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Mount Aso (hR, Asosan) is an active volcano in the center of Kyushu which most recently erupted in 2016 but has since calmed down again. Aso's ancient caldera ranks among the world's largest, with a diameter of up to 25 kilometers and a circumference of over 100 kilometers. In the center of the caldera stand the mountain's active volcanic peaks, including Mount Nakadake, whose spectacular crater is accessible to tourists.

Note, however, that the crater area is often partially and sometimes completely closed off to visitors due to poisonous volcanic gases, bad weather or the risk of volcanic activity. So, make sure to check the volcano's current state before traveling there. Even when the area around the summit is open, gases can be intense, and people with respiratory problems should refrain from approaching the crater.

Not far from the Nakadake crater, Kusasenri (or Kusasenri-ga-hama) is a grass-covered plain with grazing cows and a few horses. Horse riding is possible from early March to mid December. On the opposite side of the road stands the Aso Volcano Museum with explanations about the volcano.

Komezuka is a small, beautifully shaped volcanic cone on the northern slopes of Nakadake. There are pleasant walking trails in the vicinity (but not to the top) of Komezuka, however, easy access by public transportation is not provided.

Getting there and around

The Nakadake Crater can be reached in a 30-40 minute bus ride from JR Aso Station. There is one bus about every 1-2 hours. The one way trip costs 650 yen and is not covered by the Japan Rail Pass. Buses travel as far as Asosan Nishi Station, from where a shuttle bus gets visitors to the crater (500 yen one way). Alternatively you can walk to the crater in about 30 minutes one way. Cars can drive all the way to a parking lot just next to the crater, but must pay 800 yen for the last kilometers, which is a toll road.

Make sure to check the volcano's current state before your visit. During times of heightened volcanic activity, the crater can be off-limits and the road and walking trail to the crater closed.

How to get to and around Aso

Hours and Fees

Aso Volcano Museum

Hours

9:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30)

Closed

Occasional closing days for maintenance

Admission

880 yen

Hotels around Aso

Top rated in Aso
Budget:
    • Aso Base Backpackers
      Budget-friendly
      Only a 3-minute walk from JR Aso Train Station, Aso Base Backpackers offers affordable accommodation with free Wi-Fi. Guests can rent bicycles to tour the area and use the free parking on-site. Aso Shrine is a 10-minute drive away. Guests can stay in dormitory-style rooms with bunk beds or in private rooms. Bathrooms and toilets are shared. A coin-launderette is on-site and an internet PC can be used. A free-use kitchen is available for guests to cook their own meals and travel stories can be shared with each other at the common living room. Luggage storage is provided. Backpackers Aso Base is a 20-minute drive from Daikanbo and a 3-minute drive from Cuddly Dominion. Kumamoto Airport is a 50-minute drive away. The craters of Mount Aso are a 30-minute drive away and guests can enjoy hiking on its trails. No meals are served.
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    • Syukubo Aso
      Mid-range
      Situated in Aso, within 16 km of Mount Aso and 5 km of Aso Shrine, Syukubo Aso features accommodation with a garden and free WiFi throughout the property as well as free private parking for guests who drive. At the ryokan, the rooms are fitted with air conditioning and a flat-screen TV. An Asian breakfast is available each morning at Syukubo Aso. Daikanbo is 13 km from the accommodation, while Aso Milk Ranch is 37 km from the property. The nearest airport is Kumamoto Airport, 23 km from Syukubo Aso.
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    • Minshuku Asogen
      Budget-friendly
      Situated in Aso, within 18 km of Mount Aso and 8 km of Aso Shrine, Minshuku Asogen features accommodation with a garden and free WiFi as well as free private parking for guests who drive. The ryokan has newspapers and a fax machine and photocopier that guests can use. All rooms in the ryokan are fitted with a kettle. At Minshuku Asogen the rooms have air conditioning and a flat-screen TV. Guests at the accommodation can enjoy an Asian breakfast. Daikanbo is 13 km from Minshuku Asogen, while Aso Milk Ranch is 33 km from the property. The nearest airport is Kumamoto Airport, 20 km from the ryokan.
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    • Guest House Asora
      Budget-friendly
      Guest House Asora offers free Wi-Fi, rental bicycles and beds in Western and Japanese-style rooms. It also features a garden, a free-use kitchen and a coin-operated washing machine. JR Aso Station is a 10-minute walk away. Open since 2013, Asora is a non-smoking guest house. The common kitchen comes with a fridge, a stove and a microwave. A rice cooker and an electric kettle are also provided. Guests can socialise at the shared lounge. Shared dormitory rooms offer bunk beds with curtains or futon mattresses. Japanese-style rooms are for mixed use, and feature traditional futon bedding on a tatami (woven-straw) floor. Toilets and bathroom facilities are shared, and towels are available for rent for an additional fee. Guest House Asora is a 20-minute drive from view spot Daikanbo, and a 30-minute drive from Mount Aso. The nearest hot spring bathhouse is located within a 10-minute walk, while Kurokawa Onsen Hot Springs can be visited a 50-minute drive away. No meals are served.
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    • AsoTsuruya
      Mid-range
      Set in Aso, 21 km from Mount Aso, AsoTsuruya offers accommodation with a restaurant, free private parking and a bar. Around 200 metres from Aso Shrine, the property is also 14 km away from Daikanbo and offers free WiFi. The ryokan features family rooms. Guest rooms at the ryokan come with a seating area and a flat-screen TV. The units at AsoTsuruya feature air conditioning and a wardrobe. Guests at the accommodation can enjoy an Asian breakfast. Aso Milk Ranch is 45 km from AsoTsuruya. The nearest airport is Kumamoto Airport, 27 km from the ryokan.
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    • Yumeoi-so
      Luxury
      Boasting various hot spring baths that can be reserved for private use, Yumeoi-so provides chic Japanese-style accommodation. Guests can enjoy karaoke and table tennis for free. Free Wi-Fi is provided in the lobby. Yumeoi-so offers large public hot spring baths and 12 private-use hot spring baths for guestsf relaxation. A game room with traditional Japanese games and a kidsf room are available on site. Female guests can choose their own yukata robe when checking in. Rooms at Yumeoi-so feature tatami (woven-straw) flooring and traditional futon bedding. A low table and seating cushions are provided, and rooms come with facilities like flat-screen TV, a fridge and an electric kettle. A Japanese and Western breakfast buffet is available. The property is a 15-minute walk from JR Aso Station. Mount Aso is a 30-minute drive, and Aso Farmland is a 25-minute drive away.
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    • Aso Resort Grandvrio Hotel
      Luxury
      Aso Resort Grand Vrio Hotel is located a 7-minute drive from Akamizu Train Station. It offers modern accommodation with indoor and outdoor hot-spring baths, a golf course and karaoke. Rooms have a satellite TV, a sofa and nature views. Guestrooms are equipped with a fridge. The en suite bathroom comes with toiletries and a bathtub. The hotel has 2 hot-spring baths on site, one indoor and the other outdoor. Guests can enjoy a massage, unwind at the sauna or try the gganbanyokuh stone spa for an extra fee. Other recreational facilities include a mini golf course. Barbecue facilities are available during the summer and require an advance reservation. Breakfast and dinner feature local Aso-style cuisine. Kumamoto Airport is a 40-minute drive from Hotel Aso Resert Grand Vrio.
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