Hiking the Bull Mountains: Totoro Edition

I went back to Onojo in the south of Fukuoka to go hiking in the Ushikubi・牛頸 area. Some of the trails create the outline of a bull, and Mount. Ushikubi・牛頸山 means Bull’s Neck mountain.

Here is the summit (447m), I love a mountain souvenir! There is a New Year’s wreath, a bucket with small sticks you can take as a summit souvenir, and in the box on the left you can write down your name and the conditions of your trip in the mountain diary.

I have not seen the Totoro films, or have any special attachment to him, but that did not stop me from adding around 3 hours to my trip to go visit him in the forest. It was so fun to see! It’s always fun when people do creative things in nature.

There were many peaks I hit on this hike, but they were not always obvious, with small markers but the trails were really beautiful. Not a ton of views but still nice.

Towards the end there were a lot of bamboo forests.

This is in and around Tenpaizan・天拝山, which is part of the Kyushu Nature Trail that I would love to spend more time on, maybe when the flowers start to come out. You are encouraged not to feed the cats (I saw a lot of) or boars (luckily, no). This was the first time I have seen ume・plum blossoms outside, I definitely never saw them so early in Tokyo. Makes me hopeful spring is here soon. I really love these old maps, I will have to come back later to find everything.

At the end there was a little garden and temple with a small local souvenir shop. You can buy hardboiled eggs for ¥70, but I went for hot fresh genmai amazake・玄米甘酒 with fresh grated ginger. For a sweet they had lunar eclipse manjus, little pastries with purple sweet potato paste inside. It was truly an incredible way to end the 6 hour hike.

I have a pretty big hike coming up so hopefully this was good practice for it!

And as always, here is my route on Yamap.

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