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Takachihogawara Kyushu Azaleas (Miyamakirishima) Course

Takachihogawara Kyushu Azaleas (Miyamakirishima) Courseの写真
Type:
hiking
Time Required:
2 h 45 min.
Distance:
2.6 km
Head to where magenta flowers paint the Kirishima Mountains in early summer.

Course Outline

This course starts from Takachihogawara, which is known for being the southern access point for the Kirishima Mountain Range, and continues on to the Mt. Nakadake Chuufuku Scenic Route, where you can thoroughly enjoy the Kyushu Azaleas (Miyamakirishima) that cover the Kirishima Mountain Range before heading to the goal point of Kirishima-jingu Shrine Kogushi (ancient shrine ruins). You will climb up the Mt. Nakadake Chuufuku Scenic Route from beside Takachihogawara Visitor Center and after coming back down the mountain, visit the ancient ruins of Kirishima-jingu Shrine. Takachihogawara is the former location of Kirishima-jingu Shrine where its ancient ruins still remain. It also serves as a mountain climbing base point for the Mt. Nakadake Chuufuku Scenic Route and Mt. Takachiho-no-mine, so it is bustling with climbers and hikers. The Mt. Nakadake Chuufuku Scenic Route is famous for its azalea colonies and it is full of gorgeous natural scenery created by beautiful stands of Japanese red pine, panicled hydrangeas, Japanese clethra (Clethra barbinervis), Lyonia ovalifolia, and other flora. This course allows you to easily experience both the charms of nature and the area’s captivating history in a short amount of time.

Highlights

An unparalleled flowering paradise
An unparalleled flowering paradise

The Mt. Nakadake Chuufuku Scenic Route

Climbing just over 500 meters on the Mt. Nakadake Chuufuku Scenic Route brings you to a magnificent flowering paradise covered in Kyushu Azaleas (Miyamakirishima). Against the vibrant green backdrop of the mountain, the spectacular sight of the magenta flowers in bloom is so vivid it feels as if you have been snapped out of a dream. As you walk the scenic route, you can look out on Mt. Takachiho-no-mine, the Ohachi Crater, and the peak of Mt. Nakadake as well as Mt. Sakurajima and Kinkowan Bay to the south. There are three courses to choose from: the Momiji (Maple) Course, the Tsutsuji (Azalea) Course, and the Mountain Climbing Course.
* Due to restrictions concerning Mt. Shinmoe’s eruptions, you can only climb partway up the mountain.

An entire mountain covered in a brocade of flowers
An entire mountain covered in a brocade of flowers

Kyushu Azaleas (Miyamakirishima)

One of the exemplary plants of the Kirishima Mountain Range, the Kyushu Azaleas (Miyamakirishima) form colonies in sunny spots at elevations over 700 meters and produce magenta flowers from May to June. A historical record from the Satsuma Domain, Sangoku Meishozue, stated that the azaleas are “particularly abundant in the Kirishima Mountain Range, making the whole mountain seem as if it were covered in brocade when the flowers are in bloom,” and in 1909, botanist Tomitaro Makino named them miyama kirishima in Japanese, meaning “azaleas that bloom deep in the mountains.” New branches grow vigorously in areas covered with pumice from volcanic eruptions, giving you a sense of their powerful vitality.

View of the shrine gate and the Ohachi volcano
View of the shrine gate and the Ohachi volcano

Kirishima-jingu Shrine Kogushi (ancient shrine ruins)

The Kirishima-jingu Shrine Kogushi (ancient shrine ruins) is the former site of Kirishima-jingu Shrine after it was moved there from Setao (the col between Mt. Takachiho-no-mine and Ohachi) about 1,000 years ago. However, around 800 years ago, it burned down when the Ohachi volcano erupted and shrine’s location was moved to its present location. The ruins are still maintained today and gazing at the historical shrine gate and the majestic Ohachi volcano will give you a sense of the connection between nature, the volcano, and faith. Every year on the tenth of November, the Tensonkorin Goshinka Festival begins at dusk with sacred flames and traditional performances of Kumen Taiko (nine mask drumming) dedicated to the gods.

Course Map

Takachihogawara Kyushu Azaleas (Miyamakirishima) Course

Course Time

Starting Point
1
Takachihogawara Visitor Center
20 min.
0.5 km
2
Tsutsuji (Azalea) Course Fork
60 min.
0.6 km
3
Merge Point of Tsutuji (Azalea) Cource and Climbing Course
50 min.
0.8 km
4
Tsutsuji (Azalea) Course Fork
30 min.
0.5 km
5
Kirishima-jingu Shrine Kogushi (ancient shrine ruins)
5 min.
0.2 km
6
Takachihogawara Visitor Center
Terminus
*Course time and distance are estimates.