Kirishimadake Hiking Pt.2 – Mt. Takachiho’s Hardcore Lava Scramble

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Entrance to Mt. Takachiho’s hiking course

Mt. Takachiho-no-mine. An ascent popular with many hikers who venture into Kirishimadake’s volcano playground.

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Kirishima Shrine

It is a 1574m high active volcano which was affected by nearby Mt Shinmoedake’s eruption in January 2011. The last lava-spew wiped out a beautiful Shrine at the entrance of Takachiho-no-mine’s hiking trail, since a smaller one called Furumiya-Ato was built in it’s memory, and the main Kirishima Shrine has been relocated at the base of this mountain.

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The route to the summit we were told was 1 hour 30 minutes hike. The beginning starts off as a fairly mellow walk uphill on volcanic sand.

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“Mountain trail” this way…

It quickly changed. It’s like walk on a steep uphill sandy beach until you get to a field of volcanic rocks and the climb becomes more of a ongoing bouldering problem.

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Which I loved!

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Scrambling up lava debris from Mt Shinmoedake

It was exhilarating. I was balancing on uneven debris and slipping on loose rubble, climbing through solidified waves of lava and enjoying an wholly different environment to the hikes I had done previously.

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After 30 minutes we had scrambled to the top. Easy Peasy! We then realised that we had the next peak to climb before reaching “The Heavenly Halberd” of the mythical legend “Tenson Korin” at the top…

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Ohachi Crater

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The colours up here were incredible. Streaks of red and black volcanic rock with white sulphuric sand and the dry vegetation made for some pretty breathtaking views.

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Looking back, you could see the back of Mt Karakunidake and Mt Shinmoedake and several other peaks out of the 20 volcanoes of the Kirishimadake area.

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Trying my best to move the earth!

This part of the hike walking around the narrow lip of Ohachi Peak’s crater was fairly easy…

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The man in the hat was actually walking up backwards…

Round two of the hike was considerably harder. We were faced with the volcanic sand again. I highly recommend wearing hiking boots for this hike because my track running trainers did not grip. At all.

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We prayed for a safe journey at this simple shrine at the base and started the second ascent.

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Smashed this hike with my new hiking buddy yeah!

I think luck was on our side because we made it!! It took us 2 hours to the top. Onigiris were definitely earned! 🍙✨

The shrine at the top has a large inverted sword stuck into the stone. This is Tenson Korin’s shrine, which is a tribute to the descent of sun goddess Amaterasu’s grandson Ninigi from Heaven.

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Ohachi crater from the summit of Mt. Takachiho-no-mine

We could see the Ohachi’s crater, the one we peered inside from above. The path along the edge is visible from the summit too. To the East, the flat plains of Miyazaki stretches out as far as the eye can see. To the South-West, Kirishima’s coast fades into the background.

Once reaching the top we realised that the trail continues to Lake Miike. This is about an extra 2-3 hours. We decided to head back down the same trail as the accent as the car park was behind us, and the trail doesn’t circuit.

Warning: the decent is HARDER than the accent! It’s super slippery.

The hike in total took us 5 hours, we stopped at the top for around 1 hour. It gets considerably cooler at the top. If you like bouldering and fancy a challenging hike with incredible views, pick a good day and go for it.

Travelling Tips:

Car parking: 500¥

Length of Hike: 1hr 30min to the top.

Difficulty rating: 3/5

2 thoughts on “Kirishimadake Hiking Pt.2 – Mt. Takachiho’s Hardcore Lava Scramble

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