lot more rocky as well

Kamo Shrine 加茂神社

As I approached Kamo Shrine the sound of rushing water died away. The shrine itself is not so interesting but it does serve as a good rest point and the hike it becomes steeper and a little more challenging after this point.

A good chance to refill your water bottle

Explanation of the water cycle on mountains

The road is more of a track with leads to the next point of the hike. 

After a about 10 minutes of the track I came to a sign directing me back up into the forest. This is the steepest part of hike. It is a forested trail which leads to the summit.

A small frog

Forest trail 
Steps to the last leg of the hike up

The summit of Nijodake 711m up. The view of Itoshima and the ocean are fantastic and well worth the hike up.

If you climb onto one of the boulders you can get an even better view.

Summit marker

After taking in the view it was time to head down. The hike down took about an hour.
After getting to the bottom I had a few minutes before the train so I went down to the beach to get a look at the coastline.

This final step is optional. Get back on the train and get off at the next stop JR Fukuyoshi 福吉駅 from here I walked about 20 or so minutes to Mamushi Onsen まむしの湯 named after the pit viper snakes which are famous in Japan.
The onsen has shampoo and body wash provided and you can borrow towels or 100 yen. They have a number of baths including green tea, red wine and a jacuzzi. A great way to relax after the hike.

According to the flyer the Onsen is named after a famous monk got bitten by a Mamushi as was healed by the waters of the Onsen.

Thursday 16 August 2018

Yame 八女市 Hiking 2018.8.14

Yame 八女市 Hiking 

Kyushu Olle 2018.8.14

Yame is famous for its green tea but we also found that it is one of the best places to learn about Kofun period in Japan's history 古墳時代. Learn more about the Kofun period. The Kofun period followed the Yayoi period and has some similarities in the material culture that has been left behind. One of the characteristics from this time are the burial mounds which can be found all over the area.

Access: We followed the Kyushu Olle course. The guide and map can be found here Kyushu Olle Yame Course However the details on the site for how to get to the course are very poor. To get to the start point take the JR Kagoshima line to JR Hainuzuka station 羽犬塚駅 From here you can catch the Horikawa bus and use this route Horikawa bus timetable At the top is Hainuzuka station which is the start point. You need to get to 上山内 it takes about half a hour. Next to this bus stop is a Aeon Ministop convenience store which is useful for supplies and getting plenty of water. Across the road from from the shop is the start point for the trail. 

Ministop by the bus stop
Yame course start point
Getting back: To get back the easiest way is to use the Fukushima highschool bus stop (Fukushima koko-mae) and take this to Kurume (First it stops at Nishitetsukurume and after that JR Kurume so you choose depending on where you want to get to). The buses are frequent, about every 15 mins at peak times. You can check the times here Nishitetsu Time table the bus number is #31. The bus stop is right in front of a Lawson's convenience store just down from the endpoint of the hike. 

Be aware that the Nishitetsu bus does allow you to use an IC card. The Horikawa bus does not so you need to have cash ready. 

The bus to Kurume takes about 40 mins. 
After leaving the convenience store it was just a short walk up a nearby hill into a forested area. Here we found the first feature of the hike a very impressive Kofun tomb. It seems like some things have been added over the centuries after it was originally constructed such as Buddha statues. 

Dounanzan Tumulus

Interior of the tomb
Stone shrine
Right next to the Kofun was a stone shrine. The statue figure inside looks like it may have been replaced at some point. 

Coming out of the wooded area we got to see the first tea field. 

Green tea field

Just up from the tea field gave us a nice view of the surrounding area. Quite a lot more upward walking. The forested area was however very easy to walk with a nice atmosphere. 
The first RP: Rescue point
Large fir cones on the forest floor 
Another stone shrine

After quite a lot more forest path walking we came to the end. The landscape opened up revealing some very impressive views of the surrounding green tea fields. They were much larger than I had expected and there was a nice fragrance in the air. 
Looking out over the tea field from the hill

The sun was blazing down, very hot but it helped bring out the vibrant greens
Looking down on the tea fields from the RP
Looking back at the tea fields
Ichineji Temple
 Another trek through farmland and wooded areas finally got us to a large temple. The interior was impressive.

Kyushu Olle info. Board

Esaki Foods

Small lake on the way to a tomb

Not far from the lake is another tomb. However this one has no open entrance. It was a good chance to take a rest before continuing to the final points of the course. 
Maruyamazuka tomb

View from Maruyamazuka

More green tea

The last leg of the hike


Goal, the end point of the course

Iwatoyama history and cultural exchange center. 

The museum at the end point was very impressive with lots of history and artifacts that have been found in the thombs in the area. 

We got ourselves with Badges and looked around. 

Reconstruction of traditional housing in the Kofun period

The course took longer than the suggestion from Kyushu Olle due to doing it with kids. The course itself took around 5 hours. Due to the open sections I definitely recommend bringing plenty of water, a sun hat and to apply plenty of sun block to any exposed skin. 

The features of the hike were spread out nicely and there was a good deal of variety of landscape.