Explore in Kuju

There are various sights to see in Kuju. You can casually enjoy the nature at the foot of the mountains, stroll along a nature trail, or try harder trails to traverse from one peak to another.
Here, we would like to introduce major trailheads and sights to see.

Destinations

Introducing the spots to experience the nature in Kuju

  • 1

    Chojabaru Visitor Center

    Chojabaru Visitor Center

  • 2

    Tadewara Marsh

    Tadewara Marsh

  • 3

    Oike Pond Park

    Oike Pond Park

  • 4

    Makinoto Pass

    Makinoto Pass

  • 5

    Noike Park

    Noike Park

  • 6

    Somi Camp site

    Somi Camp site

  • 7

    Daikanbo Viewpoint

    Daikanbo Viewpoint

Chojabaru Visitor Center

Chojabaru Visitor Center

A museum facility where you can learn about Kuju

This is a museum introducing the nature in Aso-Kuju National Park. It has many display articles about the nature and culture in Kuju. The short films about Kuju also let you feel the nature here. In this center, you can get information about mountains and seasonal nature. There is a space you can take a rest and relax yourself.

Tadewara Marsh

Tadewara Marsh

A precious marsh which is registered under the Ramsar Convention

In Tadewara Marsh, you can see beautiful sceneries, local animals and plants which change according to the season. The wooden paths are built through the marsh and you can casually walk around it within 20 – 60minutes ( the required time differs depending on the course you choose). Some part of the path is accessible for a wheelchair. Chojabaru Visitor Center is located just in front this marsh.

Oike Pond Park

Oike Pond Park

This area is located at the foot of Mt.Kurodake, where the primeval forests still remain and clear spring water comes out. This natural spring is selected as one of “the 100 selected Great Water Sources in Japan”. Anyone who visits Oike can drink freely this famous water. A walking path is arranged through Oike pond park. You can follow the path and go into the forest to reach Meisui Fall.

Makinoto Pass

Makinoto Pass

This Pass is the highest point along Yamanami Highway, at an elevation of 1,330m. It has a trailhead leading to Mt.Kuju or Mt. Nakadake, from which many hikers head for their destinations. About 10-minute walk up on the steep paved slope takes you to a lookout, where you can see whole Handa plateau below your eyes.

Noike Park

Noike Park

A park selected as one of “the places of Scenic Beauty in Oita prefecture”.

In 1873, this park was designated as one of the modern parks as well as Arashiyama in Kyoto. It is also selected as one of “the places of Scenic Beauty in Oita prefecture”. In this park, there are some large cedar trees and a natural spring. You can enjoy walking in a calm and relaxing atmosphere of this Japanese-style garden.

Somi Camp site

Somi Camp site

A pleasant camp site with the grasslands, the woods, and a clear stream.

This camp site is located at the elevation of 850m in the food of the Kuju Range. Since this area is cool even in mid-summer, it is an ideal place to enjoy camping.

Daikanbo View Point

Daikanbo Viewpoint

A scenic place you can look around both the Kuju range and Aso five mountains

Daikanbo Viewpoint is a scenic spot named by a great Japanese writer, Sobo Tokutomi. Aso five mountains seen from this place is called “Aso Nehan-zo” (an image of the Buddha immediately after his death). Early in the morning, sea clouds cover Aso valleys creating a mysterious scenery. The Kuju Range can be seen from the southern side of this point.

九州オルレ

九州オルレ

渓谷沿いの道や林間、飯田高原の雄大な草原を歩くコース

九重“夢”大吊橋から長者原までを結ぶ、全長12.2kmのオルレコース。青と赤の矢印を目印にして歩きながら、渓谷沿いの道や林間、飯田高原の雄大な草原を体感できます。

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Trailheads

There are many trailheads in the Kuju Range. If you are planning to hike mountains, please refer to the information below. Contact Chojabaru Visitor Center (Tel: 0973-79-2154) for the information about how to get to each trailhead.

  • 1

    Mt.Mimata

    Mt.Mimata

  • 2

    Mt.Iozan

    Mt.Iozan

  • 3

    Mt.Kuju

    Mt.Kuju

  • 4

    Mt.Nakadake and Miike pond

    Mt.Nakadake and Miike pond

  • 5

    Mt.Taisen and Oike pond

    Mt.Taisen and Oike pond

  • 6

    Mt.Hiji

    Mt.Hiji

  • 7

    Kurasame Fall

    Kurasame Fall

  • 8

    Bogatsuru

    Bogatsuru

  • 9

    Hokkein Onsen

    Hokkein Onsen

  • 10

    A primeval forest in Mt. Kurodake

    A primeval forest in Mt. Kurodake

  • 11

    Nyuzan-kobo

    Nyuzan-kobo

  • 12

    Ikara-ji Temple

    Ikara-ji Temple

Mt.Mimata

Mt.Mimata

A symbol of Handa Plateau: great for both viewing and hiking

The origin of the name of Mt.Mimata is its image that seems to have three peaks no matter from where it is seen. (another theory exists). In fact, it consists of four peaks. Its massive structure can be seen from Handa Plateau and gives you a strong impression. At the top, you can enjoy walking around two crater remnants called Onabe and Konabe.

Mt.Iozan

Mt.Iozan

An active volcano still smoking vigorously

Mt. Iozan’s eruption in 1995 is still fresh in our memory. In this mountain, sulfur used to be mined in the Edo period until 1972. The area was very lively then. Still now the gas is coming out from its crater, which tells us clearly that Mt. Iozan is surely active.
At present it is prohibited to hike Mt. Iozan.

Mt.Kuju

Mt.Kuju

An iconic mountain with a sharp peak in the Kuju Range

Mt. Kuju, whose elevation is 1786.5m, is an iconice mountain of the Kuju range. Hisaya Fukada, who was a novelist and an alpinist, praised this mountain as “the head of the Kuju mountain family” in his well-known book, “100 Famous Japanese Mountains”.
It was thought to be the highest mountain in the Kuju Range before. It is a popular mountain among hikers, and there are various trails leading to this mountain top.
Every year, a ceremony to announce the start of the hiking season is held alternately in Mt. Kuju and Mt. Taisen.

Mt.Nakadake and Miike pond

Mt.Nakadake and Miike pond

Mt. Nakadake, whose elevation is 1,791m, is the highest mountain in mainland Kyushu. Just below its peak lies Miike pond. By the pond there was a rear shrine common to Ikara-ji temple and Mt.Kuju Hokkein temple. The water of the pond was specified as holy water. During the severe winter, the pond water freezes and you can walk on the ice.

Mt.Taisen and Oike pond

Mt.Taisen and Oike pond

The main peak on the east side of the Kuju Range

The grand figure of Mt. Taisen fascinates many hikers. It has the main peak on the east side of the Kuju Range. Its elevation is 1786.3m, as high as Mt.Kuju(1786.5m). It has a pond called “Oike” near the peak. This pond is famous for its beauty in the season of autumn leaves. In autumn, colorful leaves paint the mountain and the pond flaming red.

Mt.Hiji

Mt.Hiji

A field of flowers looking down to Bogatsuru

Mt. Hiji rises on the north-eastern side of Bogatsuru. It gets very crowded with hikers during the season of Miyamakirishima (Rhododendron Kiusianum). From its peak you can look down to Bogatsuru and see Mt. Mimata and Mt. Nakadake in front. This wonderful view makes Mt. Hiji more unique and attractive.

Kurasame Fall

Kurasame Fall

A beautiful water fall where you can enjoy seasonal changes – fresh green, autumn leaves and icicles.

About an hour walk from Yoshibu trailhead takes you to this water fall with a fall of 7m. The water in Bogatsuru goes down through this fall and eventually flows into the Chikugo river. Its surroundings amuse us with fresh green in early summer, colorful leaves in autumn, and crystal icicles in winter. The water fall itself sometimes freezes during severe winter.

Bogatsuru

Bogatsuru

A marsh described in the song “Bogatsuru Sanka”.

Bogatsuru, whose elevation is 1,200-1,300m, is a basin surrounded by Kuju mountains. As well as Tadewara Marsh, Bogatsuru is a precious marsh registered under the Ramsar Convention. Every spring, local people burn this field in order to maintain this beautiful grassland. A camp site and restrooms are arranged in this marsh. Imagine how wonderful it is to camp in this grassland, watch glowing mountains against the sunset, and observe the night sky sprinkled with stars!

Hokkein Onsen

Hokkein Onsen

A highest altitude onsen in Kyushu.

There used to be a temple called “Kujusan-hokkein-hakusui-ji” in southeastern part of Bogatsuru. It was a Tendai Sect temple which was built in 1470. In the Meiji period, a chief of the temple started a hot spring villa in the temple. It has remained as “Hokkein Onsen Sanso” up to today. The hikers heal their tired bodies in its sulfate spring warm water coming directly from a spring source.

A primeval forest in Mt.Kurodake

A primeval forest in Mt. Kurodake

A unique primeval forest in Kuju where no tree has been cut down ever

This primeval forest is selected as one of “the 100 selected nature in Japan desired to be left in the 21st century ” and “the 100 Selected Great Forest of water source” The name Kurodake (black mountain) comes from its deep and dark image contrasting with the vast and bright grasslands in Kuju. There are trails through the forest, along which you can stroll around Oike pond, Kakushi-mizu (hidden spring water), and Meisui Fall. This place always amuses us with its seasonal changes of beautiful nature.

Nyuzan-kobo

Nyuzan-kobo

A grave of a Load in the Edo period who loved mountains.

This is a grave of the third Load of Bungo-Oka district, Hisakiyo Nakagawa(1615-1681). Hisakiyo loved Mt. Taisen so much that he sometimes had his servant carry him on the saddle attached to the servant’s back and hiked up there. “Nyuzan-ko” was his nickname meaning “a Count who hikes a mountain”. He was loved by the people in his district as a great load. Now he is sleeping in this grave with his two children who died infancy.

Ikara-ji Temple

Ikara-ji Temple

A relic which reminds us of an ancient hunting training Yoritomo Minamoto (the founder and the first Shogun of the Kamakura period, lived 1147-1199) would often have

This is a relic of the main temple named “Kuju-san Ikara-ji” in Kuju town, Taketa city. It used to be called “Jison-in”, but Yoritomo Minamoto named this temple “Ikara-ji” in the beginning of the Kamakura period. “Ikara” in Chinese character is 猪鹿狼, each of three character means “a wild boar”, “a deer” and “a wolf”. The name “Ikara-ji” suggests that a hunting training was often held here. Once it was a major base for the practice of Shugendo (Japanese ascetic and shamanistic practice). This historic architecture reminds us of the distant past.

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Mountaineering map
  • 1

    Chojabaru(Kuju) Trailhead

    Capacity: 356 vehicles,
    19 large vehicles

    ParkingtoiletPost

    Nearby facilities
    Chojabaru Visitor Center, shop, accommodation, camp site, bus stop
    Notes
  • 2

    Makinoto Pass Trailhead

    Capacity: 158 vehicles,
    3 large vehicles

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    Nearby facilities
    shop, bus stop
    Notes
  • 3

    Mt.Ryoshidake Trailhead

    Capacity: about 10 vehicles

    Parking

    Nearby facilities
    Notes
  • 4

    Senomoto Trailhead

    Capacity: about 20 vehicles

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    Nearby facilities
    Notes
    Parking space is 300m toward Aso from the trailhead
  • 5

    Akagawa Trailhead

    Upper side
    Capacity:
    40 vehicles

    Lower side
    Capacity:
    45 vehicles

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    Nearby facilities
    accomodation
    Notes
    use the restroom in the trailhead on the upper side
  • 6

    Minami Trailhead

    Upper side
    Capacity:
    a few vehicles

    Lower side
    Capacity:
    200 vehicles

    Parkingtoiletpost

    Nearby facilities
    camp site
    Notes
    use the restroom in the trailhead on the lower side
  • 7

    Somi Trailhead

    Main Trailhead
    Capacity:
    about
    20 vehicles

    Somi Camp Site
    Capacity:
    81 vehicles,
    3 large vehicles

    Parkingtoiletpost

    Nearby facilities
    camp site
    Notes
    Use the bathroom in Somi camp site
  • 8

    Resonate Club Kuju Trailhead

    Capacity: about 30 vehicles

    parking

    Nearby facilities
    Notes
    Park in the 3rd parking area of Resonate Club
  • 9

    Gakurokuji Trailhead

    Capacity: about 40 vehicles

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    Nearby facilities
    Notes
  • 10

    Imamizu Trailhead

    Capacity: about 10 vehicles

    Parking

    Nearby facilities
    Notes
  • 11

    Shiramizu Kosen Trailhead

    Capacity: a few vehicles

    Parkingpost

    Nearby facilities
    accommodation
    Notes
  • 12

    Oike Trailhead

    Capacity: about 181 vehicles,
    4 large vehicles

    ParkingtoiletPost

    Nearby facilities
    shop
    Notes
  • 13

    Yoshibu Trailhead

    Private parking Capacity:
    100 vehicles(charged)

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    Nearby facilities
    Notes
  • 14

    Mt.Waita, Hizen-yu Trailhead

    Private parking Capacity:
    about 20 vehicles(charged)

    parking

    Nearby facilities
    accommodation
    Notes
  • 15

    Kuju Forest Park Ski Ground

    Capacity: about 40 vehicles

    Parking

    Nearby facilities
    Notes
Parking
Parking
Toilet
Toilet
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* Camping in the parking area is prohibited. Use the camp site or accommodations near the parking area.
* Do not park on the roadside.
* The restrooms are often closed during winter.
* The parking condition may be change in the private parking lot.

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