Year in Japan

So, you may remember that I went to Dazaifu (太宰府) a couple of weeks ago, well whilst there I heard about a couple of relatively easy mountains to climb – Mt. Hōman (宝満山) + Mt Sangun (三郡山), and I immediately decided to climb at least one of them.

However, not wanting to die of heat exhaustion, I though I’d wait for a cool day (typically after a day of rain) to do the climb. Well it rained all day on Saturday, so I decided to climb Mt. Hōman on Sunday.

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The view from my apartment in Ropponmatsu at early o’clock

After a subway train, a regular train and a bus I finally got to the Kamado Shrine (竈門神社), which is the start of the mountain trail

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So before we get started, some basic stats on Mt. Hōman – the trail is 3.1km long, and the summit is 829m high.

Stage 1 – Forest stage

Pretty easy going at this point, lovely scenery of the lush forest areas, and whilst the vertical-ness is a little tiring (who would’ve guessed!), it’s quite a gradual slope.

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Oh by the way, you know I mentioned that it rained all-day yesterday…yeah, that made things interesting, as, aside from the muddy/sandy/boggy areas, everything was slippery. YAY!

Though as I got out of the forest areas, the slippery-ness was less of a problem, but the road started getting a little more rocky (which you’ll come to see is a reoccurring theme of Mt. Hōman)

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Stage clear!

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Stage 2 – Rocks

Oh. Boy. So after that sign above, this is the sight you are greeted with

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and it’s very much the theme of things from here on out.

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So yeah, it was pretty much like this for the next hour or so. Don’t get me wrong, it was absolutely gorgeous, but it was pretty tiring – evidenced by the lack of photos compared to the easy-going forest stage.

Over half-way

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Is what I thought, but practically speaking, the trail only gets more difficult from here! Yay!

Stage 3 – Stairs

Stairs? Great, something slightly more uniform compared to these rocks, brilliant, I can’t wait…

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oh.

And they kept going 😦

Stage 4 – Not even stairs

So at this point things started getting a little misty, and the climb actually got really fun. Instead of just stairs, stairs and more stairs, it turned into a mix of forest-y bits

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and  just big ‘ol rocks, that required ACTUAL CLIMBING, which was super fun.

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Not a great exemplar image, sorry!

But at the same time, due to the fact that everything was still wet from yesterday’s rain, it was pretty dangerous, glad to see I managed to not get hurt. Yay!

Stage 5 – The peak

So after about 2-3 hrs of climbing, walking, gasping for air, I reached the peak!

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and the view, whilst misty, was pretty great

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So after some lunch perched on the edge of a cliff – an experience that I wholeheartedly recommend

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it was time to head back down the slippery rock mountain.

Stage 6 – The descent

So nothing in the way of photos here, I was too concerned with not falling down the mountain, but I did pass a group of like 40 middle-school kids walking up the mountain, from which I got a delightful chorus of “HELLO!”, (yes in English) which brought a massive smile to my face.

Though after some consideration, I realised that this climb clearly must be really easy if a bunch of ~12 year old kids can do it.

 

Anyway, it all was a lot of fun, my legs are suitably sore/stiff now (the following day), but it was totally worth doing.

edit: once again, forgot to update the map, so here we go:

 

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