Japan

Aso, Boy!

KumamotoMount Aso is the largest active volcano in Kyushu, Japan, and is among the largest in the world. It’s located in  The recent volcanic eruption stopped flights and travel tours, and scientists even suspected that the eruption might affect global weather. In fact, an Eruption Alert of Mount Aso has been hoisted since about a year ago, and some tourist attractions such as the services of Mt. Aso Ropeway has been suspended due to safety reasons. The time I arrived Mt Aso, we couldn’t take the ropeway to the mountain top. However, we enjoyed a gorgeous sunny day in the Aso area with only a few degree Celsius. The entire rural area was so peaceful and quiet. I love it.

We had a few route changes at the planning stage of our mini-North Kyushu road trip. We thought about Beppu, Saga; then Oita was in the picture… interestingly, one place never changes: Mount Aso had always remained as our “must-see” highlight in our itinerary. Another fantastic find would be the hot-spring resort in Minami (Southern) Aso that has INDIVIDUAL, OUTDOOR, IN-ROOM, PRIVATE hot spring at an incredible price that’s hard to believe!!

Stay-tuned 🙂 —- My route of the day in Aso.

Aso 16…>>> (Day 0) Car rental (Kumamoto JR station) > we left Kumamoto and drove around Miyazaki that day > we arrived hot spring resort in Minami Aso in the evening before dinner > (Day 1) Aso road trip begins! > Mount Aso (Mount Aso Station) > Kusasenrigahama > Daikanbo > Aso-boy train (Aso JR Station) > Fukuoka

Without re-visiting all the ups-and-downs of my time, just to share a few highlights!

Aso 21

Aso

Website http://www.kyusanko.co.jp/aso/lang_en/

Ticketing: The ropeway service is currently suspended

How did I get there: Drive, but Trans-Kyushu regular sightseeing bus is also available

Aso 15

The Aso Caldera is created by super-eruptions – the land subsided in Aso to create this landscape between 90,000 to 270,000 years ago.

Horse-riding


 There is horseback riding everywhere in the world, yet somehow it is a signature activity in Aso. Let just say this place is beautiful (and much more economical) for those who plan to enjoy a fun time with horses (I like animals, and the ranch is so damn close to the hot spring resort we stayed!). Unfortunately, the ranch was fully booked the day I visited for a private event. Next time!

Aso Bluegrass

Website http://aso-bluegrass.com/?page_id=38

Ticketing: Horseback Riding – Beginner Class ¥5250 (45 mins) / ¥7350 (60 mins)

How did I get there: Drive, please~ 🙂

Aso 14

Aso 25

The Takenokura


Let’s talk a little bit about the geography of Aso. Aso is located in the Kumamoto prefecture, on the island of Kyushu; and it is the largest active volcano in Japan. I learned that feature of the area is called caldera. Caldera is a hotpot-like volcanic feature with a cone-shaped volcano in the center, and its surrounding land was collapsed due to volcanic eruption many, many years ago. Villages are now built around the volcano these days. The largest village is Aso – and it is located on the north side of the volcano.

Aso 4

That’s how we found our resort. For a much lower price, the resort was an amazing experience. The resort is divided into the old wing and new wing. Every guest has their individual room and a small outdoor hot spring area. Each zone is thoughtfully designed and has a view of the beautiful mountain range, with cows wandering outside on the lawn.

Regarding the food, it was not top-notched as I have tasted better in the past, in another hot spring, however, it is common in Kyushu to have the cuisine of horses. We visited Aso in March and to me, it was the perfect temperature to soak in the hot spring outdoor and rejuvenate our exhausted bodies right before our big adventure for tomorrow.

白水温泉 竹の倉山荘

Website http://www.takenokura.co.jp/

How did I get there: I drove, but it’s possible to get there by train ~

 

Daikanbo


 Aso 20Daikanbo, surprisingly, does not usually appear on the Aso travel bucket list. But it is now officially on my must-see recommendation because it is the highest viewpoint from the North to look down on the entire caldera. Daikanbo was not widely promoted in foreign travel website may due to its less fanciful commercial development but the more natural outdoorsy vibe, the peak must be well-known among the Japanese locals. The signs that lead to the lookout were not very clear, and the roads up on the peak were not shown correctly in GPS – we had to drive around a few times until we finally enter the right lane.

Aso 24

Aso 22

Aso Boy


Aso 19We planned to take the 4:47 pm train to Kumamoto and therefore, we also planned to make the most of our time driving around the Aso area. Otherwise, it would have been less “stressful” for us to arrive the Aso station 10 minutes to catch the train, but would have been less “fun” to reach Kumamoto with the Aso-boy “Kuro” scenic train.

Japan is a small and developed country that railways could get you anywhere. The railway is inseparable from the Japanese daily lives, and there are a lot of fans who like collecting models and toys related to Japanese railway. For me, I always fascinate with the rail system route design, and I could stare at a road map for hours, wondering about the city layout, connections, and everything that comes with it. Aso Boy is a limited express train running two times a day between Kumamoto and Aso. Besides, the mascot Kuri is everywhere on the train and decorated with different themes and functions.

Aso Boy (あそぼーい!)

Website https://www.jrkyushu.co.jp/english/train/asoboy.jsp

Ticketing: Reserve train ticket beforehand, and it is included in Kyushu JR pass

A beautiful 180 degree of the Daikanbo!

この美しい自然は皆んなのもの大切にしましょう。

この美しい自然は皆んなのもの大切にしましょう。#大観峰 #aso #kumamoto #japan #view #mount #mountain #volcano

A post shared by Knycx journeying ✈️ (@knycx.journeying) on

14 thoughts on “Aso, Boy!

  1. My son did a year exchange in Kumamoto last year, So last Dec we paid a visit to this beautiful city with beautiful people. We have a big connection with this city, as the school has two sister schools there. And hence I host a lot of those students as well. We didnt get a chance to see Mount Aso. But maybe next time. We were very sad and scared for the people there, when they were struck with the earth quake. But thankfully all of them are safe although some had damage to their houses. Btw an interesting site you have got. Looking forward to visiting each country at a time through your blog

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you uma for your comment! Mount Aso is one of my most memorable experience and I still remember how I was stunned when I had the first look of the view. Agree with your comments about the people. I suppose it’s because how they respect nature when s they are situated so close to the volcano.😌

      Liked by 1 person

      • there was a volcano eruption when my son was there. he could see it from the bridge near his school. I was a bit worried. Being young he wasn’t. I just love the entire Japan, but because of the personal connection, love kumamoto the most, then comes Hokaido as I love snow and cold weather, Hiroshima and Miyajema island, the list goes on for Japan for me. I love travelling too. As a child a I loved it but only visited a few countries but then I married a ships captain and we sailed together for 4 years. Amazing experience. Keep up with your blog

        Liked by 1 person

    • There are a lot of themed train routes in Japan – could be popular cartoon characters, tourist attractions, scenic route or cat as a “train master”.

      Like

    • Thanks Salini and that was just something silly. 😛 Actually there was an eruption earlier and things are *almost* getting back to the way it was…

      Like

  2. Thank you, Kenny. I really like your comprehensive guide to Mt. Aso. I’ve visited some volcanoes around the world and finding information about where to stay, eat or how to get to the top was surprisingly difficult.

    Liked by 1 person

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