Kaimondake: What To Do In Ibusuki

Kaimondake: What To Do In Ibusuki

Kaimondake Volcano is the southermost mountain in Japan.
Despite it being an active volcano, the Japanese advancement in monitoring earthquake and volcanic activity allows them to warn people way ahead of any mishaps.
Thus, even the Japanese are feeling safe to hike these active volcanoes.
If that still does not convince you, check the Japan Meteorological Agency for any Volcanic Warning before you begin your hike.

In fact, most volcanoes have not erupted for hundreds of years. You can see a whole bunch of List of Japan Volcanoes and when they had last erupted.

Where To Stay In Ibusuki?

Quick Video Introduction to Kaimondake Volcano

Facts about Kaimondake Volcano

Kaimondake Volcano Viewed From The Sea

Kaimondake Volcano is 924 meters in altitude.
Kaimondake volcano even earned its name as Satsuma Fuji due to its shape that looks like Mount Fuji.
It is part of the Nanjo Volcano Group, consisting of Kaimondake, Mount Yajima, Mount Kiyomi, Mount Nabeshima and Mount Uomi surrounding Lake Ikeda.

Kaimondake Volcano Weather

In the summer, the weather is mostly warm at 25 Celsius maximum and 16 Celsius minimum. Despite the warmth, the wind can still be strong. It is advisable to bring along your windbreaker jacket.
On the contrary, during the winter, it is cold at 9 Celsius maximum and -1 Celsius minimum. The trails tends to be icy and slippery, so you might want to bring a pair of crampons just in case.
As for autumn and spring, it is chilly at 18 Celsius maximum and 2 Celsius minimum. Warm attire is highly recommended.
At all times, prepare for

How To Get To Kaimondake?

Kagoshima to Ibusuki to Kaimon

From Kagoshima Station, take the JR Kagoshima Line non-stop train to Kagoshimachuo Station. This is a short trip of just 4 mins.

Then, transfer to JR Ibusuki Makurazaki Line. There are 17 stops, thus it will take 1 hour 11 minutes to reach Ibusuki Station.
Once you are at Ibusuki Station, you may need to switch to the train heading for Kaimon Station which take about 25 mins over 6 stops.

nishioyama station kaimondake volcano
Nishioyama Station: The Most Southern Station In Japan

One of the stops is the Nishi-Oyama Station.
It is the most southern station of Japan.
Make sure to take a photo there.

This is the fastest route from Kagoshima Station to Kaimon Station.
It takes 1 hour 51 mins.
Cost JPY 1470.

Climbing Kaimondake

There is only one trail to the peak of Kaimondake volcano.
Start by registering at the bookeeping office.

Japan Gazetteer Tips

It takes two and half hours to go up, and 3 hours to come down.
Total of 5 hours.
Make sure you bring enough food, water, and clothes.
Most importantly, go to the toilet before you start your journey.
There is no toilet on the summit.

Entrance to the Kaimondake Volcano Trail

Be careful when climbing rocks and stones.
Most parts of the trails when there are no handrails.
Wear gloves. You might need to climb a little. There are ladder like stairs on the some slopes.

Be careful on some rocky slopes
summit shrine kaimondake volcano
Shrine At Summit: Say Prayer To Thank For Your Safety

Once you are on the summit, do not expect a crater with lava inside.
Take a good rest!

Take a photo with the altitude marker

…And enjoy the view

Careful with strong wind if you want to do this

After the Kaimondake Hike

You might want to spend a day at Ibusuki to rest after the hike.
Japan Gazetteer recommends that you experience the Yellow Flowers and Sand Bathing before you leave.

Lake Ikeda: Kaimondake Volcano Yellow Flowers

lake ikeda yellow rapeseed
Where Can I See Such Beautiful Yellow Flowers?

This is the view from Lake Ikeda.
The blossoming flowers are Yellow Rapeseed Flowers.
Also known as NanoHana.
They bloom between early December to late February.

Relax with Ibusuki Sand Bath

When you go to Ibusuki Onsen, you do not dip yourself into the hotspring.
You will dip yourself into the sand.

That’s right!
It is a unique experience only in Ibusuki.
Like normal hotspring, they are available in many hotels.
The most famous place to experience is at Saraku Sand Bath.

It is very inexpensive. There is no reason for you not to try.
Clothes for change and bath facilities are provided.

610 yen (hot spring only)
1080 yen (including sand bath).
Children at half the price.
Opens daily: 8:30-20:30.

The idea is to bury your body, leaving your face expose to breathe.
You should feel hot, and starts sweating.
Thus detoxifying your body.

If you like it free, just go to the beach.

And, ask your friend to bury your body.

Recommended Itinerary to Kaimondake Volcano

Day 1 5:43am

Arrive a day earlier in Kagoshima.
Take the earliest train to Kaimon Station.

Day 1 7:47am

Drop off quickly at Nishi-Oyama station
and take a photo at the southernmost station in Japan.
Basically you only have a minute.
Don’t miss getting on board, or else you will need to wait for the next train which is 90 minutes away.

Day 1 7:56am

Arriving in Kaimon Station.
Take a 20 minutes walk to the Kaimon dake trail entrance

Day 1 11:30pm

Expected 3 hours ascend.
Arriving at the peak.
Enjoy the view.

Day 1 1:30pm

Expected 2 hours descend.
Take a 20 minutes walk back to Kaimon Station

Day 1 2:08pm

Take the train from Kaimon Station to Ibusuki Station

Day 1 2:35pm

Arrive in Ibusuki Station. Check in hotel and have a good rest.

I would recommend spending day 2 free-and-easy to go to Lake Ikeda to see the yellow rapeseed flower field.
Then, return to Ibusuki for the Sand Bath.
Optional, if time allows, you can sneak in the Flower Park Kagoshima.

In A Glance: Kaimondake Volcano Infographics


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In Summary: Kaimondake Volcano Review

Kaimondake Volcano
  • Easy to Climb
  • Access
  • View
  • Experience


Kaimondake Volcano scores 3.75 out of 5.
Given that the altitude is at 924 meters, it is not a mountain too high to climb. It is more of a stroll rather than a hike as you spiral to the top.
As there are no mountain huts or toilets midway, it may be difficult for ladies.
As for access, we like that Japan Rail can lead us directly to the mountain. No transit to other modes of transportation needed. I would have given it a full score if there was a direct train to the Kaimon station.
For the view, we like that there are a lot greenery and flowers along the way. Rather than just boulders, rocks and pebbles. We also like that upon reaching the summit, we get 180 degrees of land view, and another 180 degrees of sea view. It is a good mix of half-and-half.
As for experience, we had a good time especially after the hike, Ibusuki (the nearest town to Kaimondake Volcano) can offer an unique experience called the “sand bath”. Cover yourself with sand right up to the neck. The heat will make you sweat and detoxifies your body. Whereas, Lake Ikeda offers yellow rapeseed flower field in a picturesque Kaimondake Volcano on the background that you can gaze for hours.

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