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Aso-Kuju National Park

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Sustainable farming and hiking in a volcanic mountain range

Kumamoto Prefecture




Located in the center of Kyushu, this national park is named after Mt. Aso and the Kuju Mountains. Mt. Aso is the most active volcanic crater in the world. The Kujus are a magnificent mountain range straddling Kumamoto and Oita Prefectures, characterized by over 20 active stratovolcanoes and lava domes. All that volcanic activity means the area boasts a large number of onsen hot springs.


Hike through the volcanic landscape, with wildflowers and grasslands with grazing horses and cows. There are many trails for you to choose from. In Uchinomaki Onsen, walk 30 minutes from Orido-chiku Community Center to Mt. Tango’s viewing platform where you can see the five peaks of Aso, which resemble a sleeping Buddha, and the outer rim of Mt. Aso caldera. Here you will also find Sorafune Pier, a wooden promenade jutting out from the side of the mountain like a boat jetty, offering spectacular views of the area.


Around 50,000 people live on the plains of Mt. Aso, one of the world's largest calderas, with a circumference measuring 114 km (71 mi). The expansive grasslands around Aso have been used to raise cows and horses for more than 1,000 years. The grasslands are maintained using traditional techniques, such as controlled burning, grazing, and mowing, resulting in rich soil suitable for agriculture to produce local specialties including Akaushi (Japanese brown cattle) and Aso-takana, a local leaf mustard which is often pickled. In 2013, Aso was designated as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) in recognition of these sustainable farming practices passed down through generations.


After a day of wandering the trails in this region of extraordinary beauty, relax in an onsen hot spring and enjoy a dinner prepared with vegetables from the volcanic soils of Aso-Kuju National Park.


How to get there


10 minutes from JR Aso Station by car or taxi.



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