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Mt. Karakuni and Onami-ike Crater Lake Mountain Climbing Course

Mt. Karakuni and Onami-ike Crater Lake Mountain Climbing Courseの写真
Type:
Mountain Climbing
Time Required:
6 h 30 min.
Distance:
9.7 km
Visit a peak from among the famous One Hundred Mountains of Japan and the legend-inspiring Onami-ike Crater Lake.

Course Outline

After climbing from Ebino Highland to Mt. Karakuni, the highest peak of the Kirishima Mountain Range, this course takes you around Japan’s highest crater lake, the beautiful Onami-ike Crater Lake, then back down to Ebino Highland. From Ebino Highland to the summit of Mt. Karakuni, highlights of this course include seeing the vibrant greenery in spring and the hoarfrost in winter. The 3rd station up the mountain boasts a view of Ebino Highland and the 5th station has a view of Onami-ike Crater Lake, Kinkowan Bay, and Mt. Sakurajima. From the summit, you can see Mt. Shinmoe and Mt. Takachiho-no-mine in the Kirishima Mountain Range, and in early June, the Kyushu azaleas (Miyamakirishima) are in full bloom around the peak. To make your descent, take the wooden steps from the summit down to Onami-ike Crater Lake. At the lake, you can make a full circuit around the crater rim. The deep blue lake melds with the green, broadleaf forest creating an exquisite scene that is especially beautiful with the colorful contrast of the autumn leaves.
* Please check the latest mountain climbing information at Ebino Eco-museum Center before you start climbing.

Highlights

The view from the summit of Mt. Karakuni
The view from the summit of Mt. Karakuni

Mt. Shinmoe and Mt. Takachiho-no-mine

At 1,700 meters, Mt. Karakuni is the highest peak in Kirishima-Kinkowan National Park and has a volcanic crater that is 900 meters in diameter and 300 meters deep. The view near the summit is breathtaking and if the weather is nice, you can look out over Kinkowan Bay, Mt. Sakurajima, and even the distant Mt. Kaimon. You can also see Mt. Shinmoe’s crater and Mt. Takachiho-no-mine, both of which are part of the same Kirishima Mountain Range. Mt. Karakuni is one of the One Hundred Mountains of Japan. It only takes 90 minutes to reach the summit from Ebino Highland, so many people climb this popular course in the early morning to watch the sunrise.

The symbol of the Kirishima Mountain Range
The symbol of the Kirishima Mountain Range

Kyushu azaleas (Miyamakirishima)

From mid-May to mid-June, Kyushu azaleas (Miyamakirishima) color stretches of the mountains with their lovely hue. These flowers have become a symbol of the Kirishima Mountain Range. The azalea shrubs have grown especially large in size from the 6th station to the summit of Mt. Karakuni, where the beauty of the flowers covered in morning dew will make you forget any weariness from your climb.

The highest crater lake in Japan
The highest crater lake in Japan

Onami-ike Crater Lake

Below Mt. Karakuni at an elevation of 1,239 meters is Japan’s highest crater lake with a circumference of 1.9 kilometers. It can be circled in about 90 minutes and in winter, there are times when the surface freezes over completely. Since this is comparatively one of the older volcanoes in the Kirishima Mountain Range, thick forests have grown in the surrounding area. With Japanese witch hazel in early spring, Rhododendron dilatatum and Kyushu azaleas (Miyamakirishima) in early summer, and the colorful leaves in fall, there is something to see every season. This lake also has its own legend which tells of a childless village headman that was finally blessed with a beautiful daughter named Onami. However, Onami was actually an incarnation of a dragon that lived in the lake and after refusing many marriage proposals, she ultimately threw herself into the lake.

Course Map

Mt. Karakuni and Onami-ike Crater Lake Mountain Climbing Course

Course Time

Starting Point
1
Ebino Eco-museum Center
Very near
2
Mt. Karakuni Trailhead
90 min.
1.9 km
3
Summit of Mt. Karakuni
50 min.
1.1 km
4
Mt. Karakuni Shelter Hut
50 min.
2.1 km
5
Onami-ike Crater Lake Rest House
90 min.
4 km
6
Kenkyo Trailhead
10 min.
0.6 km
7
Ebino Eco-museum Center
Terminus
*Course time and distance are estimates.