Kunisaki Peninsula

  • Nakayama-senkyo ridge - © Walk Japan
  • Autumn maple leaves at Usa Shinto Shrine - © Walk Japan
  • Climbing chains - © Walk Japan
  • Early morning service, Monjusen-ji temple - © Walk Japan
  • Main torii gate at Usa Shinto Shrine - © Walk Japan
  • Mt. Yufu in the morning - © Uploaded to wikipedia by Reggaeman
  • Nameishi Dam - © Walk Japan
  • Nio guardian deities at the entrance to Futago-ji Temple - © Walk Japan
  • Nokogiri-yama - © Flickr user- Kentaro Ohno
  • Nokogiri-yama - © Flickr user- Kentaro Ohno
  • Nokogiri-yama - © Flickr user- Kentaro Ohno
  • Nokogiri-yama - © Flickr user- Kentaro Ohno
  • Nokogiri-yama - © Flickr user- Kentaro Ohno
  • Nokogiri-yama - © Flickr user- Kentaro Ohno
  • Tour Leader - © Walk Japan

Key information: Kunisaki Peninsula

    The quiet, forgotten Kunisaki Peninsula is nestled into the western end of Japan's Inland Sea on Kyushu, the most westerly island of the Japanese archipelago. It was for many centuries an important centre.

    Temples and wayside shrines are some reminders of Kunisaki's deeply religious past. 

    There are plenty of great walks here.

     

    ANYONE GOT ANY GOOD PHOTOS? WE WOULD BE DELIGHTED TO POST THEM!

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating89
  • Beauty31
  • Natural interest12
  • Human interest16
  • Charisma30
  • Negative points0
  • Total rating89

Vital Statistics

  • Length: Your choice
  • Level of Difficulty: Variable

This walk description page is at an early stage of development, and will be expanded over time. Your comments on this walk, your experiences and tips, and your photos are very welcome.

Top
Nokogiri-yama - © Flickr user- Kentaro Ohno

WALK SUMMARY

The quiet, forgotten Kunisaki Peninsula is nestled into the western end of Japan's Inland Sea on Kyushu, the most westerly island of the Japanese archipelago.

It was for many centuries an important centre of Shugendō, a syncretism of the indigenous, animistic Shinto religion and Buddhism brought from China and Korea. Temples and wayside shrines are some reminders of Kunisaki's deeply religious past. The peninsula once had 65 temples; there are now 33 remaining temples and shrines, and there is still a pilgrimage route between them. Mine-iri, a monk's practice of traversing sacred mountain paths in prayer, has been part of the religious life of Kunisaki since the 9th Century. Although now rare, the practice still continues today in Kuniskai, one of only a few places in Japan where it still does so.

This is a very volcanic landscape, with conical volcanoes and 28 often deep valleys radiating out from Mt Futego (721m) in the centre.

Great walks, many are ancient religious routes, include:

-          Nakayama Senko: this ancient pilgrimage trail climbs a fine ridge, with huge views of the area. Pass Buddhist sculpture. The descent is steep, through forest under dramatic cliffs.

-          The Tashibu-no-sho area: gorgeous and very Japanese countryside around this delightful village. Meet Buddhist statues in caves.

-          Itsutsu-ji Fudo: climb to this small Buddhist building perched in the side of a great outcrop. Fine views.

-          Tenunen-ji: climb to a Buddhist temple set into a huge cliff. Fascinating area with fine views.

-          Mount Yufu-dake: a fine volcano with outstanding views.

-          Mumyo-bashi: a steep climb to a bridge between two high crags and a descent down spectacular cliffs.

-          Nokogiri-yama: follow a superb ridge to meet a pair of Buddha reliefs carved into the living rock. Huge views.

This can be tiring walking in a frequently wet area. Come prepared.

Our friends and partners Walk Japan do an excellent-looking 10 day (8 days walking) expedition taking in most of the walks mentioned above, and a 4 day (2 days walking) expedition taking in the Nakayama Senko and Mumyo-bashi. They say:

[The long trek]... "follows in the footsteps of monks, who have walked through the mountains of the Kunisaki Peninsula for more than a thousand years. Any experienced trekker will thoroughly enjoy the ancient trails, which are now largely forgotten. These provide excellent walking through sleepy hamlets, verdant forests, along craggy ridges and over towering cliffs. On route we pass many stone Buddha statues, large and small, and the caves where monks once found shelter. As with all our tours, on Kunisaki you will be immersed in Japanese culture of the past and present, enjoy Japanese cooking at its best, luxuriate in hot springs and simply gaze at the beautiful scenery. This, of course, all with expert guidance of the Walk Japan tour leader... Occasionally we pass through picturesque hamlets and temple grounds, but otherwise our trek is largely off-road on little-known mountain paths. The climbs are usually short but they can be steep and require a degree of stamina to reach the peaks. Once there, though, the rewards include tremendous views and, as we negotiate narrow ridges and bridges, heady thrills. A reasonable head for heights is necessary."

[The short trek]...  "spend two full days exploring Kunisaki... Nokogiri-yama is one of the classic routes on Kunisaki with views across Kyushu. Nakayama-senkyo is an old pilgrimage route along a ridge lined with Buddha statues. As we climb superb views open up of the surrounding mountains and valleys. On a clear day we can see the Seto Inland Sea, the route by which Buddhism first arrived in Kunisaki from China, and Japan's main island, Honshu. Other walks take us through the atmospheric site of a long deserted monastery now only populated by the poignant graves of the many monks who lived and died here, and Walk Japan's Community Project, which is successfully helping revive a local rural community."

They have now also created a shorter and easier Kunisaki and Yufuin walk:
http://www.walkjapan.com/tour/yufuin-kunisaki-walk/

 See their full itineraries here.

This page is at an early stage of development. Please help us by making suggestions and sending photos! Thank you!

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

We have a lot of helpful practical information and tips about this walk, covering everything from the best books and maps, to timing and weather, geting there, possible problems, whether you need a guide and where to find them, and useful websites. This section is only open to members.

Membership is FREE AND JOINING TAKES 30 SECONDS. To login or sign up click here

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

Mt. Yufu in the morning - © Uploaded to wikipedia by Reggaeman

OTHER ACCOUNTS
share your experiences

Add your experiences, suggestions and photos. We would be delighted to receive your writing and ideas (which will be attributed appropriately where published).

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

Top
Nameishi Dam - © Walk Japan...
Top

Responsible travel matters, a lot. How you travel will make a real difference - for better or worse. PLEASE consider this when making plans. Read more