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Mount Aso (Kumamoto-ken) [E]
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PostYou have posted in this forum: Wed Aug 24, 2011 10:50 pm Back to top

Location : Mount Aso (阿蘇山, Aso-san)

Prefecture : Kumamoto-ken (熊本県)

Attractions :

Mount Aso
Opening hours : from 8:30 to 17:30 (March 20 – October 31), 17:00 (November 1 – November 30) ou 16:30 (December 1 – March 19)
Price : free access (charge for the cable car, which is absolutely not needed)
Access :
car - 80 minutes from Kumamoto, 120 minutes from Oita City and Beppu;
train and bus - from Aso station, 40 minutes of bus (Kyushu Sangyo) to Asozan Nishi (7 trips a day, 540 yen) followed by 4 minutes by cable car (every 8-15 min, 600 yen) or a short climb by foot, recommended.

Internet : (official web site with many information) and JNTO guide.

A red

Mount Aso


Aso train station

Aso is a volcanic area featuring one of the largest active volcanoes on earth, Nagadake (altitude 1'506 meters). Due to volcanic activity, the access is sometimes closed for safety reasons but I was lucky, there was no such restriction on that day. The weather was a bit foggy, not the best for taking pictures but awesome in terms of atmosphere.

In Japanese, the word for volcano is 火山, which literally means a "fire (火) mountain (山)".

At the background on the following picture is the area where the crater can be viewed:

Image 1477

On the left, shelters have been built in case of emergency.

Image 1478

The best moment is when you reach the edge and see the crater at the bottom, it is just a grandiose sight! Over the years, rainfall created a lake and that seemingly alive milky blue water is beautiful! well as impressive, with a feeling of power that is hard to describe...

Image 1479   Image 1480   Image 1481

Image 1482   Image 1483

As I was about to leave to reach the other summit I wanted to see, I spotted a path leading to an area where tourists are not supposed to go. They don't know what they miss...I found myself in a totally deserted area with a surreal atmosphere, almost feeling as if I were on another planet! The presence of the fog greatly added to it, and I just can't describe that experience.

As I was progressing, the sulfur vapors were getting more and more dense...because I was getting closer to the crater, except this time I was coming from behind. And I eventually reached it...As I stuck my head over the final hillock, all of a sudden I felt the power of the volcano...And this time, there was no security barrier, I was right at the edge of the crater!

Image 1484   Image 1485

Sure, it was stupid to get so close: first, it is quite slippery and second, the amount of sulfur is extremely high. But anyway, it was an exceptional experience I am not going to forget anytime soon. My legs were still shaking when I left...

To finish, I went to the summit of Nijitake, an extinguished volcano located nearby. Here is what remains of the crater:

Image 1486

And some pictures of the surroundings:

Image 1487   Image 1488   Image 1489

From what I was told, it is absolutely gorgeous in summer.

There are many hiking trails in the area, I might go back someday...

source :

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