Kirishima Kinkowan National Park

  • Bordering the prefectures of Kagoshima and Miyazaki is the craterous landscape that makes up Kirishima Kinkowan National Park. The misty peaks of green ancient cedar trees and the various other majestic greenery of the diverse plant life inspired the setting for Studio Ghibli’s classic ‘Princess Mononoke’. Described as being a remnant of the moon, Kirishima Kinkowan National Park covers 36,000 hectares of land and was designated in 1934 to be the first national park in Japan.

    Kirishima Kinkowan National Park

    Kirishima Kinkowan National Park

    The natural splendor gave rise to the air of mysticism surrounding the area. Kirishima-Yaku is important in Japanese mythology, being the sacred site where the Shinto God Ninigi no Mikoto, was sent to rule the earth, in turn creating the lineages of the Japanese emperors, the oldest monarchy in the world. Many travelers come to Kirishima Kinkowan for this sacred history and to visit the top of Mt. Takachihonomine to see the ‘Amano sakahoko’, a heavenly upside down spear purportedly placed there by Ninigi no Mikoto.

    Kirishima Kinkowan National Park

    Kirishima Kinkowan National Park

    23 volcanic cones span the area, and the region also has an expanse of onsen, thanks to the volcanic activity of the area. Visitors can relax at the Kirishima Onsen area that is referred to the locals as one of the top quality hot springs in Japan. The sulfuric waters are said to have a therapeutic effect on the skin and alleviate mild symptoms of skin allergies, as well as aid in the soothing neck and joint pains. The natural beauty of this national park is enjoyed by travelers from around the world who come to witness the natural wonders of the green landscape which is wonderfully complemented by the many beautiful lakes in the crescent of the valleys.

    Kirishima Kinkowan National Park

    Kirishima Kinkowan National Park

    Travelers up for excitement can go for a hike around the Kirishima Ridge Trail. Around 12 kilometers long and filled with several hiking courses depending on one’s fitness level, the trail shows off the best of Kirishima Kinkowan’s natural beauty. The spring to autumn months are the best times to venture the trails as some are inaccessible during winter. The Kirishima Ridge Trail follows the full width of the mountain from Ebino Kogen to the Takachiho-gawara Visitor Center. During the journey, hikers can see where Shinmoedake’s crater lake once was, which is now unfortunately covered by a lava flow from a recent eruption. Travelers may also be able to see Korea from the tallest peak, Mt Karakunidake, which stands at an imposing 1,700 meters tall.

    Kirishima Kinkowan National Park

    Kirishima Kinkowan National Park

    As public transport in the area tends to be infrequent, it is recommended that travelers either get a rental car from Kagoshima or Miyazaki, or travel by taxi. If you’re traveling by car and not so sure about how to go about exploring the park, head to the visitors center at the bottom of Kirishima Shrine where they can provide you with a map of the area, route suggestions, and if you’re there on a rainy day, umbrellas for 200 yen. There is also a second visitors center at the start of the trail where you can to check the conditions and check-in before heading off on your climb.

    Kirishima Kinkowan National Park

    Kirishima Kinkowan National Park

    Kirishima-Kinkowan National Park
    Address
    Miyazaki prefecture, Kagoshima prefecture
    Phone
    Takachihonomine
    Address
    Kagoshima Prefecture Kirishima
    Phone
    0995455111
    Kirishima Hot Spring
    Address
    Kagoshima Kirishima-shiMakizonochotakachiho
    Phone
    0995761111
    高千穂河原ビジターセンター
    Address
    鹿児島県霧島市霧島田口2583-12
    Phone
    0995-57-2505
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