Miyazaki to Kumamoto, Kyushu, Japan

Saturday 1st June 2024
Well we are wearing down, we are exhausted, running on low battery power and almost ready to come home for a rest, but not quite. Just a couple more adventures to be had first.

Today we got going about 9am, forgot we had to get petrol before we started and struggled to get lunch. We had to try 2 x 7-elevens before we had out lunch sorted. Anyway, today we have a 1.5hr hour drive to the start of our hike. It was only 73km, but travel is so slow here by car even when you pay to go on the expressway.

We arrived at the Kirishima National Park, unfortunately the 12km one way hike from the Visitor Centre to Ebino Plateau was off limits due to volcano activity at Mt Shinmoedake. Instead we chose to climb up the Takachihonomine Ridge to the summit. This is a short but steep hike to the summit via the ridge of the Ohachi crater. The scenery and views were amazing, the colours magnificent. In the end we were more than happy with our days hike. It was 5.84 km return, with an ascent and descent of 593 m and we took a total time of 3hr 14mins. I had a few chats with some Japanese along the trail from Kumamoto, Kagoshima and Miyazaki.

Takachihonomine ridge (1574m) is the place where the gods descended to the earth in the legend of the “Tenson Korin” (Descent of the Heavenly Child). Whether it is due to its rich history or its distinct appearance, the Takachihonomine ridge is undoubtedly the main peak of the Kirishima Mountain Range. The trail begins near the Takachihogawara Visitor Center and goes through a Torii gate (Japanese shrine gate) past the Furumiya-Ato (site of old Kirishima Shrine) and the Ohachi (or Mihachi) volcano before taking one atop the Takachihonomine ridge. The trail becomes rather steep as it emerges from the forested area. As one ascends the brown slope, one will eventually reach Ohachi Peak’s crater, otherwise known as Uma-no-Se, or The Horse- back. The trail on The Horseback is narrow and one should exercise caution duringstrongwindsorthickfog. FromtheHorseback,thetraildescendsinto The Saddleback before continuing up to the summit of the Takachihonomine Ridge. On the summit, one can find the Ama-no-Sakahoko from the Tenson Korin legend. There are many steep slopes on the way to the summit of Takachihonomine Ridge, so please exercise caution as the trail may be slippery.