mpollock July 24th, 2013
Although the farm animals (and mini go-carts) were great fun, our real goal was to see the fantastic view of the Kirishima volcano.
Karakunidake is the tallest peak of the Kirishima volcanic complex while Ohachi is the site of Kirishima’s largest recorded historical eruption. According to the guidebook, the younger cones in the Kirishima volcanic complex have erupted repeatedly since the Pleistocene (starting about 300 thousand years ago). The most recent eruption occurred in January, 2011, at Shinmoedake volcano. It was a violent eruption that ejected pyroclastic materials (pumice, ash, bombs) and formed a lava dome. The guidebook describes shock waves that shattered windows in the nearby Kirishima city.
The triangular peak of Takachihonomine is famous for it’s role in a Shinto myth. It’s the location where Ninigi-no-Mikoto, the grandson of the sun goddess Amaterasu, descended from heaven to rule the earth.
Originally built in the 6th century, volcanic eruptions have destroyed the shrine multiple times. The current structure was built nearly 300 years ago.
In the Kirishima area, volcanoes play an important role in mythology and the presence of fertile farmland. I can’t think of a better place to observe the interaction between culture and volcanoes.