National Parks of Japan Protecting our natural heritage for future generations

KirishimaKirishima-Kinkowan National Park


Ebino Highland Crater Lake Tour Course

Ebino Highland Crater Lake Tour Courseの写真
Time Required:
2 h
5.2 km
Enjoy the contrast of the mountains and the lakes’ surface from the observatories as you hike the three crater lakes of Ebino Highland.

Course Outline

The nature-watching trail around Ebino Highland’s lakes is a hiking course that allows you to visit three crater lakes while enjoying the fantastic natural environment throughout the changing seasons. From the summit of Mt. Shiratori and observatories along the way, you will see Byakushi-ike Crater Lake, Rokkannon-miike Crater Lake, and lastly, Fudo-ike Crater Lake. The lake-viewing course is included in the Forest Agency’s list of “One Hundred Forests for Nature Therapy” and you can occasionally hear the call of Ebino Highland’s wild deer, which was also selected in the Ministry of the Environment’s “One Hundred Sounds of Japan.” The trail runs clockwise around the three crater lakes and, although there is a steep slope near Mt. Shiratori’s summit, overall the trail is gentle and easy to walk, so you can you complete the loop in about 2 hours as you enjoy the various lake views. Once you reach the summit of Mt. Shiratori, a splendid vista presents a view of Mt. Sakurajima to the south and an up-close view of Mt. Karakuni.


Rokkannon-miike Crater Lake and Byakushi-ike Crater Lake
Rokkannon-miike Crater Lake and Byakushi-ike Crater Lake

Niko Panorama Observatory

As the name Niko (“two lakes”) Panorama Observatory suggests, from here you can see two of the lakes at the same time: Rokkannon-miike Crater Lake directly in front of you with Byakushi-ike Crater Lake to your left. To the right, you will also have a splendid view of the smoking Mt. Ioyama and Mt. Karakuni, the highest peak in the Kirishima Mountain Range. Byakushi-ike Crater Lake is 250 meters in diameter and used to freeze to a depth of one meter during the winter, earning it a reputation as the southernmost, natural skating rink on the main island of Japan. In recent years, however, the ice has thinned due to climate change and skating on it is no longer possible. (Now, a man-made outdoor skating area is set up in Ebino Highland every winter.)

Rokkannon-miike Crater Lake and the towering Mt. Karakuni
Rokkannon-miike Crater Lake and the towering Mt. Karakuni

Rokkannon-miike Crater Lake Observatory

From the wooden observation deck on the shore of Rokkannon-miike Crater Lake, you can look out over its waters with Mt. Karakuni towering in the backdrop. With its cobalt blue waters, it is considered the most beautiful of Kirishima’s crater lakes and measures 500 meters in diameter and 14 meters deep. A series of hills around 20 meters high form the crater rim, which is covered with broadleaf trees, such as Japanese oak, maple, and Japanese rowan, as well as conifers, such as fir and Japanese hemlock. During the fall when the trees show their colors, the place is bustling with people who come to see the rainbow of leaves reflected upon the lake’s surface.

The changing hues of Fudo-ike Crater Lake
The changing hues of Fudo-ike Crater Lake

Fudo-ike Crater Lake

Fudo-ike is a crater lake 150 meters in diameter and 9 meters deep located to the northwest of Mt. Karakuni. Since the water contains tiny volcanic particles called colloid particles, at times the sunlight is diffused in a way that turns it a beautiful cobalt blue hue. Despite the lake’s name, which means “unwavering,” it is said to turn every color of the rainbow throughout the course of a day. In summer, the shores of the lake are spotted with the white blossoms of panicled hydrangeas and in winter, the lake freezes over, creating peculiar patterns in the ice. Unlike the other lakes, Fudo-ike Crater Lake can be seen from the road.

Course Map

Ebino Highland Crater Lake Tour Course

Course Time

Starting Point
Ebino Eco-museum Center
5 min.
0.3 km
Ebino Observatory
30 min.
0.8 km
Niko Panorama Observatory
20 min.
0.9 km
Mt. Shiratori Observatory
30 min.
0.8 km
Mt. Shiratori North Observatory
10 min.
0.5 km
Rokkannon-miike Crater Lake Observatory
30 min.
1.5 km
Fudo-ike Crater Lake Rest Area
8 min.
0.4 km
Ebino Eco-museum Center
*Course time and distance are estimates.