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October 21, 2015 - Kaimon-dake, reaching for heaven
During a previous visit to Japan I went to visit the rural Satsuma pensinsula south of Kagoshima. The weather was for that season astonishing and I really fancied trying to reach the top of the mighty Kaimon-dake, one of Japan's famous 100 mountains but since I got there too late and my equipment was not apt for any sudden weather changes I put that on hold.
This time however I came prepared.
The earliest train I have ever used in Japan left a dark and deserted Kagoshima-Chuo station 4.51.
About an hour later I had to change trains in Ibusuki for the final part of the train journey.
The train brought me to Kaimon station at 6.34 just past sunrise.
The road from the station was rather flat at first but the ascent to the mountain path entrance got rather steep eventually. More than halfway I came across the final vending machine I could find before the hike.
At the entrance a sign informed me about sunset times and recommended climbing time so I could as well get started right away.
The hike started through a rather thick forest but the sun had raised high enough to make it bright enough.
About 40 minutes later I reached the 5th station which offered me a resting bench and a splendid view east toward Nagasakibana and possibly the Minami-Osumi peninsula.
After a well deserved break and some chat with a fellow hiker I moved on through more forest paths which eventually became more and more rocky.
After yet another 40 minutes I reached another viewpoint offering views to the south. During clear weather it should be possible to see as far as Yakushima but luck was not with me this day. Up here I started feeling some strong winds, reminding me of this mountain's proximity to the ocean making it rather exposed to the ocean weather and storms.
I moved on through the rocky terrain which also reminded me of the fact that I was climbing a volcano.
Yet another viewpoint came across me, this time toward the west. It also made me realize the hight of this thing I was climbing. Being at a hight taller than Tokyo Sky Tree, without the guardrails, was an amazing feeling.
Finally, at around 9.30 with barely 2,5 hours of climbing behind me I reached the top of Kaimon-dake. Here I could also bring use to my wind breaking gear as the wind was so strong it was hard to stand at this point. I was greeted by some other hikers who enjoyed the view of the surrounding areas when resting their feet.
When finally starting the descent I offered my respects to the nearby shrine and about 2 hours of hiking I reached the entrance again, astonishinly proud of the visit to the sky.
List of Posts:
2015/10/22 - Off the beaten path: Kagoshima to Osumi-peninsula
2015/10/21 - Kaimon-dake, reaching for heaven
2015/10/17 - Nightly adventures, night train from Izumo to Tokyo
2013/10/04 - Finding Ponyo in Tomo-no-Ura
2013/10/03 - Nara with Wakakusayama