Mt. Kusenbu (九千部山) on the border of Saga and Fukuoka prefecture is listed as one of Kyushu’s 100 Famous Mountains. So it must be worth a look, right? Right!
I parked my car at the Minami Hata Dam near Green Pia Nakagawa park and took the Sakuradani to Urushigatani course. The course runs alongside a nice mountain stream. The trail is easy to follow. One section has some rope to hold onto, but it’s not difficult at all. Near the top you’ll hit a road and some (5?) radio towers. This is the Urushigatani part of the course. From here it’s a short walk to the peak.
The peak is what makes this mountain. There is a large observation deck with a nice view. To the north is Hakata Bay and to the south is the Ariake sea. Apparently on a good day you can see Mt. Kuju in Oita and Fugendake in Nagasaki. I could see neither (cloudy and light rain on the day of my hike). Also at the peak is a small shrine and a totem pole! I don’t know why! There are some tables. I made my morning coffee here.
There is a folk tale that tells the story of the name Kusenbuyama. Around the 5th year of the Tenryaku era (951), a young priest named Takanobu Samon climbed the mountain to read 10,000 copies of the Lotus Sutra in 49 days at the summit for the villagers who were suffering from a typhoon and illness.
Day and night he recited the sutra on the mountain. With only 7 days to go, he was feeling weak and tired. A white snake with red eyes appeared, stared at Takanobu then disappeared. Then an illusion of a beautiful woman appeared. The woman beckoned him night after night and Takanobu’s voice began to falter.
On the 50th day, the villagers came to look for Takanobu and found his bones in the shade of a rock in the valley. He had failed to complete the sutra 10,000 times. This is where the name Mt. Kusenbu (9,000 parts) comes from. A memorial is located near the place where the villagers are said to have found and buried Takanobu in the valley in the mountains.
I took a different trail down to Mt. Goka (五ヶ山). There’s an observation deck here, too, but the peak was overgrown and all I could see was trees. It’s a nice trail anyway.
For a good look of the trail and peak, check out my video!
While it’s worth hiking if you’re in Kyushu, to be honest I’m not sure how this one made the Kyushu 100 list. There are quite a few mountains I’d recommend ahead of it. Maybe I’ll give it another shot in better weather!
See my activity data and trail map (with my GPS track) here: https://yamap.com/activities/5731474
Free parking at Minami Hata Dam: https://goo.gl/maps/99KRkk9YVN2yDRKY7
Sakuratani trail head: https://goo.gl/maps/Jg5YMgiEtnGXLcQP6
Thanks for reading/watching! See you in the next hike!