Located amidst beautiful mountain ranges that seem to resemble the surface of another planet, Kirishima, in Kagoshima Prefecture, has a fascinating history and offers plenty of things to do. If you are in Kyushu, do not miss Kirishima Kinkowan National Park which has some great things to do and see for all the family.
The gorgeous park really is one of a kind, and visitors will be enchanted by its natural beauty and interesting history. Check out these three reasons why you should head to the legendary Kirishima Kinkowan National Park on the island of Kyushu!
As introduced earlier, the mountain ranges of Kirishima look surreal with rocky surfaces, dusty valleys, and curious vegetation. It would be the perfect setting for a Bond movie! Formed due to intense volcanic activity in the past, these mountains provide great opportunities for hikers to capture plenty of amazing views.
There are a lot of trails where you can discover calderas, igneous rocks, and hot springs. There are several great mountains to hike such as Mount Karakuni (1700 m), which is actually the highest in the entire park, and some amazing lakes such as Onami-no-ike, which is the largest of its kind in Japan, formed as a result of a volcanic crater. The surroundings of Onami become very colorful during the autumn months, with bright trees and falling leaves.
There are many green volcanic lakes such as Shinmoedake Crater Lake which looks stunning amidst the rocks, slopes, and vegetation. If you are planning a nice hike, one of the best trails to try is Ebino-Kogen (Ebino Plateau) which takes you to the peak spot of Mount Karakuni.
Designated as a national park much earlier than many other parks in Japan, the Kirishima Kinkowan National Park has been of utmost importance as it is a place of not only natural beauty but also unique history and mythology.
It is believed that the origins of the Imperial Family of Japan began with Amaterasu’s grandson, Ninigi, as he landed in this park on Takachiho mountain, and then lifted up the rest of the islands of Japan which were under the sea with a giant spear called “Ama no nuboko”.
You will notice that Takachiho mountain has a unique appearance, with attractive nature spots that give you an experience of being in a different world. This adds to the mysterious mythological history of the place.
The Kirishima area has many shrines because of its huge significance according to Japanese mythology. Kirishima Shrine (Kirishima Jingu), which is located in the woods, has been rebuilt many times because of volcanic activity. It has several interesting areas such as the main shrine that has been named as a Tangible Cultural Item by the Japanese government. The shrine is adorned by various gods including Ninigi and is an important Shintoism spot.
Apart from these religious shrines, there are also some Jomon Period archaeological excavation sites which you can check out such as Uenohara. There are local buses and other vehicles available to get to different areas in the Kirishima region. There are also a lot of onsens in the area that you might want to visit such as the popular Kirishima Onsen.
Although this park is open all year, the warmer months of spring and summer are the best times to visit the park as the slopes and rocks won’t be so slippery or wet. Autumn is also a great time to visit as you can see great colors around the lakes.
Care must be taken while hiking in the winter. Also, a mist is a very common sight when you are hiking on the top of most of the mountains in the Kirishima range. This is why the place is commonly named ‘Kiri’ which is the Japanese word for mist.