Miwa and I traveled to the Kirishima National Park area to do some hiking, site seeing, and Onsen (hot Springs) relaxation. Established in 1934 Kirishima National Park is the oldest in Japan. The area is surrounded by volcanos with 23 volcanic peaks.
Ryoma Sakamoto a noted reformer and activist during the Edo period traveled from Kyoto to Kagoshima prefecture in 1866. He climbed to the top of Mount Takachiho to Kirishima Shrine where he performed a sacred ceremony for his new bride Oryo, which was the first recorded honeymoon in Japan’s history.
We flew to Miyazaki taking advantage of a major air carrier’s special discount program, took a train to Miyazaki Station, and then onto Kirishima Jingu Station. Upon arrival we used the free shuttle to Daiwa Royal Hotel. (Please note you need to make reservations in advance for the shuttle) The hotel is a well-maintained older resort, which we chose because of the location to local attractions and they accepted the Kirishima city discount coupon as payment for our stay.
Back in the 6th century Kirishima Shrine was established at the summit of Mount Takachiho, however due to numerous volcanic events it was rebuilt in 1975 at its present site. Today the Shrine is an Important Cultural Property and the main worship hall is a National Treasure.
Just before you enter the Shrine is the Folk Art Village. We had time before the Shrine opened and decided to do some exploring at the village. It is free to enter and if you like woodcrafts or pottery this place has it all. Many of the items were for sale and if we had a bigger home would have liked to purchase some of the beautiful furniture. Built in 1940 it is a Prefectural Designated Tangible Cultural Property.
Boarded a bus to Takachiho, Makizonocho and hiked some moderate trails for few hours, then used the Maru Onsen footbath for a nice relaxing break and finally walked to Maruo Falls. Although only 75 feet high, the falls were very picturesque with a beautiful blue hot sulfur water pool at the bottom. Since the weather was cool you could see steam rising downstream.
Took a bus back to our hotel and noticed a sign for Takachiho Farm. It has been seven years since I have visited the states and this farm was very Americana, with a huge U.S.A. Flag, and gospel music playing on the loud speakers. There were horses, lots of sheep and of course cows. We visited the food court and enjoyed some fresh made soft cream. There are many farm related activities, including milking cows, feeding sheep, and a horse riding area. It was such a happy place with lots of children laughing and learning about farm life.
Even though it was near closing time we decided to walk a kilometer to Kirishima Tamago Bokujo. Their chicken sign is what attracted us to make the walk. Since the main building was closed, we were allowed into the souvenir shop and the lady patiently waited while we made a quick purchase of the areas famous smoked chicken to bring back home.
Kirishima was a fun trip and we will be returning to hit some of the bird watching areas in this part of Kyushu, as well as hiking a few of the volcanos.