Hiking in Kirishima Kinkowan National Park Part 1: 韓国岳・Mount Karakuni Edition

The only good Mondays are vacation Mondays! This was from our hike last week down in the south of Kyushu, in Kagoshima. While I have been typically lucky with the weather while hiking, my luck ran out on this hike! I had chosen Kirishima specifically for the breathtaking views, and I cannot wait to come back to see those views someday because I didn’t see much on this trail. At best, it was cloudy; at worst I couldn’t see 5 meters in from of my face. But! That doesn’t mean it did not have wonderful highlights.

The first part of the hike is known as the lake viewing trail. Luckily, I was able to see a couple lakes after the clouds cleared when we double backed on the trail. Kirishima, like a lot of Japan, is heavy with volcanoes that contribute to the amazing scenery. This area is still quite active! On February 1st, just a few weeks earlier there was enough volcanic activity that some of the trails and roads were too dangerous (lethal levels of toxic emissions) to go on. Which turned out well for me, as the clouds cleared on the way back and I got a peek of the views.

Towards the top, and particularly at the summit, visibility was not great for the most part. The hike up itself wasn’t bad and I just kept thinking about when I could come back next time!

Every time the clouds would pass for an instant I could get an idea of the altitude I was walking through. It was very interesting being around 1700m meters up and not seeing anything around me to give a sense of depth.

Closer to the bottom, I found a really nicely maintained shelter and I took a break from the wind in there. Nearer to the end, I couldn’t believe how much greenery came out of nowhere! As did the sun, so at least I wasn’t in the clouds all day long.

Later on our way to dinner we drove past a look out spot where we could see the mountain I had hiked earlier. Unfortunate that this was the clearest view of it I had gotten all day but such as life! There are so many course to do here that I wouldn’t hesitate to come back and give it another try. Plus, my lucj did change quite a bit the next day.

And here is my course on Yamap!

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