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Home - Travel - Sightseeing Guide - Kyushu
Kuju Mountains
# 139   of 175 destinations
in our travel guide

jump to:   access  -  admission  -  ratings  -  links

The view from the summit of the Kuju peak

The Kuju mountain range (dR, Kujūsan) is part of the Aso-Kuju National Park and includes the highest peak on the island of Kyushu. The mountains are covered by a network of hiking trails that offer spectacular views of the volcanic terrain. Between late October and mid November, Kuju becomes one of the best places on Kyushu to find fall colors.

The Kuju mountains are located along the Yamanami Highway that extends from Beppu to Aso as part of the attractive Trans Kyushu Route. The two main trailheads for the Kuju mountains are located at the Makinoto Pass and the Chojabaru Visitor Center, which are both along the popular road.

Of the park's two main trailheads, the Makinoto Pass is located at a higher elevation and is closer to the main mountain peaks, while the Chojabaru Visitor Center has informative displays about the area and more facilities. Depending on the trailhead and route taken, a round trip to Kuju's main peaks typically takes between four and six hours.

The park's highest point is the Nakadake (x) peak, which stands at 1791 meters. The nearby Kuju (vZR) peak stands slightly shorter at 1786 meters and is popular for its fantastic views. Another popular peak to visit is Hossho (R), which has steam emitting vents along its slopes. The peaks of the Kuju mountains are usually covered in snow from December through March.

The Makinoto Pass
A line of hikers

Travelers who are looking for a less time consuming and physically demanding hike can explore a network of walkways around the Chojabaru Visitor Center. There is a wetland beside the visitor center above which wooden walkways are elevated. A looping 2.5 kilometer course takes 30-40 minutes to walk, and the Kuju mountains can be seen from along the path.

Due to the area's volcanic activity, there are quite a few onsen (natural hot springs) in the Kuju area. Around the base of the mountains there are a few ryokan and hotels with hot spring baths that can be used by overnight guests and in some cases day trippers. The particularly attractive hot spring town of Kurokawa Onsen is also located nearby.

Elevated walkways above the wetlands beside the Chojabaru Visitor Center

Any Questions? Ask them in our question forum.

How to get there
By car

The Kuju Mountains stand along the popular Trans Kyushu Route, and the trailheads of both the Makinoto Pass and the Chojabaru Visitor Center are located along the attractive Yamanami Highway. The mountains are a two hour drive from Kumamoto and a 75 minute drive from Beppu. Rental car outlets can be easily found in both cities.

By bus along the Trans Kyushu Route

For travelers who are crossing the Trans Kyushu Route by public transportation, the Kyushu Odan Bus by Kyusanko provides bus connections to the Kuju Mountains from Kumamoto in the west (3 hours, about 2520 yen) and Beppu in the east (2 hours, about 2010 yen). The buses stop at both the Makinoto Pass and the Kuju-tozanguchi bus stop beside the Chojabaru Visitor Center.

The Kamenoi bus company also operates two daily buses between Beppu and the Makinoto Pass via Yufuin, but the section between Yufuin and Makinoto Pass is not served from December to February. The one way trip takes two hours and 2000 yen from Beppu or one hour and 1300 yen from Yufuin.

By bus from the North

For travelers coming from Fukuoka, the fastest way to reach the Kuju Mountains directly is by taking a limited express train to Bungo Nakamura Station on the JR Kyudai Line (2 hours, about 4000 yen) and then taking a bus to the Kuju-tozanguchi bus stop beside the Chojabaru Visitor Center (about 1 hour, 940 yen, 8 buses per day). Outside winter, one bus per day continues on to the Makinoto Pass.

Hours and Fees
Chojabaru Visitor Center
Hours:9:00 to 16:00
Closed:Tuesdays (except during June and October), December 29 to January 3
Admission:Free

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User Ratings
Ratings for Kuju Mountains:
japan-guide.com Rating:
  interesting  
User Rating (by 31 users):
72/100
  recommended

Best rated destinations (out of 160):
132.  Arita   73/100
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135.  Ikaho Onsen   72/100
136.  Bandai   72/100
137.  Kuju Mountains   72/100
138.  Jozankei Onsen   72/100
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134.  Shirakami Sanchi   81
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139.  Kuju Mountains   70
140.  Uchiko   64
141.  Arita   62
142.  Bitchu-Takahashi   57
143.  Echigo Tsumari   56

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Japanese Links
Aso-Kuju National Park
Official park website of the Ministry of the Environment.
Chojabaru Visitor Center
Official website of the Ministry of the Environment.
Kamenoi Bus Company
Official website.

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Related Pages
Travel
Sightseeing
Kyushu
Oita Prefecture
Aso-Kuju National Park

Trans Kyushu Route

News and Reports
November 1, 2012
Kuju Autumn Color Report
by sean
October 27, 2010
Kuju Autumn Color Report
by francois

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