Region
Kyushu
Island
Kyushu
Largest City
Kagoshima
Population
1,786,214

Mount Kaimon

Kyushu’s answer to Mount Fuji offers a unique trail and spectacular views on the coast of Kagoshima.

Mount Kaimon, or Kaimondake, is a dormant volcano located on the southern coast of Kagoshima Prefecture in Kyushu. The mountain’s perfectly conical shape has earned it the nickname ‘Satsuma Fuji’ for its resemblance to the iconic Mount Fuji and with “satsuma” being an old province of Japan that is now the western half of Kagoshima. However, Kaimon is a much easier hike than Fuji.

Ibusuki

It is also included as one of the 100 Famous Japanese Mountains in a popular book by mountaineer and author Kyūya Fukada, who details his favorite climbs. This distinction alone puts it on many keen hikers’ to-do lists.

Standing 924 meters tall, it offers a reasonably challenging climb for even experienced hikers. The trail is an interesting one that winds all the way around the mountain with no switchbacks or monotonous paved sections. You’ll find yourself climbing over exposed tree roots and scrambling over rocks as you make your way to the summit.

The hike

The trailhead is about a 30-minute walk from Kaimon station, and there are signs showing you the way. For drivers, there is a parking lot at the base. You can also find toilets and vending machines here if you need them.

Photo by: Ray_go Aerial view of Mount Kaimon.

There’s only one route to the top, and you follow the same path back down from the summit. It’s well signposted, so there’s no need to worry about getting lost. Ropes, ladders and stairs are also in place to assist climbers in the trickier sections.

When you reach the top you’ll be rewarded with a breath-taking panoramic view of the surrounding area. When the weather is clear, you can see across the ocean all the way to Yakushima, an island 61 kilometers off the coast of Kagoshima. The climb is an approximately 4-5 hour round trip to the summit and back depending on your level of fitness – and how much time you spend admiring the view!

Good to know

You can climb Mount Kaimon pretty much all year round, but it’s advisable to avoid the winter season as it may get icy at the top. There are no water sources on the mountain, so be sure to bring enough with you.

For you ambitious hikers, here’s 10 more mountains to hike in Japan.

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Trivia

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How To Get There

Address

4128 Kaimonjutchō, Ibusuki-shi, Kagoshima-ken 891-0603, Japan

By train

The nearest station is Kaimon station. (Only a few trains a day stop here, so make sure you plan your journey in advance.) There are a couple of direct trains from Kagoshima-Chuo, or you can change at Ibusuki or Yamakawa. Depending on the route, the journey will take approximately 90-120 minutes.

By car

About a 1.5-hour drive from Kagoshima City. There is a car park at the base of the mountain.

By foot

About a 30-minute walk from Kaimon station.

Where To Stay

Pension Nanohanakan
  • Yamagawaoka-chiyogamizu 1723-3 Ibusuki-Shi, Kagoshima 891-0513
  • 8.1/10
  • 7.5 km
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Iseebisou
  • Eicho Beppu 5202 Minamikyushu-Shi, Kagoshima 891-0704
  • 8.5/10
  • 9.8 km
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Minshuku Unagi Kohan
  • Yamagawanarikawa 6526 Ibusuki-Shi, Kagoshima 891-0516
  • 7.7/10
  • 10.5 km
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Ibusuki Bay Hills HOTEL & SPA
  • Higashimata 5000 Ibusuki-Shi, Kagoshima 891-0304
  • 7.6/10
  • 10.8 km
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