Sunday 27 January 2019

Mt. Hōman 宝満山 - Frozen January hike 2019/1/26 and some frozen Tenpaizan 天拝山 as well 2019/1/27

Mt. Hōman 宝満山 - Frozen January hike 2018/1/26

And some frozen Tenpaizan 天拝山 from the next day 2018/1/27

This past weekend we were forecast for some very cold weather. I took the opportunity to head up to Hōman on Saturday and went trail running at Tenpaizan on Sunday. Here are few snaps of both well known sites covered in beautiful snow. On Saturday I went to the Tsukushi bath after hiking and a snow storm started; a wonderful feeling soaking in hot water surrounded by snowflakes! 

Hōman 宝満山

My daughter made a snowman on the top and challenged herself by escorting it down to the bottom of the mountain! 

Most of the snow was localised on top of the mountain. It wasn't until a little later that a snow storm swept over the base of the mountain as well. 

Satsuma orange tree in a the snowstorm

Tenpaizan 天拝山

Not much of a view on this day. But it is great to see the same mountains under vastly different conditions. It was also great to see so many people taking advantage of the weather or a Sunday walk with their families. 

Wakasugiyama 若杉山, Nanzoin 南蔵院 and the Oasis Spa オアシス篠栗 2019.1.23

Wakasugiyama 若杉山, Nanzoin 南蔵院 and the Oasis Spa オアシス篠栗 2019.1.23

The area of Sasaguri 篠栗町 is just a short train ride from central Hakata however it is home to some of the most impressive Buddhist temples and shrines in the area. It is also home to a wonderful and feature rich hike up up one of it's religiously significant mountains Wakasugiyama 若杉山. 

Access: Take JR train using the Sasaguri line to JR Kidonanzoin-Mae Station 城戸南蔵院前駅 the hike starts just behind the station. You need to turn directly left as you leave the station until you find an underpass which goes under the tracks then another that goes under a main road a little further up. If you have never visited Nanzoin 南蔵院 and it's very large stone Buddha cross the road and head there first to take it all in. From the hiking start point the route goes up through the forest past many Buddhist temples, statues, shrines and other features. It ends at the Oasis Spa オアシス篠栗 オアシス篠栗a public bath directly behind JR Sasaguri Station 篠栗駅. This hike was inspired by a similar route on Yamaquest please check out that route map here; Yamaquest Wakasugiyama 

Gear: I went fully kitted out but honestly you could do this hike in regular walking shoes. There are some optional climbing areas in one of the Temples near the top so some good gloves would be a good idea. If you choose to take a bath in the Oasis Spa then pack for that. Shampoo and Body wash are provided so you don't need those. There are vending machines along the way and plenty of toilet facilities as well as various points. 

Nanzoin (Optional) 

As mentioned if you cross the road you can walk up to Nanzoin a large Buddhist temple which was moved to this area in 1899. Due to a lucky lottery win by win by a priest at the Temple it has since become associated with luck. You can read more about the temple here or here. I didn't visit on this day however I went there about two weeks ago during the winter holiday time. Below are some of the pics I took to give you an idea what you can see. 

The hike: Many Buddhist temples and Shrines 
After taking in the sights of Nanzoin (Or directly after you leave the station) you need to down down the side of the station. The hike starts up past the main road and behind the station area. 

Here you can see the underpass tunnel. This goes under the train tracks. 
The first of many Wakasugiyama signs 
The second underpass. This one goes under a main road. 
Eventually this lead to a house. The route continues up some steps just behind. 
Some small shrines behind the house. After this there is an open area with a mountain road which seems disused or seldom used. 
 The fruits of exploration. After reaching the road I was unsure where to go so I started following it up left. This was the wrong direction however not far up I found this large number of statues and a good view. 

Many small Buddhist statues by the road side

Finally on the right path. The trail largely follows the road up to the top with plenty of detours and trails that cut the corners off. I'm am not sure if the road is in use but I didn't see any traffic on the majority of the road. 

田ノ浦阿弥陀堂 篠栗四国第七番札所

A small Buddhist shrine 

This Buddhist temple was large and very impressive. 三角寺(仙龍寺) 篠栗四国霊場 第六十五番札所 It is well worth exploring up deep into the temple to see the waterfall and statues. 

This area was fairly straightforward. Just a matter of following either the mountain sign from earlier or these green signs. It is a shame I couldn't find a copy of the map that they refer to. 


The road I came down on. It must be nice to live up here in the mountains. 

A small clearing in the forest
 One of the huge amount of detours. This was a small cave with a Buddhist shrine.

The steep last leg of the climb up the mountain. 

Almost there! 
The sign for the summit of Wakasugiyama

Another sign for the top of the mountain

The course ends here
A temple on the summit

This temple はさみ岩 can be found by going down the stairs next to the shrine directly on the summit. There is some some rock climbing involved in exploring the whole mountain.

The ladder was longer than can be seen here
A tight spot! My backpack even got stuck

After coming out of the temple and the rock face I carried on over the mountain ridge. I found this shrine with this interesting statue. There is a staircase leading down. However I choose to go directly behind the statue and follow the mountain ridge down. 

It has a face!


After along the ridge and through the forest for sometime I came to another Buddhist temple, 養老ヶ滝. This was the last major site to see before descending through farmland towards JR Sasaguri station. 

After reaching the station I crossed the train tracks and walked a very short distance to this public bath and Spa オアシス篠栗. It was great value at only 330 Yen. Shampoo and body wash were provided and there was a good variety of baths to try.  


Sasaguri station

It was a great hike and I was surprisingly tired by the end. It wasn't too difficult to follow and plenty to see on the way. I highly recommend the public bath at the end of the hike. The full photo album can be viewed here