Mount Aso (¢hR, Asosan) is an active volcano in the center of Kyushu which most recently erupted in 2021 and 2016. 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.
Hours and Fees
Aso Volcano Museum
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Links and Resources
Hotels around Aso
Aso Base BackpackersOnly 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.View on Booking.com
Minshuku AsogenSituated in Aso, within 30 km of Egao Kenko Stadium Kumamoto and 38 km of Kumamoto Castle, Minshuku Asogen features accommodation with a garden and free WiFi as well as free private parking for guests who drive. The property is around 38 km from Suizenji Park, 39 km from Hosokawa Residence Gyobutei and 8.8 km from Mount Aso. The ryokan has family rooms. 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. KK Wings is 30 km from Minshuku Asogen, while Kuroishi Station is 32 km from the property. The nearest airport is Kumamoto Airport, 24 km from the ryokan.View on Booking.com
Syukubo AsoFeaturing 3-star accommodation, Syukubo Aso is situated in Aso, 33 km from Egao Kenko Stadium Kumamoto and 42 km from Kumamoto Castle. Featuring a garden, the 3-star ryokan has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a shared bathroom. Mount Aso is 7.3 km from the ryokan and KK Wings is 33 km away. All rooms at the ryokan are fitted with a flat-screen TV and a safety deposit box. At Syukubo Aso the rooms are fitted with bed linen and towels. Guests at the accommodation can enjoy an Asian breakfast. Suizenji Park is 42 km from Syukubo Aso, while Hosokawa Residence Gyobutei is 42 km from the property. The nearest airport is Kumamoto Airport, 28 km from the ryokan.View on Booking.com
Guest House AsoraGuest House Asora offers free Wi-Fi 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. 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.View on Booking.com
Yumeoi-soBoasting 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.View on Booking.com
KAMENOI HOTEL AsoSet in Aso, within 37 km of Egao Kenko Stadium Kumamoto and 45 km of Kumamoto Castle, KAMENOI HOTEL Aso offers accommodation with a shared lounge and free WiFi throughout the property as well as free private parking for guests who drive. This 4-star resort offers a 24-hour front desk and free shuttle service. The resort features family rooms. A buffet, American or Asian breakfast can be enjoyed at the property. The resort offers 4-star accommodation with a hot spring bath and sun terrace. Suizenji Park is 46 km from KAMENOI HOTEL Aso, while Hosokawa Residence Gyobutei is 46 km away. The nearest airport is Kumamoto Airport, 31 km from the accommodation.View on Booking.com
Aso Resort Grandvrio HotelAso 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.View on Booking.com
Aso Villa Park Hotel & Spa ResortA 15-minute walk from JR Aso Train Station, Aso Villa Park Hotel features accommodations with a flat-screen TV. Guests can soak in the indoor and outdoor public hot-springs baths with mountain views, and also request some for private use. Free Wi-Fi is available in public areas. The air-conditioned rooms feature a fridge and green tea. Some rooms feature Western-style beds with wooden floors, while some have tatami (woven-straw) floors and Japanese futon bedding. The en suite bathroom includes a hairdryer and slippers. Guests can purchase local products at the souvenir shop and take long walks in the spacious botanical garden. Luggage storage can be requested at the 24-hour front desk. Local light meals are available at Showa-kan. Refreshments are available at Cafe Patosu, and a Japanese and Western buffet is on offer at Papiyon. A breakfast buffet is served as well. Hotel Aso Villa Park is a 5-minute walk from Cuddly Dominion and a 30-minute drive from Nakadake Volcano. Aso Kumamoto Airport is a 45-minute drive away.View on Booking.com
AsoTsuruyaSet in Aso, 38 km from Egao Kenko Stadium Kumamoto, AsoTsuruya offers accommodation with a shared lounge, free private parking, a restaurant and a bar. This 3-star ryokan offers free WiFi. Certain units at the property feature a patio with a mountain view. At the ryokan, every room has a desk. Complete with a private bathroom equipped with a bidet and free toiletries, the units at AsoTsuruya have a flat-screen TV and air conditioning, and some rooms come with a balcony. At the accommodation all rooms are equipped with bed linen and towels. An Asian breakfast is available every morning at AsoTsuruya. Kumamoto Castle is 47 km from the ryokan, while Suizenji Park is 47 km away. The nearest airport is Kumamoto Airport, 32 km from AsoTsuruya.View on Booking.com