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National Park Picnic Walk

Kirishima Kinkowan National Park

Ebino Plateau Crater Lake Tour



Feeling the workings of the Earth in the depths of our soul

The collision of giant underwater plates causes volcanic activity, which creates landforms on the surface—feeling the workings of the Earth was the theme of our hike here in Kirishima-Kinkowan National Park. The numerous trails are divided largely into foothill courses and mountain courses. We chose one of the latter called the Ebino Plateau Crater Lake Tour. 

Ranger Mr.Harasawa, our guide in the Ebino Plateau, recommended that we come back in June and see the Kyushu azalea.

The gentle trail circles the three crater lakes in the basin of the Kirishima massif: Rokkannon-miike Crater Lake, formed in deposits of ejecta around the crater; Byakushi-ike Crater Lake, formerly open to the public as an ice skating rink; and Fudo-ike Crater Lake, surrounded by a blanket of violet Kyushu azaleas (Rhododendron kiusianum) in the early summer. Along the way, views of Mt. Kurinodake and Mt. Sakurajima speak of the dynamic tectonic uplift that shaped the landscape. The vegetation is also interesting. 

A wasteland left behind by volcanic eruption normally transition into fields of maiden silvergrass, and over time, into forests of Japanese red pine, beech, mizunara (Quercus crispula), and evergreen oak. But here, the eruptions are so frequent that some patches of land are clearly starting over from scratch. In areas where recovery has progressed, the pale pink flowers of a wild species of nokaido (Malus spontanea) found only in the Ebino Plateau are the highlight of the springtime. Our short walk provided a glimpse of plant life going through a historical cycle of devastation and recovery.

Kirishima-Kinkowan National Park offers a fun selection of beautiful, well-designed hiking courses.

The wooden deck at the Rokkannon-miike Crater Lake Observatory offers a splendid view of Mt. Karakunidake, the highest peak in the Kirishima massif. The delicate contrast between the green of the hillside and the cobalt blue of the lake leaves a lasting impression on hikers. This Crater Lake Tour is listed as one of the Forestry Agency’s hundred best forests for nature therapy, and sure enough, the trail provided an artistic outlook of the serene atmosphere of the woods, the rough undulating landscape, and the glass-smooth surface of the lakes.

Savoring the local food and connecting with the residents is nice, but on top of that, you need to take a quiet walk to really get to know the land.

The Niko Panorama Observatory overlooks the “two crater lakes” (niko) of Rokkannon-miike and Byakushi-ike against Mt. Karakunidake and Mt. Koshikidake.


The two-hour, 5.2-kilometer-long hiking course visits three crater lakes while you take in the constantly changing natural environment. The highlight is the lakes’ surface mirroring the transition between the seasons and the different times of day. The reflection of the autumn foliage is beautiful beyond description.

Ebino Eco Museum Center
1495-5 Oaza Suenaga, Ebino-shi, Miyazaki

Recharge your energy for the road with soba manju (steamed bun of buckwheat flour filled with sweet bean paste) and Kiitos chocolate, made only with select cacao beans and cane sugar. Clink glasses of Kuroki Honten / Osuzuyama Distillery’s Osuzu Gin, and take in the amazing view of Kirishima-Kinkowan National Park one last time.
We drive full on into Kyushu’s National Parks. With each park we explore not only it’s nature but also the diverse culture and people living within them. And collaborate with these individuals (farmers, fisherman, makers) to create 5 original sandwiches representing each of the National Parks.
Papersky teamed up with Japan’s best mountaineering app YAMAP to create a detailed map for walking this NATIONAL PARK ROUTE. Simply click on this banner, download the YAMAP app if you are not already a user, and begin your Kyushu NATIONAL PARK WALK adventure.