Monday 30 November 2020

Miyama Hiking: End of Autumn Solo hike to find the last breath of Autumn at Kiyomizuyama 清水山 2020/11/29

 Miyama Hiking: End of Autumn Solo hike to find the last breath of Autumn at Kiyomizuyama 清水山 2020/11/29

After a lively Saturday group hike and with my kids away for the day, I went off for some "me" time and did a Solo hike in Miyama up Kiyomizuyama 清水山. The area also some beautiful statues and a large temple called Kiyomizudera 本吉山 清水寺 with a tall three story pagoda. The mountains are not too tall and make for a very pleasant walk.

I started from JR Setaka station 瀬高駅. There are local buses that run from here however I didn't want to wait so I walked from the station to the mountains and back again later on, it took about 45mins so it wasn't so bad.

I first visited the temple and then went up Kiyomizuyama 清水山 and the visited two others. The route down from the last mountain was very unused a tough so if you follow that route be prepared for lots of tree branches and debris and no signs or even tape to follow.

This is my last hike of the first year using Yamap application. I started last December and since then I have reached 171 mountains peaks, hiked 1190km in distance and climbed up 78,500 meters in Elevation gain. My target for year 2 on Yamap is to reach 250 mountain peaks in Kyushu! 

As usual click on the title to see the route map




Monday 23 November 2020

Kaimondake solo hike and camp 開聞岳 2020/11/22 & 23

 Kaimondake solo hike and camp 開聞岳 2020/11/22 & 23

Using the super cheap JR ticket I went down to Kaimon in Ibuski, Kagoshima. The Shinkansen down to Kagoshima Chuo is easy but the local train to Kaimon take two hours so I studied some Japanese, listened to music and still had a hour left! 

Once at Kaimon I went to the camp site at Kaimonsanrokufureai Park かいもん山麓ふれあい公園 they have a great free site area with very well maintained pitches and facilities however it cost 1800yen so a little pricy compared to the mountain sites I am used to. The check in was 1pm and I had to take a number and wait to register. You need to fill out a simple form with your name, phone number and address. After setting up my tent and stowing the bulky items I set off for Kaimondake. 

There is only one main route up Kaimon and it is not too difficult. It starts with a forest walk with the biggest challenge being the volcanic gravel which can be slippy. Just over halfway up it changes to large rocks and boulders, this is the remains of a pyroclastic flow that occurred in the last eruption which took place in the year 885. This area is ok but closer to the took the rocks are usually wet and very slippery. There are also a few ladders to climb and some easy roped sections. The top has great views, however today it was totally obscured but cloud cover. I have added some photos from my climb last year to give you a better idea of what it all looks like. A man at the camp site told me it would take 5 hours to hike and Yamap says just over four hours, it took me 2 hours and 45mins up and down. 

Kaimondake is very much an active volcano. The Japanese Meteorological Agency describe it as having the “potential for increased activity”. Generally a volcano needs to have had no activity for minimum of 10,000 years and have no access to the magma chamber to be considered extinct. Geological time is so vast it is impossible for us to imagine. 

After the hike I went back to camp, I tested out the new sleeping (But it was actually too hot!) and the tent performed well. There were many families but lucky it wasn’t too busy or loud. Ibusuki is very dark at night so I could see many stars. The morning I got up early and packed away and headed down for the 7am train.

Click here to see the route map and yamap post






Hikosan 英彦山 (中岳) (南岳) (北岳) Family hike at the end of the Autumn season 2020/11/21

Hikosan 英彦山 (中岳) (南岳) (北岳) Family hike at the end of the Autumn season 2020/11/21

For the first day of the long weekend we went to Hikosan. This is my second hike at Hikosan, the first was two years ago in September. For this hike we took a faster route which went from the large shrine at the bottom directly up to Hikosan Nakadake. When we got to the top we saw a hiker who was hiking bare foot, with no shoes or socks! He said he always hikes like that! Fun fact, Hikosan used to be an active volcano 400 thousand years ago! It was a great rocky hike and the girls enjoyed it. 

Leina though decided to wear shorts to look like the instagramer YamaShiori... but it was a little cold for it! Actually she didn't want to come so to convince her I had to buy two packets of Chocobaby, that was her price for coming!

Click on the title to see the Yamap map and more pictures 




Monday 16 November 2020

Saga hiking: Niiyama area: Dokiyama 土器山 (Kawarakeyama), Sarudake 猿岳 and Koshimakiyama 腰巻山 2020/11/14

Saga hiking: Niiyama area: Dokiyama 土器山 (Kawarakeyama), Sarudake 猿岳 and Koshimakiyama 腰巻山 2020/11/14

A family hike in Saga's Niiyama area in search of more beautiful Autumn colours. 

We parked in Niiyama park 仁比山公園 and hiked from Hatenjinja 土器山八天神社 up to Kawarakeyama (Dokiyama on Yamap). The route is rocky and very tight in places! The views from the top were great though. 

We continued on to Sarudake and the views were also good from there as well. After that my wife and daughter decided to head back and I continued on to Koshimakiyama. The route wasn't too difficult but did involve going up and down quite a lot. 

After returning to Niiyama park we stopped for lunch. I tested out the new Evernew frying pan to make bacon sandwiches. After lunch we headed up to Niiyama shrine and to see the former residence of Genboku Ito 伊東玄朴旧宅. There is also Kunenan gardens 九年庵 in this area that opens for only 10 days a year, however this year it will remain closed due to the Corona virus. The red leaves around Niiyama shrine 仁比山神社 were breath-taking! We finished the adventure at Sefuri Sazanka onsen ひがしせふり温泉山茶花の湯.

Click on the title link to see the route map.




Asakura hiking: Akizuki, Koshosan 古処山 to Egawadake 江川岳, 屏山 2020/11/11

 Asakura hiking: Akizuki, Koshosan 古処山 to Egawadake 江川岳, 屏山 2020/11/11

I had a mid week day off! So I went in search of more wonderful Autumn hiking and ended up in Akizuki in Asakura. I used the Amatetsu Amagi railway line from Kiyama station and changed to a local bus at Amagi station. I got off at the Notori bus stop and started my hike from there. 

I hiked up to Koshosan first and then over to Heizan and finally to Egawadake. A beautiful hike and wonderful weather made me feel lucky. I wanted to carry on to Umamiyama however it would have added two hours to my hike. Maybe in the future I can start at a different point and hike over the mountains without the need to hike back. 

After hiking I came back down into Akizuki and visited the castle ruins 秋月城 長屋門(裏御門) and shrine which is famous for its red Japanese maple leaves however I think it was too early to see the best colours as the leaves had just started to change. In a few weeks it will be amazing! 

I took the bus back to Amagi and went to an Onsen hot spring: 卑弥呼ロマンの湯 its cheap and the water is great, it even has a slight smell of sulphur.

Click on the title to see the route map of this hike 




Monday 9 November 2020

Raizan 雷山 and Iharayama 井原山 Autumn Hike 2020.11.8

 Raizan 雷山 and Iharayama 井原山 Autumn Hike 2020.11.8

I set out today to hunt for some more Autumn colours. I headed to Itoshima in Fukuoka and went to Raizan. This area is famous for its Autumn colours in particular the Raizansennyoji Taihioin temple with some truly beautiful red maple leaves. I took the bus from Chikuzen-Maebaru station which costs only 200Yen. 

I set off for Iharayama first, along the way I went past the closed trail. This trail was closed because of how dangerous it is to hike. An unfortunate accident occurred a few months ago when the editor of Noboro magazine died along the trail. There was some colours by the sign now clearly saying the route is closed. The route was very beautiful but too risky for hiking you can view the route here: 

I hiked up Iharayama first and luckily enjoyed some good views despite some haze caused by yellow sand. I then hiked over to Raizan. On the way down I took a new route down along a mountain road. The Autumn colours were great and very beautiful along the trail and around the shrines at the bottom. After hiking I went to the Temple enjoyed walking around the garden for 100Yen entrance fee (400Yen if you want to enter the Temple). 

I was too quick and unable to kill enough time so I ended up walking all the way back to the station! However the traffic going up the mountain was so bad I am sure you the bus would have been badly delayed. 

Click on the link to see the route map used for this hike






Wednesday 4 November 2020

Kumamoto hiking: Tamana, Shodaisan: Kanondake 観音岳 and two other mountains 丸山 筒ヶ岳 2020.11.3

 Kumamoto hiking: Tamana, Shodaisan: Kanondake 観音岳 and two other mountains 丸山 筒ヶ岳 2020.11.3

It was culture day which is a national holiday in Japan. We drove down to Kumamoto to the Onsen (Hot spring) town of Tamana. Shodaisan is a prefectural nature park which a number of smallish mountains. We parked near Rengein Tanjoji Okunoin a large temple. There is a campsite and a park visitor centre nearby and lots of parking. We first hiked up to Maruyama and then continued to the main peak of Kanondake. Are taking some photos and a short rest we went to the last mountain of Tsutsugatake. We hiked back down following a route to the campsite. 

After the hike we went to 菊水ロマンの湯. The area is next to a historical park (Higo Kodai no Mori) with many Kofun burial tombs. There are also a number of work shops and educational places there there is even audio guide which has an English option! Right next to the historical park is a farm shop with fresh locally produced food and on the second floor is an onsen. The onsen is small but cheap at 400Yen for a bath and shampoo etc. provided. 

A great way to spend culture day! Click on title to link to the route map!




Monday 2 November 2020

Tsurumidake 鶴見岳 to Yufudake 由布岳 and back to Beppu city 2020.10.31

 Tsurumidake 鶴見岳 to Yufudake 由布岳 and back to Beppu city 2020.10.31

I took advantage of the cheap travel deal JR have at the moment and got a north Kyushu ticket and used it for a trip to Beppu. I travelled to Beppu on the first express JR Kyushu sonic train in the morning and from Beppu station used the #36 Bus to get to the Torii bus stop. From there I hiked up to Tsurumidake and then across to Yufudake. I caught the bus back from the Yufudake trail head (Unfourtuntately I got a slow bus back by mistake so it took over an hour!) 

The mountains were beautiful with fantastic Autumn colours and great views. I found the route going down Tsurumidake to be a little tough and hard to follow but it was OK. The route up to Yufudake was tiring with lots of ropes and rocks to climb nearer the top so bettter come prepared with gloves! 

The views were excellent though so it was well worth it! Mt. Yufu and Mt. Tsurumi are actually active volcanoes but it has been 2000years and 1200years respectively since their last eruptions which in geological time is not long ago! Click on the title for the link to the trail map.