Hiking in Tachibanayama・立花山: Sunrise Edition

There’s a first time for everything, and today was the day I woke up at 3:00am to go chase the sunrise. A few of us avid hikers drove up and made the quick hike up. Full disclosure! Most of these are my incredibly talented friend’s pictures from his amazing camera and the boring unedited ones are mine.

The sun rises very early in the summer so it was a little brighter than we planned on the way up, but incredibly beautiful.

Even at such a low elevation we were above the clouds, which in this sunrise pic look like the ocean I think.

I’ve been to this area a few times, it’s a pretty popular hike because if it’s accessibility and being beginner-friendly. It was really nice to have the place to ourselves.

It was such a nice start to the day and I would definitely go on another sunrise trek again.

As always, here is my hike on Yamap!

Hiking in Itoshima: Tate Ishi・立石 Edition

Another sunny weekend! Rainy season is no problem if this pattern keeps up. A few people had told me about this very beautiful, mini hike in Itoshima that was a little windy so I was saving it for warmer weather. Itoshima is a bit of a beach town and it was great to explore around.

There are near panoramic view going most of the way up the mountain. Every 3 feet I stopped to take pictures, it’s really a prefect quick hike.

The terrain is unlike anything like I’ve seen in Fukuoka, you can see different rock sediment and its nearly all exposed rock. Most other places have more tree cover or are much softer earth.

These are all 3 different little beaches I popped into. Everything is so close and compact around here so it’s easy to see a lot.

Of course it wouldn’t be a hike without roadside produce! After I got off the course I waslked past some beaches and made my way over to the big rock/mini mountain. I think this is one of the most popular areas in Itoshima, every time I come to Itoshima with people we wind up here. I made my way to the other side of the rock to have lunch.

Maybe unsurprisingly I brought a sweet from Kichi Zoh with me. This one is special for June. It’s called minazuki・水無月 which is the name for June in the old Japanese calendar, before the Gregorian calendar was introduced to Japan. It literally means ‘month with no water’ which is hard to believe because June is rainy season. Interesting Japanese language tidbit, the 無・na typically means: no, none, without. However in old times it was also a possessive particle, so means the month full of water! Learning Japanese is a trip.

Anyway! The sweet minazuki is red bean on jellied mochi and was super good! I think I see more in my future this month.

As always, here is the course I took on Yamap.

Mini Hiking in Saga Prefecture: Kagamiya Edition

Rainy season thankfully took a little break last weekend and a friend and I were able to get out of the city and go on a little hike. It was really beautiful! At the top there were cafes and locally made pottery shops, so quite different than my usual summits!

The locker-looking thing on the left is a fresh egg vending machine. I was kicking myself for having bought a dozen the day before! If you look really closely you can see the times the eggs were laid. I love little spots like this in the countryside and of course love finishing a hike at the beach. I need to start bringing my bathing suit on hikes. Hopefully we get weather this good again this coming weekend!

And here is the course we took on Yamap

Hiking in Itoshima: Nijodake・二丈岳 Edition

I saw a sunny window in the middle of a rainy week and I jumped at the chance to get out this morning. I headed out east to Itoshima, where I’ve been hiking a few times but not on this path. It was lovely! The views there are usually quite pretty because its so close to the ocean.

I walked from the station to the trailhead, where there was a bit of an jump up. Good to set the tone for the hike! It was a lot of kind of steep uphill but it was very beautiful. A couple hours later I made it to the summit.

This is maybe the 4th little token I’ve collected hiking in Itoshima, they are such a great idea. I found a few boulders and had my lunch with a view.

I can’t believe how lucky I got with the weather after this gray week. I found some pretty fields, shrines, and waterfalls! Which were all looking good thanks to this weeks rain. And a cool foot bridge.

Hiking course complete! So I made my way down to a different station, walking along the country side homes, in Japanese its called ‘inaka’. One of my all time favourite things about inaka is the food!

More often than not I get lucky and find these little side-of-the-road, honour-system food stalls. Typically they are produce but in Sasaguri I got miso, and today I bought pickled daikon! I love them so much.

I love, love, love summit-to-sea hikes, and again this is pretty easy to do in Itoshima. After splashing around in waterfalls and getting a ton of sun it was so nice to dip my toes in the ocean and relax a bit before heading back home. I was so happy and lucky to get out today and really hope I can sneak in another hike during rainy season.

As always, check out my course on Yamap!

Hiking in Sasaguri: 畝原山・Uneharasan and Pilgrimage Walking

I had set out with a particular hike in mind but a closed path had other plans for me. Luckily, I was in Sasaguri which is famous for its 88 temple pilgrimage walk. It takes about 3 days to complete so obviously I did not get it done while accidentally stumbling into it, but I would absolutely love to do it all sometime this year.

I got a beet dyed onigiri with pickled plum at the station before I left, it was so good! The weather forecast a rainy morning but I had faith it would clear up. Personally I really like the atmosphere in the rain on the mountains, and it’s nice to have the place to myself!

There were rice paddies, temples and wild wisteria EVERYWHERE. I had never seen wild wisteria that wasn’t supported by structures to spread them wide so I had no idea how hugely tall they could get.

Along the pilgrimage walk was a little more populated. There were a number of abandoned cars and appliances, my favourite road-side mushrooms and miso for sale, and of course more wisteria.

One of the reasons I wanted to come hear was for the waterfalls and the dam, and I was not disappointed. I was really surprised by the Henro 88 trail, it was so sweet and well done. I really can’t wait to go back. At this point I circled back to the train station I came from but decided to head south to keep on the pilgrimage path a while.

There was more beautiful waterfalls, strange debris and bamboo everywhere I went.

It was not the hike I had planned at all but I am so happy I got the chance to explore Sasaguri a little!

As always, here is my course on Yamap.

Hiking in Daizaifu: Sangunsan・三郡山 (935m) and Waterfall Edition

One of the most popular hikes in Fukuoka is Hōmanzan, which I’ve done a few times but never added Sangunsan・三郡山 to the route. Between the two summits there are a lot of little waterfalls and streams I wanted to check out.

The summit of Sangunsan is a lot like Sefuri. Wrapped with barbed wire and quite industrial. Oh well, it was nice to check it off the list and there was a nice spot so sit and have lunch.

Just beyond there, I climbed down to see the waterfalls. It was so cute! The tsubaki flowers had recently fallen and the ground was covered with them. Against the green mossy rocks and sounds of water trickling everywhere it was pretty magical.

A familiar view, at the top of Hōmanzan. The only surprise here was how quiet it was! It was a nice surprise as it’s often quite crowded at the top.

The way down to the shrine is always really lovely.

I’ve done this hike a few times but had somehow forgot it was a touch of a challenge, so I’m a bit more tired and sore than I thought I would be today. But good practice for my hike coming up this week!

Of course here is the course I took on Yamap.

Hiking In Aburayama・油山 Round 2: Sakura Edition

It was a gorgeous sunny day so I headed back to Aburayama to see the cherry blossoms over there. I can see Aburayama from my bedroom window every morning so it was fun to go back. Since it was my second time there I didn’t take as many photos but it was still incredibly nice.

On the walk back home ( I love I can walk home from the mountain so much) I passed by the most beautiful little stretch of river with lots of trees and petals raining down, it was such a nice end to the hike!

Here’s my path on Yamap

Hiking in Itoshima: Tonbōyama・十坊山 535m Edition

Recently the state of emergency was lifted in Fukuoka so I finally organized another group hike. It was so nice to see familiar faces enjoying time outdoors again. We went out west to Itoshima for a nice, easy hike and it was just a lovely day.

There was so, so, so many mikan (citrus fruit) along the entrance and descent of the hike. On the way up we saw the cutest little train trolley for picking fruit that I have ever seen.

The trail up was really nice and gentle, with lots of beautiful greenery.

At the summit of Tonbōyama is a giant rock that is really fun to climb up. As soon as we got to the top it became a little cloudy but we still got to see the ocean and a nice panoramic view around up.

One thing I love hiking is all the little cute things people add (that are not harmful!) like this little sakura amulet tied to this tree, that has 5 trunks emerging from the base, like the 5 petals of a sakura blossom. Unfortunately it wasn’t in bloom, yet!

On the way down we walked in and out of little streams and got some mini waterfalls as the sun came out again.

Of course it’s spring and we got to see sakura blossoms (early), ume blossoms (late), and white camellias and so many others.

In Itoshima it’s really easy to do sea-to-summit (or the reverse) hikes and that is definitely part of the magic of the place. We finished off dipping our toes into the sand before heading back. It was a wonderful day and a great, relaxing hike.

In Japan March 14th is White Day, which is closer to a western Valentine’s Day. Now men give chocolates or presents to their one sweetheart, after February 14th women give chocolate to their friends, colleagues, crushes, everyone. It’s a little different, but at least there is no shortage of sweets. I’m a lucky girl and recieved these really beautiful sakura, tea, and strawberry chocolates.

Now just wondering what the next seasonal thing might be…

As always, here is the hike on Yamap!

Hiking The Tallest Peak in Fukuoka: Mount Sefuri・脊振山 Edition

At just 5 minutes shy of 8 hours, I think this was my longest hike since moving here. The Sefuri mountains are on the Fukuoka/Saga border and are the highest in Fukuoka prefecture (1,054.6 m). The path I took up was a little long, but without a doubt the prettiest I have taken up in Fukuoka. Every 5 minutes I was walking by or in a new little stream or waterfall.

There was one of the funniest trail heads (or ends) I have ever seen, a huge, long rope to pull yourself up on with a swimming pool ladder to get out of the path! I loved it, it was really fun without being difficult, and popping up at the top felt like I was coming from a different world.

The views of the city were pretty amazing, but I can’t say it was my favourite summit. Although there is a nice shrine and tiny shelter, it is also home to the Japanese Air Self Defense Force so there was barbed wire and lots of buildings complete with parking lots. I was the only person up there but still, it was more relaxing to only face away from the barbed wire fences.

This was from near Mt. Kana・金山 where the surrounding mountains were particularly beautiful. I sadly didn’t get that many good pictures because I was focused on my timing. I will definitely go back so I can spend more time in the waterfalls though so it’s fine by me.

Finally at the end of the day I got to see some pretty blossoms along the way. From the bus stop I could see the Air Self Defense Force at the top of the center mountain in the distance. It was very fun to see how far I had come, it looks so tiny!

And of course here is my whole 8 hour trip hike on Yamap.

Hiking in Kirishima Kinkowan National Park Part 2: 高千穂峰 ・Mount Takachiho Edition

Day 2 in Kirishima! I hadn’t planned on a second hike but couldn’t pass up on the good weather even if I was a little tired from the day before.

Off to a very cute start; I saw 2 deer nearly immediately on my way up to 高千穂峰 ・Mount Takachiho (1574m). Like Mt Karakuni yesterday, it’s all old volcanoes and craters that make for really out of this world views. Walking up and along the crater was very cool, the scenery seemed to change every 5 minutes.

This is a pretty popular part of the trail I took and it was a national holiday so I traded taking pictures with some nice people I met along the way up. All these 3 pictures on top are about 5 minutes away from each other. I love being on top of the crater, but it did take a lot of energy to summon some excitement to go up the next stretch.

From the top! Well worth the slippery, gravelly trek up. On the left picture you can see where I was the day before, and on the top right where I had just come up from the crater. The bottom right is where I was headed off to next for the very long part of the hike.

For the descent I took the long way down, aiming for the lake you can see on the bottom right picture. It was so, so beautiful walking along the ridge in the tall grass.

On the right is the second peak I hit, Futagoishi・二子石. It was very fun playing around and a beautiful walk through the forest down until i came to the abrupt end of the forest!

I walked down until the campground and then finally at the lake. It felt like I was walking out of the volcanoes and mountains and into a dream, it was almost too perfect looking to be real. Astonishingly enough, my partner had found Totoro while looking for another onsen so I could clean up before the drive back home. It was perfect. I loved everything about this hike.

After leaving Totoro we drove through rice fields and caught the sunset going down over the place I had hiked around in all day. If you ever find yourself in the south of Japan, you could do worse than spending time in Kirishima.

And of course here is the path I took on Yamap!