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...