Kirishima, Japan – Travel Guide
Kirishima-Yaku National Park is composed of two parts: Kirishima, on the main island of Kyushu, and the nearby islands of Yakushima and Kuchinoerabu to the south. This guide focuses on Kirishima, while Yakushima is covered in a separate article. Additionally, locals are usually confused by people using the combined "Kirishima-Yaku" name, so it's better to stick to the name of the respective area you are referring to.
Flora and fauna
Kirishima literally means "Misty Island", but it's not an island at all: instead, the name is a reference to how often the mountain is wrapped in misty fog, and it's thus not a surprise that it rains more or less all the time here.
Kirishima is quite spread out. For the hot springs, the nearest station is Kirishima Jingu (霧島神宮駅) on the JR Nippo Line between Kagoshima (45 min) and Miyazaki (1:20), from where buses connect to the hot spring resort of Kirishima Onsen (霧島温泉) in 25 min.
Access to the trailheads at Ebino Kogen (えびの高原) is harder, and your own car will come in handy. Bus schedules change rapidly, but as of 2009, the two options are:
- From Kirishima Jingu, there are two buses on Sat/Sun only (and daily in May) to Ebino Kogen, taking about 1 hour (¥740). Departures are at 8 and 10:20 AM, returning at 1 and 3:30 PM; check with the Kirishima Tourism Office (tel. 0995-57-1588)  for updates.
- From Miyazaki's Miyakoh City bus terminal (宮交シティ), Miyazaki Kotsu  operates one bus on Sat/Sun (dep 8:41) plus one on Sun only (dep 10:21) that goes directly to Ebino Kogen via Kobayashi. 2.5 hours, ¥2800, April-late Nov only.
Thanks to heavy volcanic activity, there are countless hot springs in the area, some of which have a recognizable smell or billowing pillars of steam. Several ashiyu （足湯）, or "foot baths," in the area are free of charge.
There is also a large and famous shrine in the area worth visiting called Kirishima Jingu （霧島神宮）.