Tuesday 25 September 2018

Takeo 武雄市 Hiking 2018.9.22

Takeo 武雄市 Hiking 2018.9.22

Kyushu Olle course

The Takeo course is part of the Kyushu Olle series of hikes. The full map can be on their website here: Kyushu Olle Takeo. The city of Takeo is located in the Saga prefecture south of Fukuoka. Takeo is in an area famous for its Onsen and also for the tea of nearby Ureshino. 

The Hike is fairly long in terms of Kilometers however aside from one section by the lake which goes off into some pretty steep mountains and then another section right at the end which loops around Takeo onsen, the hike is actually very straightforward and easy to follow. 

Access: Travel from Hakata to Tosu on the JR Kagoshima line. From there change to the JR Nagasaki line and travel to Hizenyamagchi. From here change to the JR Sasebo line to JR Takeoonsen station. The course start point is located in the station. You can pick up a map from the information centre there for free. 

The course starts from this point in Takeo-onsen station. 

Follow the sign outside the station and keep your eyes peeled from the characteristic Kyushu Olle tags that mark the route. 

The first part of the hike was not all that interesting. I walked through streets and through some pretty wooded area. 

This section was very pleasant but definitely lacked in features to talk about. Basically you follow this down to the lake which is where things get interesting. 

I walked around the lake to the science museum and came to a point where you can choose either the longer A type course or the easier B type course. 

I messed up here and ended up effectively doing both courses. But I definitely recommend the longer course for a proper hike. 

View from a viewing platform

 The path becomes steep and far more like regular hiking. 

From up in the mountains there were some fantastic views of Takeo and you can see how steep many of the peaks in the area are. 

There were also a lot of mushrooms and Fungi to be seen. 

The path down was steep rocky. Eventually I came to some small lakes with a lot of life. There were lily pads and frogs everywhere. 

It was soon I realised that I had down the B route and then changed onto the A route so effectively doing both routes. 

So I worked out an alternative and got back on track. 

After rejoining the path and walking through some more wooded areas I came to Takeo shrine. This was an impressive colourful shrine with a large and very ancient tree just few hundred meters behind it. 

The tree is an historic site and is more than five hundred years old. 

The looks of the tree brought back memories of J.R.R Tolkien's character treebeard and the ancient trees of middle earth. 

Unfortunately you are not permitted to get closer than this photo shows. There is however another tree down the road. It is equally as ancient and you can go inside to explore the interior. 

The trail led back to the city area and across the river and train tracks. The road was pretty straight and I could the Onsen gate at the end. However the trail then led off to the left and went up into the mountains behind the onsen. This was Sakurayama park and there were lots of small Buddha statues to see. 

The view from above Takeo onsen. In the distance are the mountains around the lake. Time to explore the onsen itself and go for a hot spring. 
The gate for the onsen is impressive. The main building inside is the sight of the old onsen and you are permitted to explore and learn about the history of the onsen. 

Inside and next to the Main building are some onsen that you can use each offering a slightly different experience. 

The main building. To the sides are the working onsen

Inside the ld onsen building

The end point for the hike

We choose the older style onsen. The building was obviously very old and the water was nice and hot. The water had a almost slimy quality and was very softening to soak in. 

Overall the hike was good. The road sections there numerous but not that unpleasant and the high points where very good. 

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