Akiyoshidai Plateau is the largest karst plateau in Japan, and Mt. Kanmuri, located in the northern part, is known for being an easy trekking course.
Along the Akiyoshi-dai Karst Road, which runs south to north through the plateau, you will find the Chojaga Mori parking area, the base point for walks in the northern part.
Located a short walk from the parking area, this is Chojaga forest.
According to legend, this is the remains of the mysterious forest where the Heike clan fled and set up dwellings after losing the battle of Dannoura (the final battle of the Heike-Genji wars).
While a hokora with piled up stones (small roadside shrine) has been set up on a mound, the forest surroundings are somewhat dim, making the atmosphere somewhat mysterious.
The mountain trail leading from Chojaga forest towards Mt. Kanmuri stretches on. Although a mountain trail in name, the slope is gentle. At the midway point you can see basin-shaped hollows called dolines or sinkholes, and scenery characteristic of karst terrain with exposed limestone.
Formed in ancient times from a coral reef, the Akiyoshidai Plateau is a layer of limestone that rose up due to changes in the earth’s crust.
Lying on the ground, you can see numerous pieces of white limestone that are the remains of that coral reef.
This scenery with a twisting and turning trail that seems to go on forever along the gentle form of the karst plateau is a sight you don’t really get to see anywhere else…
After climbing up the trail along a hill, you come to a tall stone monument with an inscription saying that it was set up in 1929 and is called “Tennen Kinenbutsu Akiyoshidai Yama no Jigokudai” (‘Natural monument Akiyoshidai Plateau mountain’s Jigoku-dai”. Some of the characters used in the carvings are dated, and the low hill covered with limestone seen in the background is “Jigoku-dai”.
Once you’ve reached this point, the peak of Mt. Kanmuri is only a little further. I aim towards it and continue on the trail heading in the opposite direction to Jigoku-dai.
Finally I reach the top of Mt. Kanmuri (377m above sea level). I sit down on the bench for a while – it’s break time!
From the top of the mountain you have a view down to the Chojagamori parking area, our starting point. It’s quite near, isn’t it?
A relatively easy climb, it takes around 40-50 minutes on foot from the parking area to the top of Mt. Kanmuri!
I recommend visiting Akiyoshidai Plateau in the evening! Even the sight of this dreary karst terrain is quite beautiful at that time of day.
The southern part of Akiyoshidai Plateau ( https://setouchifinder.com/en/detail/510 ) is also a popular area, with a walking course along the karst plateau with focus on Mt. Wakatakeyama as well as the Akiyoshi-dai Science Museum and the Akiyoshido cave, among other sights.
There are, however, fun trekking courses in the northern area too, which allow you to experience the real karst plateau.
How about a walk along the trail at Akiyoshidai Plateau that seems to continue on all the way to the horizon?
Akiyoshidai Plateau Chojagamori Parking area
Location: Naganobori, Mito-cho, Mine city, Yamaguchi prefecture
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Hironobu Matsuoka
Hironobu Matsuoka / Photo-writer Born in 1974 in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, and currently living there, Hironobu is the president of Mediapolis Inc. "I travel around the country in Solar King, an eco-camping car that has a solar power generator, and film the beautiful scenery of Japan in high-definition. I want to move around the country as much as possible and leave behind videos of precious Japanese nature and scenery for future generations to enjoy. Although I travel all over the country, I love my home area of Setouchi." 'Healing Japan TV' - Traveling virtually around the country through 'healing videos'.
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