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After Sakurajima and Kagoshima, and before visiting my relatives in Hita for the New Year celebrations, I went to Kirishima national park to hike.

It was risky because the weather was changing everyday, but also because the area is famous for...its fog! In fact, it is named Kirishima for a reason: it writes 霧島, which precisely means "fog island"!

I was constantly keeping an eye on the weather forecast to decide whether I should cancel the hike or not, but I eventually decided to go.

The hiking trail starts at a small village that is pretty hard to reach without a car, as buses only run for a couple months! I spent the night at a nearby hotel which was incredibly large for such a remote location. Here is a small sample of what can be found inside:

The baths were also huge:

A detail regarding the room numbers. Note the difference between the next two pictures:

Yes, in the second one, the room 874 is missing. Here is the explanation: the number 4 writes 四 and shares its pronunciation ("shi") with the character 死 meaning...death. It is therefore only natural that a superstition associated the two characters and the number 4 is consequently avoided in room numbers.

What I don't get, though, is why they still allocated the space for the room. They don't do that usually...

The next morning, I realized that the area deserved its name but it was too late to give up. I was still nourishing the hope that the fog would clear up in the next couple hours. I couldn't be any more wrong...

The sun only deigned to start appearing for a couple minutes:

The hike, estimated at 6-7 hours, passes through four summits. Reaching the first one:

Taking pictures of wooden signs is not a hobby, and I don't consider that climbing a 1700 meters mountain is a feat of any kind, but that was about the only thing I could shoot...

After thinking about the situation for a little while, I finally decided to turn back as I didn't see any point in keeping hiking in the fog...

Categories: Travel - Hiking

4 comment(s)

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By mamie on 06/17/2009 at 09:51:28

que dire de plus , tu sais toujours nous captiver avec tes récits et tes belles photos
on a envie de visiter ce beau pays , bravo !!!!!

By Jon on 06/19/2009 at 16:57:46

Seems like you had a nice little trip.

Regarding the room numbers, do they only avoid 四 at the end of room numbers? I mean, they have an 849, after all. And, yeah, the allocation of space is odd. Perhaps there once WAS such a room?

By Tarto on 06/21/2009 at 04:05:44

Yes, they only avoid it at the end.
And wow, it would be freaky if there once was a room 874...just imagine someone's still inside :-)

By hubertberlu on 12/30/2009 at 18:25:22

le paysage fait splendide en tout cas!

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