(not quite a) 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.

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


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.



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)


Stage clear!


Stage 2 – Rocks

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


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



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


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…



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


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

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!



and the view, whilst misty, was pretty great


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


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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