Sunday 17 November 2019

Kaimondake 開聞岳 Hiking 2019/11/15

Kaimondake 開聞岳 Kagoshima Hiking 2019/11/15

Kaimondake is an active volcano at the very southern point of the island of Kyushu in Kagoshima prefecture. The last eruption occurred in the year 885 however it is still very much an active volcano. Amazingly evidence of this last eruption can still be found around the mountain the area is still active. The mountain has a beautiful shape and is sometimes known as the "Fuji of Satsuma" because it's shape resembles that of Mt. Fuji. 

Getting there: We went by car and parked at the Kaimonsanrokufureai Park かいもん山麓ふれあい公園. Here there is a campsite which I stayed in which has basic facilities and was very reasonably priced. I then went back to Kagoshima by train and used JR Kaimon station 開聞駅 it takes about 20 minutes to wall to the park and stage one of the hiking from here. Be aware though that there aren't many services per day so check, also IC cards do not work past Ibusuki station 指宿駅 so you will need to get a numbered ticket as you get on the train and pay when you arrive. The station is unmanned

The view of Kaimondake from across Ikeda lake 池田湖. Legend has it that a large monster similar to Nessie in Loch Ness in scotland lives here. 

We parked the car and started heading up through the park towards Kaimondake. The impressive shape looked easy to climb. Although we would find it more challenging than expected. 

Our hike started properly at the 2nd point. Just 3.6km to go to reach the Summit! The hike starts easy climbing through a clear forest. There were a number of trees how had fallen across the trail so we needed to watch our heads! 

At stop point 5 we got our first glimpse of the views of the ocean and the lands beyond. There is a bench here so we took at view minutes to rest before venturing on. The rock became a lot more rocky from here and slippery as well. 

From point 7 with only a short way to go we could see the debris left behind from the last major eruption of Kaimondake. We had to climb large boulders some with deep holes underneath. I was sure to keep an eye on Leina for of her disappearing down some of the holes! 

The sea was to the left of us and it felt a little disorientating at times as if we were hanging over the ocean! 

The last sections from point 8 and 9 had plenty of ropes, ladders and steps to climb as well as more great views every so often. 

Finally we reached the summit. The view are stunning with great views of Ikeda lake in the distance. There we lots of other college students who had also hiked up on the day and helped us out by lending us a lighter to help get our stove started. 

After eating lunch and enjoying the wonderful views we started the hike down. There doesn't appear to be any other routes so we hiked down the one we came up. When we hit the area pictured to the left our pace dropped as it was very slippery and dangerous and we had to be very careful not to fall! 
 After the descent we went to the campsite and got a pitch. I set up camp and then we went in search of an Onsen. The sun was setting giving wonderful views ocean and Kaimondake. We visited this hot spring ヘルシーランド 温泉保養館 which had wonderful views of the ocean 

 After reaching my tent I enjoyed the evening alone and undisturbed gazing at the stars and eating dinner. 

In the morning I had to dismantle the tent and get a move on to JR Kaimon station to catch the early train at 6:55. I made it with five minutes to spare. The station was very small on a single track line. I snapped the last few shots of Kaimondake as the train headed towards Kagoshima city. 

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