The enjoyable part of hiking Mt. Takachiho-no-mine (高千穂峰) is not going up but coming down. This 1,574 m tall mountain is located in Miyazaki prefecture in Kyushu. It’s totally covered in loose pebbles and small stones with few solid grounds for you to gain your balance as you climb up.
As an inexperienced hiker, I went without the trekking poles or gloves. It’s possible to reach the summit without those equipments but it is easier to climb with the trekking poles.
Halfway through I was already out of breath and my friend was way ahead of me. There were many elderly people climbing with me with their trekking poles. I kept sliding backwards due to the loose pebbles and stones while the elderly people moved ahead like they had done it a thousand times. Eventually I reached the middle ground and could see the volcano crater on my right. This was not the summit yet and it felt really good looking down, taking in the beautiful landscape.
Finally, I reached the summit of Mt. Takachiho-no-mine and breathe a sigh of relief. I had never climbed a mountain in my life and this was the first mountain I had conquered. It was a worthwhile effort and the view from the top was indeed breathtaking. It made me realize that the world is so large when I looked into the horizons. Indeed, Japan has a lot to offer besides the usual city landscapes.
The way down is much easier than the climb up. Since the mountain is covered in loose small stones, you can actually ‘ski’ down the mountain. It might take 2 or 3 hours to climb up but it took about 30 minutes to ‘ski’ down the mountain. An elderly man ‘skied’ down the mountain without trekking poles and he made it seem so effortless when he did it. I was in awe when he slid down to the base of the mountain faster than my friend who was an experienced hiker.