Kuju Mountain Range: Mt. Kuju and Mt. Nakadake Circuit | HIKES IN JAPAN

Kuju Mountain Range: Mt. Kuju and Mt. Nakadake Circuit

Traversing the Range with the Highest Peak of Kyushu Mainland.
  • Duration
    1Day / 6.5Hours
    Highest Point
    Elevation Gain
  • Skill Level
    Fitness Level
    Gear Level

The Kuju Mountain Range (Kuju Renzan) is located in Aso-Kuju National Park in Kyushu's Oita Prefecture. The magnificent volcanic group consists of roughly a dozen peaks and is among Japan's 100 most famous mountains . It's divided into Kuju mountain system (Kuju-sankei) in the western area and Daisen mountain system (Daisen-sankei) in the eastern area. This route tours Kuju mountain system in the western area and Mt. Nakadake, the highest peak (1,791 meters) of the mainland of Kyushu , while taking in their volcanic scenery.

Ascending the stone paved slope from Makinoto-toge Pass, you'll pass two observation decks before arriving at Mt. Kutsukake (Kutsukake-yama) in about 30 minutes.

You’ll gradually ascend a broad ridge and arrive at the turn off for Ogigahana (Ohgigahara) about 45 minutes out from Mt. Kutsukake. Proceed to the left following the narrow trail through a shrub zone, and in about 30 minutes you will arrive at Mt. Hossho (Hosshoh-zan) with its bleak volcanic landscape.

After a roughly 30-minute descent, you'll arrive at the col at Kuju-wakare with its Kuju-san shelter (Kuju-san Hinan-goya). From the col you'll ascend through scree towards the ridgeline of the outer rim, and in about 40 minutes you'll arrive at the rubble summit of Mt. Kuju, the main peak of the Kuju Mountain Range.

From there you'll descend to the east. Ascending once again will bring you to Mt. Inaboshi (Inaboshi-yama) in about 40 minutes. From there you descend to the col at Higashi Senrigahama and then hike up another roughly 30 minutes to the highest peak of the Kuju Mountain Range, Mt. Nakadake.

Blue and ethereal, Miike Pond will be visible below. Descend and walk about half-way around with the pond on the right and continue the loop by traversing the right-hand slope of the outer rim. Descending to the right where the trail splits will bring you back to Kuju-wakare. It’s about an hour from Mt. Nakadake.

For the return route, passing around Mt. Hossho will bring you back to the turnoff for Ogigahana. To get back to the Makinoto-toge Pass, descend via the same trail you hiked up on.

Other Info

This route traverses a desolate volcanic landscape along the outer rim of the "Roof of Kyushu" and offers views of other well-known peaks around the island. On clear days to the southwest you can see Kumamoto Prefecture’s Mt. Aso (Aso-san) and its volcanic smoke, Miyazaki Prefecture’s highest peak Mt. Sobo (Sobo-san) to the southeast, and the twin peaks of Mt. Yufu (Yufu-dake) to the northeast.

High Season:April to June, October to November


The area around Miike Pond including Mt. Kuju, Mt. Inaboshi, and Mt. Nakadake has lots of trail junctions and similar looking scenery, so there's the chance of taking the wrong trail on days with thick fog. All these trails make a circuit so there is little chance of getting lost, but you'll still want to check the signposts and your map carefully at splits in the trail so as not to waste your time.

Route Map

Elevation Map

Height (m)
Horizontal Distance (km)


1Day / 6.5Hours
Highest Point
1791m(Mt. Nakadake)
Elevation Gain
Horizontal Distance
Skill Level
Fitness Level
Gear Level

On the Trail


Kujusan Hinan-goya, Ikeno-goya


Kuju Kanko Hotel (Makinoto Onsen)


Kuju Kanko Hotel (Makinoto Onsen)




This hike is in Kyushu's Oita Prefecture. A flight to Oita Airport takes approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes from Haneda Airport. From Oita Airport catch an Oita Kotsu Airport Bus to the Yufuin Ekimae Bus Center (approx. 55 minutes).
Change to a Kyushu Sanko Bus and you'll reach Makinoto-toge Pass in approximately an hour.



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