Volcanic Wonder at Mount Aso, Japan

in Japan

Japan has a reputation as the world’s technological center. But many tourists to the Asian nation are just as impressed with the country’s natural wonders. One of the most magnificent is the caldera of Mount Aso.

Caldera of Mount Aso

The caldera of Mount Aso at Kyshu, Japan

You’ll find this active volcano at the heart of the island of Kyushu. Its caldera is one of the largest in the world, measuring 25 kilometers across. In fact, the caldera contains the town of Aso and several more volcanic peaks. These include Nakadake, an awe-inspiring active crater. Tourists are warned that the crater’s gases can be intense, so people with respiratory complaints including asthma shouldn’t visit. At some times the crater may be closed to the public altogether due to these poisonous fumes.

But that shouldn’t discourage tourists, as there is plenty more to see. The grassy plains of Kusasenri-ga-hama are not far from Nakadake.

You can enjoy this rural setting on horseback, with riding tours running from early March to mid December. Kusasenri-ga-hama is also home to the Aso Volcano Museum which details the area’s history.

Komezuka is a small volcanic cone on the northern side of Nakadake. There are easy walking trails, although none take you right to the summit’s apex. Most visitors will be happy with the views they get from the top of the paths though.

The Nakadake Crater is a 30 to 40 minute bus ride from JR Aso train station. Buses run regularly every, with one leaving every one or two hours. The buses travel to Asosan Nishi Station, where travelers can connect with a ropeway for a short ride. If you’d rather stretch your legs, it takes 30 minutes to walk from the station to the crater. The crater is also accessible by car, although drivers will need to pay a toll as they near Nakadake. A parking lot is located conveniently beside the site.

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