Hiking in Munakata・宗像市: Mt. Yugawa・湯川山 (471m) Edition

The first sunny weekend in August! Here we go, off to the north where I read about a hike that ends at a beach. Here is the first mini mountain range I will climb, its only about 300m high. On the way up I pass through temples and chestnuts.

I was a little worried it would be too hot but it was much, much cooler once I got up a bit. Unsurprisingly, the path was very beautiful and not too bad after the rain we’ve had.

There’s walking sticks, a tiny river and some awfully cute views from the top of Mt. Yugawa・湯川山! I was hoping for a few more views but maybe I need to explore around more.

On the way down I passed though some farms and abandoned cafes. No one reading this will be shocked, but I also found an amazing sweets shop on the way to the shrine at the peak of the cape. The picture taken from the top of the stairs shows the mountain I just came down from.

This is the funniest structure I have ever seen in Japan. Well, I’m happy someone built it so I could see the ocean. I was almost 6 hours into the hike, mid-day at 35 degrees and I was a little tired and evidently too tired to take a single photo of the ocean from up there!

But don’t worry, here’s the snack I got: chilled strawberry warabi mochi. It was the best thing I have ever eaten in my life (it was the first cool thing I had consumed in many hours).

Finally! I made it to the beach. For the first time this summer I kicked off my shoes and went swimming in the ocean. Hard to beat. When I finally got out and made my way over to the bus I met these funny veggies sun-bathing on the street. I might come back next weekend, it was a lovely, easy hike with the perfect ending (and snacks).

And of course, here is my course on Yamap!

Hiking in Shiretoko, Hokkaido・知床、北海道: Mt Shari・斜里岳 Edition

Mt Shari (or Sharidake) seemingly pops out of nowhere and reaches up to 1547m. This is one of the more challenging hikes I’ve done, mainly because it was my first time hiking up a waterfall. There were several hours of boulder hopping along the river and scrambling up waterfalls. It was definitely one of the most fun hikes I’ve ever done, plus there was much less of a concern about bears here.

We were warned about heat stroke (about 15 people have been helicoptered off the mountain during July for heat stroke or injury) but there was enough shade, water and breeze to keep cool.

At the top of the waterfall we had reached the end of the old trail and began the ascent up to the summit.

The way up was absolutely stunning. Without a doubt these are some of my favourite views I’ve had of hiking in Japan. At the top we stopped for lunch and the skies completely opened up in the coolest way.

We were just in the perfect place at the perfect time and the clouds were rolling over us so quickly, there wasn’t 5 minutes that the landscape didn’t change.

Pretty hard to beat. We came down just as the sun started to set. If we didn’t have perfect luck on the previous hike in Rausu, we got it all back here.

The woman who runs the place we were staying is an avid star photographer and when we got back she took our picture with the milky way. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the stars so clear and bright. This was after a 10 hour hike so we were slightly tired.

If you ever get the opportunity, Shiretoko is a must visit and these were some of the most beautiful and challenging and fun hikes I’ve done. I cannot wait to see where we go next.

See the course on Yamap!

Hiking in Shiretoko, Hokkaido・知床,北海道 : Mt Rausu・羅臼岳 Edition

At 1660m Rausu is the highest peak in the Shiretoko mountain range. It’s a perfect day hike at around 8 hours and is a really interesting hike with some good scrambling near the top.

This part of Hokkaido is known as bear paradise, so equipped with bear bells, bear spray and a healthy amount of fear we got pretty lucky with views almost immediately.

Unfortunately as with a lot of hikes with this elevation, there was a cloud near the top when it was time to start scrambling. The walk into the clouds was very moody and interesting though, it’s fun to have a variety.

We had a minor glimpse of a bear so were happy to unload some items in the bear-proof box on the way to the top. Behind me in the top right you can see the summit. The bottom left you can sort of see my friend. Visibility was not great, and it was pretty windy and rainy but the scrambling was very fun in spite of that.

Of course on the descent we walked into the sun and made it back to the trailhead. At the base there is a tiny lodge that has an outdoor bath that was absolutely incredible to soak in after a long day out. It was an amazing, beautiful, incredible hike even without full visibility.

Here is the hike on Yamap!

Hiking in Kitakyushu: Hiraodai・平尾台 Edition

There are a few summer holidays in July so a few friends and I escaped north of the city to Kitakyushu. Just east of there is a place I’ve had my eye on for ages: Hiraodai. It isn’t so mountainous but is more gorgeous rolling green hills and beautiful views. This group is a big on sunrises so we started our day around 3:30am and were not disappointed. I could not get enough of the morning light.

It was just like out of a dream. On the way to the summit it was a little cloudy but cleared up beautifully later in the hike.

Sometimes (every time) sunrise hikes are a bit challenging but they are so worth it. I wouldn’t be supr keen to try an 8 hour hike on so little sleep but its a great time to do smaller, less physical hikes; especially in the summer heat.

The grass was really up to my waist at some points! It was a lot of fun to go around and play around in.

Believe it or not, I did manage to find some sweets. Matcha kakigōri・かき氷 and anmitsu・あんみつ at a really old school style shop and they were beyond heaven.

Here is my hike on Yamap!

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!

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