Ōkue-san Hike

The weekend was action-packed as I traveled down to Miyazaki-ken for a taste of the beach and a two day hiking trip.

On Friday, Matteo and I drove down to one of the finer surfing spots in Japan near Hyuga. We brought the surf boards, but on Saturday morning the waves looked weak and it was a bit chilly, so instead decided to hit some scenic spots for a few photos.

Umegase

From there we drove over an hour up a windy mountain road to the start our Mt. Ōkue hike in the Sobo Range. The range is known to be sparsely inhabited with pristine surroundings.

We used Lonely Planet’s Hiking in Japan for our route and found it a bit lacking at times, but adequate overall. The book rates the hike as hard, and that it was.

Hike Loop

Around the start of the trial is Kami Hori, a quaint little mountain community that we were able avoid walking 6 km through since we drove.

Tozan-guchi: Start of the Hike

The book outlines a nice hut that can hold 35 for the first night. We were eager to test a borrowed tent out though, so went a further couple hours further to lessen the next day.

photo by Matteo

photo by Matteo

photo by Matteo

The second day was why the hike is rated hard and is estimated to be 8-9 hours walking steep terrain with nearly 1000 meters assent and descent.

The first half of the day was spent following river and stream in some amazing territory. The mountain ranges a built out of granit; huge boulders, table-like slabs, and inspiring spires. Waterfalls, the highest 25 meters, dotted the trail.

photo by Matteo

photo by Matteo

photo by Matteo

Once the trail turning away from the stream, we spent a couple hours scrambling up rocks to crest a ridge and continue a short ways to the great views off of Ōkue-san at 1643 meters.

The next landmarks were the towering granite spires, a rock climbers dream. They rose out of the forest majestically and beckoned to be climbed. We took the tallest on (actually the quickest too from the trail), though several others all looked inviting. With several hours yet back to the car, we smartly moved on.

photo by Matteo

The rocks, as well as other portions of the trail, are equipped with ropes and ladders as needed. This is great, but the wooden log bridges and ladders did not appear very safe. I have a few kilos on the average Japanese hiker, plus my pack, so imagine how happy I was to watch Matt snap a ladder rung ahead of me. The more dangerous places, thankfully, had metal support structures.

From there, we descended a tricky trail for about 3 hours back to the river. Another metal bridge led us across the river, then past the hut and back to the car. Even though we cut about 2 hours off the estimated time the previous day, we still spent a solid 9 hours hiking.

photo by Matteo

Needless to say, we were exhausted and took an refreshing onsen in Kami Hori before the long drive back home.



One Comment

  1. Terry Dip wrote:

    Sounds like this hike could be rougher than Mt. Fuji in certain ways.