Wednesday 24 October 2018

Tenpaizan 天拝山, Kizan 基山 and Amandi Spa 筑紫野温泉アマンディ 2018.10.21

Tenpaizan 天拝山, Kizan 基山 and Amandi Spa 筑紫野温泉アマンディ 2018.10.21

This is one of the most accessible and varied hikes that is also close to Fukuoka city. The first part of the hike is simple and you should visit the previous posts on Tenpaizan, the second part is Kizan (Kiyama) however using this route you will come from the back of the mountain and go down the way in my first guide found here (With an unintended and shocking twist) This isn't a tough hike however it is long at around 12 km and it could be longer depending on what diversions and paths you take. 


This is a capture of my hike. The light blue line is the hiking route I took. 

Part one: Tenpaizan 

The first task is to follow the main route up to the summit of Mt. Tenpai. I drank in the views and took a short rest year. I also snapped some newer pictures of the two main shrines the summit shrine and the "cat" shrine as my kids affectionately call it, about half way up. 
Cat Shrine - Named for all of the cats than roam around it

Summit shrine

Part two: Descending Tenpaizan, Lake Tempaiko

To find the route to Kiyama (Kizan) you need to go behind the viewing platform and find the route which goes of sharply to the right. It is a steepish decent. Soon I came across this signpost. Taking the trail right leads to the bottom of tenpaizan, but straight ahead goes to Kiyama and the Tenpaiko lake. 
There are plenty more steps on this route. 
This route has a lot less foot traffic

Eventually the trees started to change until the forest became a dense bamboo forest. A wonderful peaceful atmosphere. 

The bamboo forest eventually changed back as I got nearer to the lake area and the base of the mountain. 

Our route is left. Straight ahead goes to Ushikubiyama

Eventually the path widens and I could hear the sound of running water. The trail now sticks closely to a stream heading to lake Tenpaiko. 

The old road leading to Tenpaizan. From here I emerged from the forest and soon after the lake came into view. 
The next stop was to head to the Otani Forest road. Luckily the signposts were still in english as well. 
Lake Tenpaiko. It also acts as a reservoir for the area. 

Part three: The Otani Forest Road, Kiyama (Kizan) 

I kept following the roads around looking out for the Kyushu Nature trail signposting. When I came to this signpost I turned right to follow it and soon came to some more signposting. By this point I was the only one following this trail from what I could see. The peace was refreshing from how busy Tenpaizan was. 
The start of the Otani forest road is through here. The trail is real hiking with a far more challenging a rocky terrain than tenpaizan. This gate also says that the route is currently closed for hiking. The gate can easy be opened and I had come so far so I ignored the sign posts and ventured on. There was some rain damage but just some felled tree trunks to climb over and one to climb under. 

After emerging from the forest trail I came to the treeless summit of Kiyama (Kizan). This is a wonderful mountain and you can even drive to the top to take in the views. There were families having picnics and a lively but not over crowded feel to it. 

The views from the summit are quite fantastic. The mountain was once home to an ancient castle so like Shioji and Tenpaizan it has a lot of historical significance. 
Summit Shrine

 I took a break at the top near the viewing tower. Cooked up some noodles on my gas hob and made some coffee. 

After this is was time to descent. Near the bottom is a very historically important site. The remains of a water gate and castle walls. However I was soon in for a sad surprise. 
Part four: Descent of Kiyama, The water gate, to Amandi Onsen/Spa

Walking past the viewing tower I started the descent of Mt. Kiyama. Basically you need to follow the course on the sign below until you come to some steps that go quickly down. This leads to a tarmac road and the exit of the forest. 

A map board. This marks the end/start of the forest path. An old road connects/connected to it. 

As I progressed down the road the reason for the forest path being closed started to become quite clear. In the June time rainy season of 2018 (Just a few weeks after my last visit to Kizan!) heavy rain did a lot of damage and caused many landslides in the surrounding area. I attempted Ushikubiyama and had to abandon the hike due to safety concerns. Unfortunately Kiyama has also been very badly affected by this. Even doing almost irreparable damage to one of Kiyama's most important historical sites. 

Trees and debris litter the road

In places the road has been completely swallowed by the damage

One of my biggest gasp moments came looking back at the trail this was completely forested in early June. 
Taken in the same area in early June 2018

This is the site of the ancient castle wall and water gate. The main foundations and wall survive as they have done for over a thousand years. The bridge and Torii gate have been completely devastated. 

I met a local historian who has also surveying the site. He explained the importance of the site and told me that it is an historical treasure. As we were talking I saw an animal near the wall. A first he thought it was a wild boar but I noticed it was something very different. It was an Anaguma Japanese Badger. I crossed the bridge carefully and tried to get close to it. I was expecting it to run but it didn't seem to mind me at all and I managed to get within two metres of it. 
Japanese Badger. Anaguma

The watergate. The Torii gate has gone 基肄城 水門址
The back entrance near the main road to the Amandi Onsen/Spa
I left the mountain area and said goodbye to the historian. It was a shame to see so much damage had been inflicted on Kiyama however the main parts remain so I hope that the Kiyama local government will pay for the area to be tidied and repairs made to make the site more accessible again. It was great to nature continue with complete indifference, "the power of nature" the historian commented before we parted ways. 
From the mountain I took the road left and headed towards Keyakidai station. Then changed path and headed to the Amandi Onsen/Spa. It was a lovely public bath with many types of bath including a large Jacuzzi. You pay as you leave the onsen and it was quite pricey at 970 Yen for a weekend visit.  Check out their site here Amandi Spa

One final piece of luck. The Spa runs a free bus service from and to JR Haruda station. I managed to get the last bus at 4:30pm. 

Overall the hike was pretty amazing and had an incredible amount of variety in history, nature, terrain. The hike is definitely still doable but come prepared to navigate through the damage. 

You can view the full photo album here;

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