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Ascent of Miyanoura-dake on 2019-09-27

Climber: Rob Woodall

Date:Friday, September 27, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Miyanoura-dake
    Location:Japan
    Elevation:6352 ft / 1936 m

Ascent Trip Report

The crux of this peak is the travel logistics. It's also one of the wettest places on earth, averaging 10m rainfall/year. Otherwise a straightforward hike on a well defined trail, albeit rooty in places, with rope to assist a few short steep rocky sections.

We take our rental car across to Yakushima, this seems the most efficient way to day hike the peak, and saves having to either rent a car over there or navigate the public transport system. The ferry cost us 312GBP (total for 2 people) in 2019; renting a car and 1 night lodging would have cost a little more; the overnight freight ferry would have cost a little less (but was out of service for maintenance).

Travelling as a foot passenger and using public transport would likely require 2 nights on the island with similar cost unless camping - for a possible public transport approach, see later in report. 

It seemed difficult to book the ferry ahead (if you have a couple of nights in a hotel, ask them to make a phone booking; or find a travel agent with good English) - so we arrived the day before and booked at the counter, limited English but ok, seemed plenty of room for the car, maybe a different story in high season/ weekend/ public holidays. 

Here's what we did:
(First tried the cheaper Hibiscus overnight freight ferry at 31.48286° N, 130.51632° E - departs 1800, arrives 0700; return ferry departs Yakushima Miyanoura Port 0810, arrives 1440 - but was out of service for maintenance)
1. The day before, locate Yakushima 2 main terminal building (31.59183° N, 130.56679° E, nearby car park has 1hr free parking), book car (and any passengers)
2. Find nice (cheap) hotel with view of Sakurajima volcano (Japan's most active as of 2019) to pass the time
3. Next morning, return to main terminal building at 0730 to pay for passenger ticket, ¥9500
4. Go next door to pay for car and driver, ¥33000, they want to see car rental paperwork, luckily didn't ask to see VEHICLE  INSPECTION CERTIFICATE (but may be worth having your rental firm supply a copy just in case)
5. Drive aboard (passenger boards on foot)

We decide to climb the peak that afternoon as the weather forecast is less wet and we don't have the time pressure of an early afternoon ferry to catch. Arriving at 1230, with a slow 48km drive to Yodogawa trailhead 30.29963° N, 130.53392° E, 1380m we reckon be hiking by 1400 and down by 2000 by torchlight, seeming a viable plan given there's a good trail. (But the 0700 Hibiscus overnight arrival would have been much better.)  In fact we take 2h40 up, the highpoint an outcrop 4m S of trig block, at 30.33605° N, 130.50424° E. Down in 2h40, passing a few of the island's confiding sika deer; the last hour by head torch. Mostly in rain, often heavy; it's not cold, we don't wear waterproofs. GPS records 856m ascent although there's only 600m net height gain - that's a lot of ups and downs!

Next day, the return voyage leaves Yakushima Miyanoura Port at 13:30 and arrives at Kagoshima at about 17:40. We then drive north to the next day's peak, Kuju/Nakadake.

A description of a north south traverse in March 2019 (Presumably took bus to Shiratani Unsuikyo; hutted 1 night en route at the larger/emptier/southernmost of the two en route ):-
" I did a very efficient traverse route.  Arriving on the overnight ferry in the morning and hiking a traverse route from Shiratani Unsuikyo <30.37998° N, 130.57412° E> (which might have been where the trail was washed out).  I finished at Yodogawa trailhead (actually walked a little down the road to get the bus from Kigen-sugi <30.30271° N, 130.54457° E>). The bus went back to Anbo where I camped the night and took the high speed ferry back to Kagoshima the next morning."

Note: as far  as I can tell, the first bus leaves Miyanoura port 0810, arrives Shiratani trailhead 0845; last bus leaves Kigensugi at 1455, suggesting only 6h for the hike - this would be pretty fast and likely require some jogging. Taxi to Shiratani Unsuikyo could maybe save up to 1hr. It's 9.5km down from summit to Kigensugi, 600m descent; maybe 15km up from Shiratani to summit, with 1300m net ascent
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1862 ft / 567 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1862 ft / 567 m
    Distance:8.7 mi / 14.1 km
    Start Trailhead:4490 ft / 1368 m
Descent Statistics
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Rob Woodall
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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