FUKUOKA, JAPAN – Three weeks ago, I had fantastic hiking trip that covered some of Japan’s highest peaks, and during the trip my dream of climbing the Hyakumeizan – the 100 Famous Mountains of Japan – was rekindled. It will be a long-term dream of course, but I was so excited that I actually booked some flights while we were hiking up Mt. Fuji. The destination: Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands.
And so here I am in Fukuoka, a city that thanks to Cebu Pacific’s flights is just 3 hours away from Manila. Located in Kyushu’s northwest, it will be our base (I am joined by my longtime hiking pal Jeshua Sales) for doing at least three of the five Hyakumeizan in the island (Mt. Aso is closed, while Mt. Sobo is too far to visit without also going to Mt. Aso).
As a “warm up” for the series of hikes, we decided to do a half-day hike of Homanzan (宝満山) – the nearest, and most popular dayhike, for the people of Fukuoka. A beautiful shrine village, Dazaifu, lies at its foot. From Tenjin we took a train to Dazaifu, and should have taken a bus to the foot of Homanzan, but we opted to walk instead, thankfully finding our way to the trailhead of Homanzan a few kilometers away.
The trail, part of the extensive “Kyushu Nature Trail”, was mostly composed of cemented footpaths through beautiful woodland that actually feels more of the low mountains of Taiwan than Honshu.
Finally, after two hours of trekking we reached the peak, which is marked by a small shrine and some excellent viewing spots! Although the skies were a bit overcast when we arrived, it was still a great warmup for the hikes to come.