Kuju mountains Photo: Burcu Basar
travel

5 spots to experience the outdoors in northern Kyushu

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By Burcu Basar

Around 70% of Japan is covered by mountains. The country is also home to 34 national parks, hosting dozens of hiking trails offering diverse scenery. In Hokkaido, you will find true wilderness, whereas central Japan, particularly Nagano, features some of the highest peaks in Japan and offers alpine-style hiking and climbing experience.

Among all the hiking regions in Japan, Kyushu—the land of fire— is the one that always stood out for me. Home to dozens of volcanoes, including Japan’s largest active volcano—Mount Aso—the relatively easy hiking trails of Kyushu always guarantees mesmerizing scenery without requiring tremendous physical effort. Extensive rail and bus networks covering most of the main trailheads also make Kyushu an ideal destination for solo hikers such as myself, who often depend on public transportation.

These are 5 locations in Northern Kyushu for a perfect week in the outdoors and a few days in picturesque small towns.

Kuju Mountains: in search of Kyushu azalea

Kuju-Flowers-kyushu-mountain.jpg
Azalea bloom on Mount Hiiji from late May to early June. Photo: Burcu Basar

Kuju Mountain range lies in the northern part of Aso-Kuju National Park. It is home to numerous trails where all hikers will find a route fitting their skill level.

I recently spent three days in the area exploring two of the main trails that start at Chojabaru and Makinoto Pass trailheads. Despite their proximity, the landscape along the two routes was so dramatically different that it felt like hiking in entirely different regions and always a welcome experience.

The trail that starts at Chojabaru trailhead involves a gentle climb through a dense forest before opening to a picture-perfect valley scenery in Bogatsuru. Makinoto Pass, on the other hand, requires negotiating a steep incline at the beginning of the hike.

Click here to read more.

© GaijinPot

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1 Comment
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First line of this article is already incorrect. Didn't bother to climb anymore.

It should be "Hills" instead of "Mountains".

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