|Fig: Crater - The active center of Naka-dake|
Mt. Aso, is located approximately 30 miles north of Kumamoto City, Kyushu, Japan .It is one of the symbols of the Kumamoto Prefecture, once known as Hi no Kuni or the Land of Fire. It is the largest active volcano in Japan.
|Fig: The Crater|
Over the past 30 million years, the island of Kyushu was mainly built by the outpourings of lava and ash from the volcano of Mt. Aso. It has thrown out so much debris that the surface has collapsed, forming the largest and most beautiful above-ground active caldera in the world!
Fig : Kusasenri
The volcanic structure has 5 high peaks and is known as Aso-gogaku, or the Five Mountains of Aso. They are re Taka-dake, Eboshi-dake, Kishima-dake, Neko-dake and Naka-dake and except for Taka-dake all others have regular volcanic activity.The active center of Mt. Aso is Naka-dake, with a smoking crater that occasionally erupts. With 1791m Nakadake is the highest peak of Kyushu. Viewing the crater at night is so awesome as the lava seeping out of its fissures creates fiery streaks in the dark.
Fig: Beautiful caldaria
Nearby in the surrounding caldera live 100,000 people in towns and on farms. The crater is inhabited and is crossed by roads and railways. Also it has numerous Onsens or Hot springs to be visited and relaxed at. Its mountain pastures are used for cattle raising and dairy farming.
The outer rim of Naka-dake, is very peaceful and gently rolling landscape of broad grassy plains where cows and horses graze, and visitors can take a relaxing stroll or have a family picnic. There are designated camping grounds, as well.
Komezuka,is a mini volcanic cone on the northern slopes of Naka-dake. With some pleasant walking trails around it, this is a popular site for visitors.
Kusasenri, on the slopes of Eboshi-dake, is a grassy plain, where visitors can enjoy the views of the caldera atop a horse from March to mid-December.
[from KUMAMOTO by car]
Drive east on Route57 for Oita.
Drive south on Mt.Aso Trail Akamizu Route or Mt.Aso Trail Bochu Route.
[from OITA or BEPPU by car]
Drive west on Route57 for KUMAMOTO or on YAMANAMI-HighWay for KUMAMOTO.
Drive south on Mt.Aso Trail Bochu Route.
[from TAKAMORI by car]
Drive west on Route325 for KUMAMOTO.
Drive north on Mt.Aso Trail Yoshida Route.