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Japan Karatsu Castle Hiking

10 November 2018

Pollution day in Karatsu

Well, today was supposed to be a rest day. Right now I have already done over 40k steps again. Nearly all on roads so for those of you playing along at home, thats over 30km.

It all started with a scroll of google maps, along a train line, until I saw a nice coastal region with islands and a castle. This place was called Karatsu.
Sure the castle is fake, they nearly all are, this one has a lift and anime characters as you shall see, but even fake castles make for nice photos, and a relaxing time. Relaxing was the plan anyway.

Then I saw that theres a famous coastal pine forest. I have never seen a famous coastal pine forest before, so I thought I had better go have a look at that, I planned to walk 2 stations over through the forest.
The forest was nice enough, I did not find any dead bodies, but it was just pine trees. Thats when I saw the small mountain, which clearly had a lookout on the top. There was not even a moments doubt, up the mountain I shall go.

The path was a road, so it made for fast going, as the road was about 5km each way, and the view from the top was spectacular. There were some guys up there about to die hang gliding, but I couldnt wait for them to finish assembling their string and bed sheet contraptions to find out, so I descended back down at the double and wandered through some rice fields to 4 stations over, where I just missed the train.

Waiting for me at Hamasaki station there was a small man inside a booth selling chocolates, I had not really eaten so I bought some peanut m&m's. I suspect I was his only customer this century and my chocolates pre date the atomic bombing.
Anyway, for an unknown stupid reason, the 5 products for sale were behind a locked glass window he could only open from inside his booth, but then he could not see the price. So the process was, I go to the window, motion that I want something. He unlocks the window, I select something, hold it up to him behind the glass. He locks the window and then his booth, comes out from behind the glass and checks the price. He then unlocks his booth, goes back in, re locks it and I hand him 120 yen ($1.50) through the hole in his glass. It only took about 9 minutes to purchase. I still dont understand what would stop anyone from just running off with his 5 products after he unlocked the window. Luckily I did not miss the next train.

Too many photos again today, some of them are ok despite the pollution, I did use the lightroom dehaze filter to try and see through the farmer created burn off smoke, so the colors might look weird in exchange for detail.

Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - We start our journey today with the Tenjin underground shopping streets which extend many kilometres (no exaggeration) and connect multiple stations.

We start our journey today with the Tenjin underground shopping streets which extend many kilometres (no exaggeration) and connect multiple stations. I did not have to go far to get to my station, but since I was early I walked a bit of a lap anyway.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - Arriving at Karatsu I was greeted by the pine cone monster. I now understand he was advertising the coastal pine forest.

Arriving at Karatsu I was greeted by the pine cone monster. I now understand he was advertising the coastal pine forest.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - Redundant photo of station just so I could remember the name of the place I went to. The city area had nothing of interest, it was all shut while I wa

Redundant photo of station just so I could remember the name of the place I went to. The city area had nothing of interest, it was all shut while I walked through.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - The main street has lots of statues of boys playing flutes. I dont know what to think about this.

The main street has lots of statues of boys playing flutes. I dont know what to think about this.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - Before long I arrived at the beach, and could see the full impact of todays burn off pollution. I saw lots of farmers fires from the train. They need

Before long I arrived at the beach, and could see the full impact of todays burn off pollution. I saw lots of farmers fires from the train. They need to stop this bullshit.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - Ahhh, beautiful Japan.

Ahhh, beautiful Japan.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - Todays cat was pretty cool, very friendly, followed me for ages.

Todays cat was pretty cool, very friendly, followed me for ages.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - The bay has many islands and causeways and breakwaters and boats. There were ferries heading out to islands you cant see through the smoke.

The bay has many islands and causeways and breakwaters and boats. There were ferries heading out to islands you cant see through the smoke.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - The castle was not far from the station despite my longer course along the beach. Before I knew it I was ascending the stairs through an army of guys

The castle was not far from the station despite my longer course along the beach. Before I knew it I was ascending the stairs through an army of guys with leaf blowers and old ladies raking up the blown leaves. Also, Japanese women, cut this shit you do where you pretend to be exhausted climbing a few stairs and making ridiculous exasperated noises and extending a hand to your boyfriend / husband begging for him to hold your arm like that will help. I know its fake. You only do it when you are with your male partner. A group of women on their own do not suffer from this idiotic behaviour.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - I liked this view a lot. As you shall soon see, I took it from various heights, and then later in the day you shall see it again from my surprise moun

I liked this view a lot. As you shall soon see, I took it from various heights, and then later in the day you shall see it again from my surprise mountain lookout.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - Here is the steel and concrete castle. A white one not a red one or a gold one. I think theres a silver one too, but most are white.

Here is the steel and concrete castle. A white one not a red one or a gold one. I think theres a silver one too, but most are white.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - I decided it was worth a second photo.

I decided it was worth a second photo.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - Another shot of the bay, pollution not as bad from this angle. Those two chimneys are part of a huge industrial complex. Strange place to put it.

Another shot of the bay, pollution not as bad from this angle. Those two chimneys are part of a huge industrial complex. Strange place to put it.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - Its about $5 to go in the castle. Its really only worth paying if you want to photograph the higher view. Inside theres a couple of pieces of pottery

Its about $5 to go in the castle. Its really only worth paying if you want to photograph the higher view. Inside theres a couple of pieces of pottery and then the rest of the floors have stuff like this. There is absolutely zero English. I never really read the stuff anyway, but I do like to see Samurai outfits and swords. There were none today.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - Now some view shots. Theres that cool ISTHUMUS again, I would head that way after leaving the castle. The small mountain I would go up later is also b

Now some view shots. Theres that cool ISTHUMUS again, I would head that way after leaving the castle. The small mountain I would go up later is also behind it.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - Another shot of the islands with a bit of the castle.

Another shot of the islands with a bit of the castle.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - And a higher perspective of the chimneys.

And a higher perspective of the chimneys.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - This is the sizeable town of Karatsu. It looks nice from up here. I think lots of it is abandoned. This shot cleaned up ok!

This is the sizeable town of Karatsu. It looks nice from up here. I think lots of it is abandoned. This shot cleaned up ok!


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - Looking along the river however, and you can see lots of smoke hanging around.

Looking along the river however, and you can see lots of smoke hanging around.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - One last anime character to wave goodbye as I left the castle.

One last anime character to wave goodbye as I left the castle.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - I decided to take another shot from the ISTHUMUS, which is todays word of the day.

I decided to take another shot from the ISTHUMUS, which is todays word of the day.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - Work time! Notice these trucks have skirts / rails along the side between the wheels and even hanging from the back to stop people / bikes etc going u

Work time! Notice these trucks have skirts / rails along the side between the wheels and even hanging from the back to stop people / bikes etc going under the wheels? I have been asking at work why we dont have that and I never get a straight answer. I am convinced the last 2 fatalities where I work would have been avoided if our trucks had those. I first noticed them in Taiwan, land of the scooter. Trucks in Australia just dont have these, why not?


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - I yelled at this sound level measuring equipment for ages to see if I could set a new high score.

I yelled at this sound level measuring equipment for ages to see if I could set a new high score.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - Now its time for the coastal pine forest. It was planted by humans. Its pine trees, the non farming for timber kind, or maybe they just left them to g

Now its time for the coastal pine forest. It was planted by humans. Its pine trees, the non farming for timber kind, or maybe they just left them to grow into weird shapes.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - Have a bit more pine forest. You will see later that from above its huge and impressive looking.

Have a bit more pine forest. You will see later that from above its huge and impressive looking.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - At this point I had spotted the mountain lookout, so I bounded across a rice field.

At this point I had spotted the mountain lookout, so I bounded across a rice field.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - And there she is, todays bonus mini mountain!

And there she is, todays bonus mini mountain!


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - There was a huge gate to get you started, also a good place to quietly urinate before jogging up the hill after I had drank a litre of water in prepar

There was a huge gate to get you started, also a good place to quietly urinate before jogging up the hill after I had drank a litre of water in preparation!


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - At about this point, there were lots of GLAMPING spots, which is glamorous camping, they all had no customers. One guy stopped me and tried to sell me

At about this point, there were lots of GLAMPING spots, which is glamorous camping, they all had no customers. One guy stopped me and tried to sell me a camping spot. I told him I was just jogging back to Fukuoka over all the mountains, and that I have no gear, no water, no map.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - The view down the coast was rewarding. So many mountains! Who said Kyushu has no mountains? They are not very tall but look prominent because they exe

The view down the coast was rewarding. So many mountains! Who said Kyushu has no mountains? They are not very tall but look prominent because they exend up out of the ocean.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - Obviously at the top, theres a shrine. I rang the bells etc. There was no one there.

Obviously at the top, theres a shrine. I rang the bells etc. There was no one there.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - Ahhhhhh, now the excellent view from the top. I was so glad I made the effort of an unplanned mountain. This is probably photo of the day.

Ahhhhhh, now the excellent view from the top. I was so glad I made the effort of an unplanned mountain. This is probably photo of the day.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - Here you can see half the coastal pine forest, extending up the ISTHUMUS and over the bridge to the castle with the chimneys in the distance, basicall

Here you can see half the coastal pine forest, extending up the ISTHUMUS and over the bridge to the castle with the chimneys in the distance, basically the path I had walked to get to this point.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - And as you can see, the coastal pine forest extends in the other direction also. I sure did say 'coastal pine forest' a lot today. Also that pointy mo

And as you can see, the coastal pine forest extends in the other direction also. I sure did say 'coastal pine forest' a lot today. Also that pointy mountain that sticks up near the right edge. It looks big but I cant find it on a map. This bugs me as it must be near the ocean and near the train line. I feel it must have trails up it.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - Heres the guys about to leap off the cliff with a few poles, bed sheets and bits of wire. Good luck with that.

Heres the guys about to leap off the cliff with a few poles, bed sheets and bits of wire. Good luck with that.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - I was keeping a close eye on my bulging forehead vein!

I was keeping a close eye on my bulging forehead vein!


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - The top of this mountain is car accessible and has a nice park with gardens, a lake, a bridge. I dont think you are supposed to walk up like I did.

The top of this mountain is car accessible and has a nice park with gardens, a lake, a bridge. I dont think you are supposed to walk up like I did.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - I selected some back roads to Hamasaki station. These ones appear earthquake damaged! I saw something similar in Taiwan. I was concerned I might fall

I selected some back roads to Hamasaki station. These ones appear earthquake damaged! I saw something similar in Taiwan. I was concerned I might fall into a sinkhole.


Japan-Karatsu-Castle-Hiking - Last pic of the day, looking back into the smoke, over a a rice field, with bonus mountain on the left. Todays rest day was a great day!

Last pic of the day, looking back into the smoke, over a a rice field, with bonus mountain on the left. Todays rest day was a great day!


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