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KirishimaKirishima-Kinkowan National Park


Mt. Kurino Mountain Climbing and Hachiman Jigoku Course

Mt. Kurino Mountain Climbing and Hachiman Jigoku Course の写真
Mountain Climbing
Time Required:
3 h 50 min.
7.8 km
After a dose of nature therapy in the forest, experience the Earth’s volcanic activity.

Course Outline

On this course, you will go up Japan’s longest railroad tie stairway by the Kirishima Open-Air Museum on the west side of the Kirishima Mountain Range, climb Mt. Kurino, and relax in a hot spring bath after descending the mountain. The climb up Mt. Kurino is a gentle slope without a big change in elevation, but the mountain still boasts an excellent view so it is perfect for families and beginners. The trail runs beneath a forest of maple, Japanese oak, and other broadleaf trees, and in the fall, you can enjoy the spectacular colors of the changing leaves. After climbing up a rocky stretch and reaching Mt. Kurino’s summit, you will have a wonderful view of Mt. Karakuni and Mt. Shiratori to gaze upon. The return trip down the mountain is a walk down a gentle ridge where you can immerse yourself in the forest for a refreshing dose of nature therapy. You will find the Kirishima Open-Air Museum and Kurinodake Recreation Village nearby as well, so you can enjoy contemporary art out in nature, have fun on the outdoor adventure equipment, and go camping. There is also a ranch for retired racehorses where you can take part in a horse trekking experience.


Mt. Kurino Mountain Climbing
Mt. Kurino Mountain Climbing

View from the observation platform

Formed approximately 200,000 years ago, Mt. Kurino is one of the oldest volcanoes in the Kirishima Mountain Range. From Mt. Kurino’s observation platform, you can see Ebino Highland and Mt. Karakuni, and looking towards the south gives you a distant view of Mt. Sakurajima sitting in Kinkowan Bay and the Takakuma Mountain Range. Deciduous broadleaf trees grow on the south side of the mountain and on the north side, you can find relatively high numbers of evergreen laurels. After you have finished climbing the mountain, take a moment to enjoy a relaxing soak in the hot springs at Kurinodake Onsen.

The largest, steaming fumarole in Kyushu
The largest, steaming fumarole in Kyushu

Hachiman Jigoku discharging steam and gas

Located halfway up Mt. Kurino and covering roughly two hectares, Hachiman Jigoku (“Hachiman Hell”) is said to be Kyushu’s largest fumarole. The great power of Earth is evident in the steam furiously discharged in serveral spots and the scent of the volcanic gases. Hachiman Jigoku serves as the source for Kurinodake Onsen Nanshukan bathhouse where you can enjoy various types of hot spring baths. In fact, popular local highlights are Nanshukan’s steam baths and a dish called “chicken steamed in hell,” both of which make use of the natural steam from Hachiman Jigoku. It has operated as hot spring bathhouse since the Edo Period and famed politician and samurai Saigo Takamori visited Nanshukan during the Meiji period.

561 steps! Japan’s longest railroad tie stairway
561 steps! Japan’s longest railroad tie stairway

The railroad tie stairway

With 561 steps, the longest railroad tie stairway in Japan is located in Kirishima and was built by reusing the railroad ties from the JR Yamano Line that went out of service in 1988. If you climb to the top of this straight stairway, you will come to a wooden observation deck from which you can look out over a retired racehorse ranch and the townscape in the foothills as well as see Isa Plain, Kinkowan Bay, and Mt. Sakurajima further off in the distance. The trail to Mr. Kurino continues behind the observation deck.

Course Map

Mt. Kurino Mountain Climbing and Hachiman Jigoku Course

Course Time

Starting Point
Railway Tie Stairway Trailhead
80 min.
1.8 km
Observation Platform
50 min.
1.1 km
Summit of Mt. Kurino
55 min.
1.5 km
Mt. Kurino Trailhead (Hachiman Onsen side)
10 min.
0.8 km
Hachiman Onsen
10 min.
0.8 km
Mt. Kurino Trailhead (Hachiman Onsen side)
25 min.
1.8 km
Railway Tie Stairway Trailhead
*Course time and distance are estimates.