3-day trekking trip into Mounts Sobo and Katamuki

In previous posts, we have written about the more “touristy” –– aspects of the Oita prefecture. From the well known hells of Beppu, attractions in Yufuin or Kuju/Kokonoe, you may already know the Oita Prefecture as one abundant with natural scenery, hot spring and, well, tourists! In this post, however, we are going to take you into Oita. Not the well-known parts easily accessible by car, bus or train, but into the wild.

We have made a 3-day trekking trip into Mounts Sobo and Katamuki, which together constitute a natural park running across the prefectures of both Oita and Kumamoto.

Access

We first took the two-hour bus, at night, from Fukuoka to the city of Oita (it is the same kind of highway bus that took us to Yufuin, Beppu and other places in the prefecture Oita). 

In very early morning, we took the local train from the city of Oita to that of Bungo-Taketa (豊後竹田), where we called a taxi/cab to bring us to the starting point.

TH_20170522-17-01-mounts-sobo

TH_20170522-17-02-mounts-sobo
Another sign that you know you’ve been “in the wild”: un-manned stations.

TH_20170522-top-17-mounts-sobo
The taxi driver made a brief stop on the way at the Taizako Gorge.

TH_20170522-17-03-mounts-sobo

TH_20170522-17-04-mounts-sobo
The weather was not great but still you can see the lurking beauty.

Taizako Gorge (滞迫峡)

The Hike

TH_20170522-17-05-mounts-sobo
We started in where the road ends, in the Ogata Town (緒方町).

One thing to note is that this is not the “walk” (or 散策), but real –– even hardcore –– trekking where you need to step into rivers as well as use all four limbs (climbing with ropes sometimes).

TH_20170522-17-06-mounts-sobo

In return, however, you will be rewarded with the view from the various mounts and peaks!

Scenery in the Mountains

TH_20170522-17-07-mounts-sobo 

TH_20170522-17-08-mounts-sobo

TH_20170522-17-09-mounts-sobo
Small “shrine” on top of Mount Sobo.

TH_20170522-17-10-mounts-sobo

TH_20170522-17-11-mounts-sobo
Lucky for the foreign tourist –– although we haven’t seen one –– not even Japanese –– in the three days while we were hiking.

TH_20170522-17-12-mounts-sobo

TH_20170522-17-13-mounts-sobo

TH_20170522-17-14-mounts-sobo
The is near Obira Mine, our exit point.

For accommodation: we did not bring tents but instead stayed in two “mountain cabins” (山小屋).
The first of them is an unmanned empty house near Mount Katamuki:

The other, where we stayed for our second night, is manned, in Mount Sobo (which is more expensive, but much more comfortable):

Red Leaves

It was in autumn that we went so, understandably, many trees and plants were somewhat withered, especially so towards the heights of the mountains where the temperature drops drastically.

TH_20170522-17-15-mounts-sobo

TH_20170522-17-16-mounts-sobo

But then, what we got in exchange, especially at the “belly” of the mountains, are a patchwork of vibrant colours!

TH_20170522-17-17-mounts-sobo

TH_20170522-17-18-mounts-sobo

TH_20170522-17-19-mounts-sobo

TH_20170522-17-20-mounts-sobo

TH_20170522-17-21-mounts-sobo

These were taken near the Gorge/Ravine Kawakami (川上渓谷), which we think is one of the most beautiful hidden gems of Oita.

TH_20170522-17-22-mounts-sobo
You find the colour green again at the foot of the hill.

Index