Kagoshima, Japan

Hiking, Hot Springs, and Shochu

May 9, 2008
Outside Magazine

THE DRAW The best way to cap a day of volcano hiking is to settle into a bath with a good drink. The 135,500-acre Kirishima-Yaku National Park, situated at the southern tip of Kyushu Island, provides ample opportunity: The park is home to 23 volcanoes, 15 craters, and countless onsen (natural hot springs). Rent a car in Kagoshima and drive 90 minutes to Ebino Kogen, gateway to the misty Kirishima volcanic range. The trail to the summit of Karakuni-dake, the highest peak in the region, starts at the Ebino Kogen-so hot-springs lodge (from $100; ebinokogenso.jp).

THE DRINK Shochu is a classic, clear Japanese spirit that's made from rice, barley, or sweet potatoes. Our choice is Ikkomon ($30; takarasake.com), a mellow, sweet-potato-based version that's distilled in Kagoshima. It's best served warm.

THE RECOVERY Don't miss the tonkatsu (pork cutlets) at Kago­shima's Ajimori, a traditional tapas-style pub (011-81-099-224-7634).

Filed To: Culinary, Japan