How to Get There

Aso-Kuju National Park

From Tokyo: 2.5-5 hr
From Beppu: 1-3.5 hr

How to Get There

Aso-Kuju National Park is in Kumamoto and Oita prefectures in central Kyushu. It gets its name from Mount Aso, the largest active volcano in Japan, and the Kuju Mountains. The park also includes Yufuin Onsen hot springs and Mount Tsurumi. Several buses and trains run through the park, but a car will provide flexibility and access to trails off the beaten path.

From Tokyo

Frequent flights operate between Haneda Airport in Tokyo and Kumamoto Airport (1 hr 40 min). Once you’ve arrived, rent a car to explore the park at your leisure. If you prefer public transportation, the Kyushu Odan Bus from the Kyushu Sanko company offers service from the airport to several areas in the park. Aso Station is 50 minutes from the airport via the bus and makes an excellent base for exploring the Aso area. The Kyushu Odan Bus also makes stops near the Kuju Mountains at the Makinoto Pass and Kuju-Tozanguchi bus stops. Yufuin near Mount Yufudake takes 3 hours and 30 minutes from the airport by bus.

From Beppu

Many travelers combine a dip in the baths of Beppu with a visit to Aso-Kuju National Park. The quickest route between Beppu Station and Aso Station is to take the Nippo Line to Oita Station and change to the Hohi Line (2 hr 20 min). The Kyushu Odan Bus from the Kyushu Sanko company connects Beppu with Yufuin (60 min) and Aso Station near Mount Aso (3 hr 30 mins). To hike the Kuju Mountains, take the Kyushu Odan bus to the Makinoto Pass or Kuju-Tozanguchi stops (2 hr). Kamenoi Bus also operates between Beppu and Yufuin stations (50 min).

Getting Around

The Kyushu Odan Bus may strike some as a little pricey for a day trip and only offers a five-hour hiking window, so consider renting a car to tackle the more challenging trails. You can also enjoy your time in the park using public transportation. The Nakadake Crater atop Mount Aso can be reached by bus from Aso Station to Asosan Nishi Station, then transferring to a shuttle that runs to the crater and associated ropeway. (The ropeway occasionally closes due to volcanic activity, so be sure to check the frequently updated information on the official website to avoid disappointment.) Yufuin, a small, walkable town with numerous hot spring baths and a scenic lake, is well worth a visit, too.