Mt. Kirishima (霧島山)

Kirishima Nat’l Park is a glorious collection of picturesque volcanic peaks, majestic crater lakes, and soothing hot spring baths. The area around Ebino Kogen (えびの高原) is filled with lots of hiking options, including the ascent of Mt. Karakuni, the highest peak in the park.

The hike: From the bus stop, you’ve got a few options. There’s a loop trail towards Mt. Shiratori (白鳥山) which passes by some beautiful lakes. This can be completed in about 2 hours. If you’d like to head directly to the high point, however, follow the road for about 20 minutes until reaching the trailhead on the right side of the road. It should take about an hour or so to reach the summit of Mt. Karakuni (韓国岳), where the views are spectacular. From there, take the trail to your right to descend to a beautiful cobalt crater named Oonami-ike (大浪池). It will take about 45 minutes to reach the crater rim, where you’ll find an emergency hut. Walk around the rim clockwise, and exactly halfway around you’ll reach a trail junction, where you can descend to the main road in about 30 minutes. From there, you’ll either have to take the bus 3 stops north to Ebino Kogen or try hitching. If you’ve only come up for the day, you can take the bus (or hitch) back to Kirishima-Jingu station. A better option might be to completely circumnavigate the crater rim and take a trail branching off to the left, which will take you to a bus stop named Ebino-shika-ooshi (translated at the place where you can find lots of deer). My map says that this trail isn’t used very much, so I can’t vouch for path conditions.

Special Note: If you’re attempting to do the entire Kirishima traverse (from Karakuni to Takachiho) please note that the trail up and over the summit of Mt. Shinmoe is currently closed due to volcanic activity.

When to go: This hike can be done year round, but expect some snow during the months of January, February, and early March. Click here to see the winter scenery.

Access: There are numerous ways to get to Ebino Kogen, but perhaps the easiest is to take a train from Kagoshima station on the JR Nippo Line (JR日報線) and get off at Kirishima-Jingu (霧島神宮) station. From there, you can take a bus to Ebino Kogen. Please note that the bus only runs on Saturdays. The local train takes about 50 minutes, and the Limited Express only saves you 3 minutes! Click here for the bus schedule. If you want to hitchhike, the closest station seems to be Kirishima Onsen (霧島温泉), so get off there and walk to the main road.

Live web cam: Click here

Level of difficulty: 2 out of 5 (elevation change 520m).

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2 Comments on “Mt. Kirishima (霧島山)”

  1. Kay Kadowaki Says:

    From what I’ve read there are is no bus to Ebino-kogen onsen except on Saturday and Sunday. Unable to read (garbage) the bus schedule link. Please send me schedule to my email.


  2. Update as of November 2009: the path passing Shinmoe is now open again – volcanic activity having subsided. For a photo of Shinmoe as of November 2009, see:-

    By the way, if you start or finish the traverse at Kirishima Jingu, a good place to stay is the Tozanguchi Onsen, a hospitable ryokan.

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