Mount Aso – 阿蘇山
In Kyūshū island there are many attractive places: this time we talk about mount Aso, located in the middle of this region.
What’s special about mount Aso?
Surrounded by Aso-kujū National Park, Mount Aso (which is 1592 meters high) is the most active volcano of Japan. If compared to other mountains its height is nothing special, but among Japanese volcanoes it claims to be the widest.
Moreover, its caldera‘s size make of mount Aso a world top-class volcano. According to the researchers, the amount of lava erupted from mount Aso would correspond to mount Fuji’s volume. It is possible to reach the caldera and hiking while visiting.
How to get to mount Aso
Mount Aso’s homeland is Kumamoto prefecture: Kumamoto airport is reachable with direct flights from major cities’ airports. If you are traveling by Shinkansen, it is easy to get to Kumamoto station by all Kyūshū Shinkansen trains. From Shin-Ōsaka station you can take Sanyō Shinkansen and Kyūshū Shinkansen lines’ “Sakura“, “Mizuho” and “Nozomi” high speed trains (note that you cannot ride on the latter two with the JR Pass). Once you are in Kumamoto you can get to Aso station with the Hōhi line (about 100 minutes with local train, 70 minutes with limited express train). Here you can take the Sankō Bus and enjoy a 30 minutes tour.
More information here: http://tinyurl.com/mtt8jzn
Reachable spots by bus, with ticket’s price from station’s stop
● Kusasenri Aso Volcano Museum (470 yen), and the close Kusasenri field.
● To arrive at the Ropeway station, get off at the last stop, Aso-San Nishi station (540 yen). From here it is possible to reach Nakadake crater (return ticket 1.000 yen). In case you like walking, there’s a 30 minutes-long path.
※ Nakadake crater is a volcanic area: during sulfur eruptions access is forbidden. Be careful if you suffer from respiratory problems.
You can visit mount Aso in a day by using public transportation, but since this is pretty limited, pay attention to the time schedules.
If you want to visit the mountain with no time limits, we advise you to use a car: the recently developed toll road’s price is 560 yen. If you have a car you can also take a trip to the so-called Komezuka, where a cone-shaped volcano is located: it is covered by grass and looks nice.
We visited Mount Aso in the beginning of November. While we were heading to Aso-san station from Kumamoto on the “Kyūshū-ōdan” express train, we were amazed bye the lush green landscape. Our eyes immediately focused on the wooden station of Aso. In front of it there were taxies, a tourist office and a small shop: the atmosphere was peaceful.
That time we stayed at “Aso-san Youth Hostel” and visited a few spots around. Aso town is a quiet and relaxing place.
First of all, we went to Kusasenri field by bus, which is located in the mount’s caldera basin: there we could see grazing horses and cows.
In the afternoon, again by bus, I reached Aso-san Nishi station. Unfortunately it was a misty day, so we decided not to visit Nakadake crater. While waiting the bus to go back to town, we found a small shrine close to the ropeway station.
Due to the fog, we’ll remeber that place as a mysterious location. If the next time the weather will be nicer, we will definitely visit Nakadake crater and Komezuka.