Thursday 7 November 2019

Kuju Hiking くじゅう連山: KIbe 吉部 to Bogatsuru 坊ガツルキャンプ場, camping and hiking Taisen-san 大船山 2019/11/2&3

Kuju Hiking くじゅう連山: Kibe 吉部 to Bogatsuru 坊ガツルキャンプ場, camping and hiking Taisen-san 大船山 2019/11/2&3

Nestled in the centre of the Aso-Kuju National park is a wonderful area that feels very different from hiking from the Makinoto pass. Beautiful forests, rivers waterfalls open up into a large valley with long grashes and marshland. We headed to the area to hike up Taisen-san 大船山 another important mountain in the park and to camp out under the wonderful star filled sky.

The Kibe parking lot to Bogatsuru camp ground 坊ガツルキャンプ場

We started at this parking area 吉部300円駐車場 It was 500Yen for an overnight stay or as the name suggest 300Yen for the day. There are toilets and the owners sell local produce such as fruit and some snacks/drinks etc. We hiked up behind the parking lot to this trailhead.

Not far along the trail we came to the Kurasomenotaki waterfall 暮雨の滝. It is not a tall waterfall bit it is beautifully framed with a backdrop of autumn trees

Eventually we emerged from the forest into a breathtaking valley with the Kuju mountains on the right and the Taisen mountains on the left. The camp ground was just a little further along this trail.

The Bogatsuru 坊ガツルキャンプ場 camp ground is a free camping area which has basic toilets and area to cook and prepare food and a tap with water that you can drink and use for cleaning. The ground is very soft and easy to hammer tent pegs into but was stable. You can safely pitch your tent here are continue exploring the the surrounding area.

The toilet block

We pitched the tent and stored any unneeded weight and headed off to the nearby mountain lodge. My wife decided to stay at the lodge and I camped with the kids. The lodge has an Onsen which costs 500 Yen that anyone can use and also has better toilet facilities. It also has a restaurant and sells some drinks and snacks etc.

The mountain lodge. The route to get there only takes about 15 minutes from Bogatsuru. You can also pitch your tent for a charge however the tent site is small and the ground is very hard and rocky. Inside the lodge you get a space in a large Tatami room which you share with a random group of hikers. The atmosphere is nice.

Bogatsuru camp ground 坊ガツルキャンプ場 to Taisen-san 大船山

After getting set up at the lodge we headed back to the camp ground and started our hike of Mt. Taisen 大船山, The start of the hike is just up through the campground and the signs are in both English and Japanese. The climb gets rockier the higher you go up. 

The rocky parts were slippery but this was more of an issue on the climb down than the climb up. The forest floor was carpeted in beautiful red leaves. 

There are great views along the hike. Near the top we came to a cross road with the trail to Taisen-san to the right. It was a good place for a short rest.  

A panoramic of the view. Taisen is on the right. We also got beautiful views of the Kuju mountains across the valley.

Finally we reached the summit of Mt. Taisen 大船山. The top is very rocky and we could see above the clouds in some areas.

Just behind the summit sign there is a small lake in what looks like an old volcanic crater. The trees were very colourful around the lake and the reflection of the sky was nice.

Bogatsuru camp ground 坊ガツルキャンプ場 the night time and hiking back to the car park the next day

The night sky was full of stars it truly was amazing! We sat out and drank hot cocoa watching them. We could see the constellation of Orion right above our tent. The pictures here do not do it justice at all.

We awoke to a cloudy morning. I made coffee and we ate breakfast before dismantling the tent and packing away.

We started out hike back to the car park and chose a different route to get back which had many more Autumn colours.

There was a waterfall signpost in the car park that we missed when we arrived. I walked down to it and was pleasantly surprised to find it was very pretty and also had a nice view of the rivers feeding it.

We went to Chokabaru for an Onsen at a nearby hotel and soothed our aching muscles. Great trip! 

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