Travelogue continued: further speculations on why Fukada Kyuya chose Takachiho as the pre-eminent “Meizan” of the Kirishima National Park
November 18: Standing on the crater rim of Karakuni-dake, I could see the whole diagram. To be sure, Karakuni is the highest mountain in the area, but its crater wall has collapsed and the caldera is overgrown. This is a Retired Volcano, one that has taken a vow of silence. The action has all shifted to the east, where youthful Shinmoe steams and Takachiho’s bare slopes testify to recent outbursts.
Craters, new and old, pock the massif. In this Martian landscape, only one summit breaks the horizon – the elegant belvedere of Takachiho. According to the savants, a crater once truncated this peak too, before a lava dome grew up in its place.
“A mountain must have an air of distinction,” wrote Fukada Kyuya in his afterword to Nihon Hyakumeizan: “What I look for is an extraordinary distinctiveness.” That would make Takachiho the natural “Meizan” of the massif. In a world of calderas, the considerable protuberance is king.
Although I suspect that this isn’t the full story – Fukada never set much store by geomorphology – it’s time to move on; the sun is slanting ever further towards the horizon. To the south, the crater lake of Onami glints alluringly.