Thursday, 23 September 2021

Autumn Equinox hike at Togamidake 砥上岳 2021/9/23

 Autumn Equinox hike at Togamidake 砥上岳 2021/9/23

It's the Autumn Equinox the day when the day and night are the same length and it marks the beginning of Autumn when the nights will be longer than the days until the Spring equinox next year. 

We went to Togamidake for a next half day out enjoying the mountain and then heading to michi no eki (道の駅 筑前みなみの里) in Chikuzen for some lunch and fresh locally made soft cream. 

I took a new route down which is a real hiking trail but unfortunately not included on Yamap. You can download this my route if you want to follow it. This is a lovely area to light hike and enjoy the rural atmosphere. Sometimes it takes a few repeat hikes to work out the best trail. I think this is the best way to approach Togamidake. It is also easy to do from Chikuzen-Yamae station 筑前山家駅 check out the past hikes on the mountains index page. 

Click on the title or here for the route map and more images 




Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Kuju Hiking and camping in early Autumn 坊がつる 大船山 立中山 三俣山 指山 2021.09.19 > 21

 Kuju Hiking and camping in early Autumn  坊がつる 大船山 立中山 三俣山 指山 2021.09.19 > 21

With good weather forecast for the weekend, I headed to Kuju to hike some more mountains and camp at Bogatsuru again. 

I caught an express train to Bungo-Nakamura and then used a community bus to get to Chojabaru and hiked to Bogatsuru. Day 1 I hiked up to Taisenzan and over to Tattyuyama. The route went through lots of long marsh grasses and muddy rivers. I even saw a small common toad which startled me as it leapt across the trail. On day 2 I got up early, made some coffee and headed out. I hiked up to Mimatayama this time in perfect weather. I climbed down a dangerous route by accident because I followed the wrong trail and had to climb down the side of the mountain. I then hiked off to Yubiyama which is a very pleasant and not a difficult hike. I got back to camp as clouds had started to roll into the valley. I decided to use the Onsen at the mountain lodge, It costs 500 Yen and is very rustic. You cannot use Shampoo or Body soap so I rinsed off and then sunk into the warm water, It was wonderful. I got back to camp and ate as I watched even more clouds flooded in until I was engulfed in a thick mist. 

The weather remained misty and the wind picked up throughout the night. I woke on Day 3 and packed up early as there seemed no point in hanging around with this weather. I hiked back to Chojabaru to catch the bus. Unfortunately the bus was very slow to arrive at the station so I missed my express train and had to use the local train instead. Oh well it was a great trip and very nice hiking!

As usual click on the title or here to see the route map and more pictures 







Exploring Kawara: Osakayama and many small mountains and a wonderful rural atmosphere! 飯岳山(大坂山) 2021.09.11

Exploring Kawara: Osakayama and many small mountains and a wonderful rural atmosphere! 飯岳山(大坂山) 2021.09.11

I got up early and headed inland to explore and hike around the mountains of Kawara. The main aim was to hike Idekesan also known as Osakayama. This mountain is part of the Kyushu Nature trail which spans all over Kyushu. 

I started at Kawara station and first hiked to a small shrine before going to Nishiyama and Atagoyama. I then hiked over to Osakayama to enjoy the great views from there and Yakusinokashira. I then went down past many small mountains to reach the Wagie-no-sato (roadside farm shop) A great stop point with lots of locally produced bento boxes and farm produce. Then I went to explore Kagamiyamadai Shrine before walking along the Kibe river back to Kawara station and off through Tagawa and Iizuka enjoying the scenery from the small local trains. 

I highly recommend this hike if you are looking for somewhere different to go and enjoy farm shops!

As usual click on the title or here to see the route map and more pictures. 




Thursday, 9 September 2021

Transition to Autumn hike, Kurokamiyama and Seriasan 英山・本城岳(前黒髪)・黒髪山・蛇焼山・後黒髪東峰・青螺御前・青螺山 2021/9/5

 Transition to Autumn hike, Kurokamiyama and Seriasan 英山・本城岳(前黒髪)・黒髪山・蛇焼山・後黒髪東峰・青螺御前・青螺山 2021/9/5

The season is changing from Summer to Autumn and I felt it for the first time today at Kurokamiyama. Mushrooms everywhere! Every steps I would find a new one, there were so many that eventually I had to stop taking pictures and just get on with hiking. It was also cooler today and there were a few moments I even felt a little cold. 

The weather unfortunately was cloudy all day and for the most part dull and overcast. It made some of the wonderful views darker and not as spectacular as they really are. Kurakamiyama is one of my favourite mountains to hike but the weather definately did its best to spoil it. Still it was a good challenging with lots of ropes and chains to climb up and down the route I used after Seirasan has as little difficult to follow and I think it had been damaged by the recent torrential rainfall last month. 




Sunny Sarakurayama: Exploring Kitakyushu again 花尾山・内藤陣山・帆柱山・椎ノ巨木山・権現山・皿倉山・茶臼山・乳山・熊本山

 Sunny Sarakurayama: Exploring Kitakyushu again 花尾山・内藤陣山・帆柱山・椎ノ巨木山・権現山・皿倉山・茶臼山・乳山・熊本山 2021/8/28

The rain has finally stopped! It has been on and off rain for the past few weeks that honestly felt more like rainy season than the real rainy season did. The temperature luckily was still cool so I decided to grab a train and head off to Sarakurayama in Kitakyushu. 

I took a bus from Kurosaki station to Hanao Nishi Tozanguchi and started my hike from there. I explored a whole bunch of mountains around Sarakurayama using paths I haven't tried before. Hiking this mountain is very easy there are loads of routes but most are well signposted. I found lots of wonderful mushrooms, stunning ancient trees and even saw a Japanese weasel (Itachi イタチ) It ran across the trail about one metre in front of me, too fast for me to get a picture. 

On the way down I explored some of the smaller mountains, one turned out to be a shrine but the second was in a park and had tall view point with a great view of Sarakurayama. I ended the hike at space world station (They really need to think of a new name for this one!). A great hike to finish August.




Summit to Sea in Kitakyushu Adachiyama and Tonoueyama 砲台山・妙見山・足立山(霧ヶ岳)・冨野山・谷山・大台ヶ原・戸ノ上山 2021/8/10

 Summit to Sea in Kitakyushu Adachiyama and Tonoueyama 砲台山・妙見山・足立山(霧ヶ岳)・冨野山・谷山・大台ヶ原・戸ノ上山 2021/8/10

When I came to Japan I first lived in Kitakyushu city. The first mountain that I went to was Adachiyama 13 years ago (The first I walked up was actually Daimonjiyama in Kyoto 16 years ago). Back then I didn't have Yamap or a smartphone today thanks to technology I could see more routes so I started from Abeyamakoen station and hiked up to Adachiyama from there. After that I hiked over the mountains to Tonoueyama. 

There were a lot of spider webs across the trail so I walked into them and ended up with a yellow and black spider right on my face many times. The Typhoon had left a lot of debris with leaves and branches everywhere. The ground was moist and in places very slippy. I actually fell on the way down the mountain and landed on my back, ouch! 

I came down to Moji and walked to the docks area and walked along looking at the boats and ships entering the Kanmon strait I walked along to the Teriha spa resort which has a nice selection indoor and outdoor baths.




Exploring Munakata east side Gongenyama (Niidateyama, Shintateyama) 貴船山・明天寺山・丸山・平山・権現山(新立山)・高田山 2021/8/7

Exploring Munakata east side Gongenyama (Niidateyama, Shintateyama) 貴船山・明天寺山・丸山・平山・権現山(新立山)・高田山 2021/8/7

I cancelled my plan to visit Kuju for camping due to the approaching Typhoon and bad weather (Seems to happen every time I have time off!) So I visited Munakata city and headed east. The mountain area was not close to the train line so I walked through the rural area through farms and countryside. I first visited a small mountain near a tennis court before heading to the main mountain area. The smaller mountains had no view but when I got to Gogenyama (Or is it Niidateyama?) I was relieved because the view was great. I hiked down hoping to cut through to another mountain area but I couldn't find a trail. I walked back through more farms to a small residential area where I found a bus stop and noticed another small hill on Yamap so went to explore and found a burial mound (Kofun) in them middle of houses. I got some banana milk (It tasted fake but because also like banana heaven) and got the bus back to the station.




Sekinoyama on the border of Izuka and Tagawa 関の山・金石山・大山 2021/7/31

Sekinoyama on the border of Izuka and Tagawa 関の山・金石山・大山 2021/7/31

We parked up at the Izuka side parking area which opens from 8:30am. We hiked up the right side route which was steep on places with the huge sound od cicada screeching and singing all around us. We reached the top of Sekinoyama which has a treeless top with good views. 

After a short break we headed off to Oyama, the views were wonderful from there and there was shade with a cool breeze. A group of other hikers were there all talking in good spirits. After hiking we headed to おじゅごんち市場からすお 農産物等直売所 a road side farm shop in Tagawa. Because Tagawa is famous for once being a coal mining town they sell a special black coal soft cream which tastes a little of chocolate.




Monday, 26 July 2021

Flower hike: The Surprise hurricane lilies of Iharayama! Ookitsunekamisori in bloom 井原山 2021/7/25

 Flower hike: The Surprise hurricane lilies of Iharayama! Ookitsunekamisori in bloom 井原山 2021/7/25

After a few days of resting from the Daisen and Unzen trips this week I headed Itoshima on search of a seasonal treat. At this time of year some mountains here in Kyushu are set a blaze with wonderful redish orangeish flowers carpeting the forest floor. These flowers are called Ookitsunekamisori or Hurricane lilies in English and their scientific name is Lycoris sanguinea. The flower is native to east Asia. Although their English name is Hurricane lilies I have decided to call them Fox flowers, much nicer I think. 

The rest if the hike was also great with perfect weather and distant views from the summit of Iharayama. It was very busy though so I had to be a little more careful on the trail, still I managed to keep my pace up for most of the hike and finished in plenty of time for the bus. 

My advice is to get out an find the seasonal features of the mountains as they don't last long and you will feel lucky to have been able to experience them.



Mt. Daisen in Tottori (”Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kyushu anymore!”) 山(弥山)・寂静山 2021/7/22

 Mt. Daisen in Tottori (”Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kyushu anymore!”) 山(弥山)・寂静山 2021/7/22

We left the safety and security of our Kyushu home on a night bus to visit Tottori and hike Mt. Daisen. The night bus was long and I really couldn't sleep but when we arrived at Yonago I felt ready to hike.

In the morning we visited the ruins of Yonago castle before getting the rental car and driving to Daisen. We parked near Daisenji and started the hike. It was very busy with lots of people of varying levels of experience hiking up together. There were a large number of bees and hornets but they mostly didn't bother us. The views from the top were wonderful and magnificent with the clouds coming over the mountains and lots of wild flowers about. We hiked down using a route to Daisenji temple and shrine and saw a sign warning of bears! Surprising as there no bears in Kyushu. 

After the hike we visited 大山まきばみるくの里 Daisen makiba milk no sato and got some soft cream and a great view of the other side of Daisen along with some happy cows. 

To finish off we went to Kaike onsen which is a popular onsen town on the sea front. Unfortunately even doing all this and eating dinner we still had a long time to kill before the return bus. Still it was a great trip out of Kyushu!

To see the route map click on the title link




Mt. Unzen hiking 野岳・妙見岳・国見岳・普賢岳(雲仙) 2021/7/19

 Mt. Unzen hiking 野岳・妙見岳・国見岳・普賢岳(雲仙) 2021/7/19

I took the day off so decided to head down to Shimabara in Nagasaki prefecture. 

I took the express Kamome train down to Isahaya station and from there I used a bus to Unzen Onsen town. The bus took 80mins which was a long time but well worth it. 

I hiked first up to the cable car car park area ( Closed on this day). On the way I took a small detour up to Nodake to get some great views of Mt. Unzen. After that I hiked up to Myokendake and then over to Kunimidake before finally heading to Fugendake. When heading back it started to rain heavily changing the views and atmosphere radically. The rain soon calmed down and I continued down and due to the rain I even saw a large toad hopping across the trail. 

When I got back down I had little time before the bus so I visited a natural Onsen in the town which cost only 200Yen with 50Yen for Shampoo! Refreshed I headed back to the bus stop.

For the Yamap post with route map click on the title link







Monday, 28 June 2021

 Kurume mountains, still not rainy! 発心山・白山・グライダー山・桝形山・耳納山・兜山・月見山・高良山 2021/6/26

In this (still not) rainy season I took a trip down to Kurume to hike a set of mountains. Actually my plan was to hike Tenpaizan to Kiyama but I changed my mind on the train and stayed on all the way to Kurume. 

I started the hike at around 10:40 which was late compared to when I like to start. I started with the tallest mountain first and went straight up to Hosshinzan. It was a tiring climb but made a little more difficult due to the heat, good job a brought a towel! After enjoying top I hiked along to Korasan. Gliding Mountain was interesting it has panoramic views and I guess it was once a popular place to hand glide from. 

Crossing over the mountains was pretty easy, there is a popular road which says close to the hiking trail. You can sometimes choose to be on the road or use the hiking trail to cut of bends. But some of the forested areas had many spiders, over grown bushes and long grass. I went off the trail to explore a number of times and found other small mountains, an old camp site and many shrines and statues. Eventually I made it to Korasan and went down to the bus stop (It is more frequent than the train) and headed back to Kurume station. 

The best point is I finally hit more than 250 mountains which was my target for the year. So now a new target 275 by December!




Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Rainy season mushroom hike, Bamboo Mushroom 赤城山・城山・金山南岳・金山北岳・弥勒山

 Rainy season mushroom hike, Bamboo Mushroom 赤城山・城山・金山南岳・金山北岳・弥勒山 2021/6/12

It truly finally rainy season! I had seen reports of a strange a rare mushroom in a mountain in Munakata city so I got my rain gear ready and headed off to hunt down the mushroom. 

I found it near the bottom when I heard excited voices of people nearby. I was told that there were more further up so I kept my eyes peeled hunting for more as I hiked. A woman saw one a little way off the trail so I went to confirm it. There were more at the top and I even managed to find two more with white skirts on the other side of the mountain. The mushroom is Phallus indusiatus which according to Wikipedia has many names such as "bamboo mushrooms, bamboo pith, long net stinkhorn, crinoline stinkhorn or veiled lady". The top part the mushroom has a sticky slime which contains spores which are spread by insects that land on the mushroom to feed on the ooze. 

The rest of the hike was also wonderful Mirokuyama surprised me as I didn't expect much but it had many Buddhist statues, a sign and even a small hut on the way down. From there I walked back to Akama station. A wonderful rainy season hike! 

Click on the title to see the route map and Yamap post




Wednesday, 9 June 2021

In hunt of Miyama Kirishima at Hiijidake in Kuju 平治岳 2021/6/5

 In hunt of Miyama Kirishima at Hiijidake in Kuju 平治岳 2021/6/5

Today we got up early (2am) and set off to Oita to hike Hiijidake and see the Miyama Kirishima. Miyama Kirishima is a special species of Alpine Rhododendron that grow at around 1000m altitude and are smaller than typical Rhododendron Azaleas Tsutsuji. The names from Mt. Kirishima where they grow in abundance but the also are a popular sight in the Kuju Mountains and Mt. Unzen as well. 

We got to the Oike pond car park at 4:30am and rested a little until sunrise before setting off to hike Hiijidake. The trail is not too difficult but does involve climbing higher than most trailheads at Kuju. A Utongoshi mountain pass we found Hiijidake covered in bright pink flowers. It is a wonderful thing to see and is very beautiful. 

After coming down we went to visit Oike pond a small pool with beautiful blueish water. From there we went to Meisui waterfall which involved climbing over many fallen trees and ignoring lots of keep out signs. The water was raging and had the same blueish tint.

Please click on the title to see the Yamap link and route map