Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Solo Hike in Saga: Kinryusan 金立山 and a few others (Hinokumayama 日の隈山, Shogendake 正現岳 and Kanashikishiyama 金敷城山) 2020.10.10

Solo Hike in Saga: Kinryusan 金立山 and a few others (Hinokumayama 日の隈山, Shogendake 正現岳 and Kanashikishiyama 金敷城山) 2020.10.10

After a few weeks visiting some really impressive Volcanoes in Kumamoto and Kagoshima/Miyazaki I decided to stay closer to home as a typhoon seemed to bring unpredictable weather (I was thinking of Kaimondake but I will go back there in November sometime it will quite the mission!) So I went to Saga and explored the mountains in this area. 

I first explored a small park "Hinokuma Park 日の隈公園" Which also had a small called Hinokumayama 日の隈山. It had nice views and was quite easy. A good one for families I think.

After that I headed for Kinryu park 金立公園-金立山いこいの広場 and the starting point for Kinryuyama. The park has great facilities and also historic sites. I started on up to Seigeninaka Shrine and then on up to Shogendake 正現岳 and Kinryusan 金立山. I ate lunch overlooking the mountains a great place for a break. After this I decided to head to Kanashikishiroyama 金敷城山 (long name in English!) and then down to Saga. On the way down I passed to cute lady hikers who screamed when they saw me! They thought I was a wild boar! Do I look like a pig...haha. Luckily on the way I found an Onsen Amadi. This is the same company as I have used in Haruda however this one didn't have a bus to the station and some of the baths your out of order. I think it is overpriced and they should consider making it cheaper. Then a long, long walk to Saga station.

I don't recommend the route I use on my Solo hikes as I like to go off trail and explore a lot but I do think Kinryusan is a great hike and well worth it!

As usual click on the Yamap link to see the route map





Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Mt. Aso 阿蘇山 Nakadake 中岳 and Takadake 高岳: The Volcano is calm

 Mt. Aso 阿蘇山 Nakadake 中岳 and Takadake 高岳: The Volcano is calm (For now) 2020.10.3

Mt. Aso 阿蘇山 is the largest active volcano in Japan and one of the biggest in the world. For a long time is has been on high alert due to volcanic activity in the magma chamber deep in the earth. However recently it has been much calmer and as a result the warning level has been decreased which gives access to the hiking trails to Nakadake 中岳 and Takadake 高岳 as well as the main crater. 

We parked up just before the main area. The closest car park opens from 8:30am only and coats more as the last part of the road is a toll road. We hiked up to Nakadake the route was steep and rocky and the views of the main Aso crater were amazing. Takadake was covered in thick cloud cover but luckily the clouds parted as we reached the summit so it was OK. I then went a random route off the main path and found deer foot prints. Eventually we headed back down to the crater area which had opened up so we went very close to the crater and peered inside. My daughter wanted to see bright green sulphur but unfortunately we could only really was clouds of steam and gas. 

I highly recommend people make the trip while it is open! Aso is a wonderful place to visit. Visit the link for the route map and more pictures! 

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Kirishima hiking: Mt Takachiho 高千穂峰(霧島山) and wonderful views of volcanoes! 2020/9/27

 Kirishima hiking: Mt Takachiho 高千穂峰(霧島山) and wonderful views of volcanoes! 2020/9/27

We woke in the night to get a view of the stars. It was wonderful so many stars it looked like a planetarium. We slept a little more then I woke had a coffee and we set of for Mt. Takachiho. 

The hiking was tough going and very rocky. The ground was covered in rough volcanic rock and pumice. The safest route was clearly making of yellow dots painted on the rocks however it still required caution. We reached the old shrine and then headed up to Mt. Takechiho's summit. The views from the top were breath-taking. It was a fantastic view of the no go area of Kirishima and the volcanoes of Nakadake and Shinmoedake which is a very active volcano and was bellowing out steam and gas. 

The hike down was slippery and it really helped having hiking poles and hiking boots.

Click on the title link to see the route map on the Yamap site. 







Kirishima: Hiking Karakunidake 韓国岳(霧島山) and Edbinodake えびの岳 2020/9/26

 Kirishima: Hiking Karakunidake 韓国岳(霧島山) and Edbinodake えびの岳 2020/9/26

For this hike we drove down to the Ebino plateau to hike Karakunidake.

We parked at the main Ebino plateau car park and hiked up directly to Karakunidake. On the way up we found a mother deer and her faun, the faun looked a little scared but the mother was obviously used to seeing hikers on the trail. We got some great views on the way up however we soon entered the clouds which greatly impaired our view. We reached the summit however with no views to see we headed towards Onami lake. We ate lunch with a good view of the lake and then went towards Ebinodake. The hike there was wonderful. The forests around Kirishima are beautiful with lots of moss carpeting the trees and vines growing. Lots of colour and very vibrant. To get to Ebinodake I decided to cut across to save time, this was ok at the start up it soon became challenging. I would recommend to stay on the trail.

After hiking we went to a local supermarket and then to Hinamori campsite. We stayed in a trailer house and set up a BBQ and campfire and enjoyed sitting on the decking area watching the flames and listening to rock guitar music on low volume.

As always click on the link title to see the route map on the Yamap site






Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Return to Tara : One of the best in Kyushu 多良岳・経ヶ岳 2020/9/19 & 20

Return to Tara : One of the best in Kyushu 多良岳・経ヶ岳

2020/9/19 & 20

For the silver week holiday I decided to return to Tara which I first hiked back in May of 2019. The area is an ancient long deceased volcano with a wonderfully old forest. Moss grows everywhere and there are large boulders and cliffs. This time we used Yamap which made planning the route much easier as it is fairly easy to get lost. We started walking from Tara station and first hiked up through the countryside with lots of people saying hello and waving to us. An elderly man called Ikeda-san crossed the road to meet us to give us some fresh Mochi and to wish us well on our adventure. The people of Tara are very friendly! We continued on to Nakayama camp ground. Last year we we were impressed with how modern it is. Unfortunately the site had since been hit with heavy rain and landslides so the roads to the campsite were closed and they were badly damaged. After that we headed up to the Kinsenji shrine and mountain hut. We greeted the huts warden and paid the 500Yen camping fee before pitching our tents. We decided on hiking the longer route to Kyougatake passing a serious of other mountains. The views from the summit are breath taking!

As always click on the title above to visit the Yamap site for the full route map and lots more pictures!




We hiked back and dropped of our gear. We greeted the other visitors in the mountains cabin and sat down in front of the log fire for a chat. Great people and I hope to see them again!


The night was a good temperature and easy to sleep. In the morning we woke with the sunrise and had our morning coffee. We then hiked Taradake and another serious of mountains. Taradake has a large shrine at the summit. We continued the hike and came back near a cliff wall past many Buddha statues.




We finished the hike by heading back to Tara station passing lots more hikers on the way. Tara is simply one of the best hiking areas in Kyushu with lots of rock climbing and ropes and chains. The mountain hut with its log fire is a great place to drink and merrily talk with other mountains enthusiasts! Great views and a great ancient feel.



Sunday, 30 August 2020

Nakutareyama 成竹山 2020.8.29

Nakutareyama 成竹山 2020.8.29

We went to Nakagawa to 中ノ島公園 a river park which is very popular in the summer with families for river play and there is also a small vegetable shop there. I headed out hiking to Nakitareyama. 

Instead of following the standard trails I went "off trail" and followed old paths and ended up hiking through the woods. The viewpoint was impressive and well worth a visit. After the hike I went to the river park and walked around the shrine and up the river. I ended the day a Fukunoyu in Kasuga for more ice cream and beer!

There is a Nakagawa city bus service that goes to the park and the trail head for this mountain. You can find more info. here

As always you can view the route map I used on the Yamap site. I highly recommend downloading the app to your smartphone and using one of the designated trails. 

Thursday, 27 August 2020

Chikushino hiking: Miyajidake 宮地岳 and Nitayama ニタ山 2020.8.22

Chikushino hiking: Miyajidake 宮地岳 and 

Nitayama ニタ山 2020.8.22

A morning hike in Chikushino city. We hiked up Nitayama and then to Miyajidake. The route was overgrown in many places and there were large cobwebs over the trail. Luckily we had hiking poles to get rid of the webs and help clear away the vines over the trail. As we started the hike some old people playing gate ball shouted to warn us of Mamushi (Pit vipers). We didn't see any snakes but the large horse flies were a constant nuisance! A nice trail but it may be better to do it after the summer. 

As always click on the link description to go to the Yamap post for the trail map and more pictures. 


Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Iimoriyama 飯盛山 to Takasuyama 高祖山 to Kanodake 叶岳 2020.8.16

Iimoriyama 飯盛山 to Takasuyama 高祖山 to Kanodake 

叶岳 2020.8.16

At the end of the Obon break I went for a trail run over Iimoriyama and Takasusan. I started out from Hashimoto station and ran in a big circle which also brought me back here again at the end. I first ran to Iimori shrine which is a beautiful shrine. The climb for Iimoriyama is steep but the views are good. I actually found the best views at nearby Hinatayama which I had never been to before. It is very easy to get to Hinatayama and well worth it. After that I ran to Koshidake and then round to Takasusan. I ran down to the river following a mountain stream and then hiked up to Kanodake. The route I used to climb up to Kanodake is very steep with Lots of steps! Kanodake has a large shrine on the top and there are a number of choices to hike down. I choose to hike down via Mt. Ura, it is a small peak with no view and was honestly not really worth it. The route was slippy with no ropes and lots of overgrown ferns to wade through. The worst bit was the spiders, lots of them everywhere and I must have walked into at least 30 large webs, it was like Mirkwood from the Hobbit!!! I came down and ran back to Hashimoto station. There are many convenience stores on the way so I stopped for some Skal (The best soda!) and was happy to arrive at Hashimoto station. It really makes you appreciate vending machines being everywhere with cold drinks to refresh you, there are so many more here in Japan than back home in the UK and they have a much better selection of drinks!

Click here or on the heading for a link to the Yamap post!

Friday, 31 July 2020

Mekubariyama 高宮山, 小鷹城山, 目配山

Mekubariyama 高宮山, 小鷹城山, 目配山

I first attempted Mekubariyama a few weeks ago in the middle of the crazy rain storms which have proved hugely destructive to Kyushu's rural areas and hiking trails. I had to abandon that attempt because of debris from landslides and parts of the trail collapsing right in front of me! You can view that attempt here

For this attempt the route is still badly damaged especially the end where parts of the road have completely fallen away however it was OK to hike and a great trail as well. I bumped into a family of wild boar which looked at me grunted and scampered into the forest just before I was able to get a photo. A little further on I saw what I thought was a rock but then its head emerged from the tall grass to reveal a large deer. Lots of wonderful wild life and a great mountain to visit. On the way back to the shrine parking area I stopped by another small mountain and an ancient Kofun tomb. As always click on the title to see the yamap post and trail map. Enjoy!