Mount Aso: a Volcano to Rival Mount Fuji

Mount Aso may be less famous than the iconic Mount Fuji, but it is the largest and most active volcano in Japan.


WordsSolenn Cordroc'h

Courtesy of

Mount Aso is located on the island of Kyushu in the Aso-Kuju national park, which straddles Kumamoto and Oita prefectures. Despite its name, which might suggest it has just one summit, Mount Aso is actually a volcanic complex that comprises around fifteen cones, situated in the centre of one of the biggest calderas in the world, extending over 18 kilometres from east to west and 25 kilometres from north to south, and with a perimeter measuring 100 kilometres.

Visitors coming to discover Mount Aso will come face to face with the imposing Naka-dake. Reaching a height of 1506 metres, it is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Its summit is marked by a strong smell of sulphur, and can be accessed by cable car or car. Visitors can even take a look inside the crater, where they’ll find a stunning blue lake. But panic not – safety comes first during visits. There is a website where visitors can access official information about the current state of the volcano, and in the event of a violent eruption, access to the site is forbidden. There are also several bunkers on the slopes to protect visitors in the event of a smaller eruption.

The second volcano that forms part of Mount Aso and that catches the eye owing to the fact that it is 954 metres high is Mount Komezuja. Covered in grass from spring onwards, it brightens up the surroundings. As the volcano is classed as a protected site, visitors are not allowed to scale it, but it is best viewed from a certain distance anyway so it can be admired in its entirety.

The large plain around Mount Aso, Kusasenri ga Hama, is the ideal place to end a day in the heart of nature. The Aso Volcano Museum is certainly worth a visit to find out more about Mount Aso and to take a look inside the Naka-dake crater via two cameras that film in real time. After all of that, visitors can unwind in one of the many onsen around the edge of Mount Aso, while those more inclined towards sport might enjoy a horseback ride to admire the view a little more.


©Ludovic Lubeigt

©Ludovic Lubeigt

Mount Aso

808-5 Kurokawa, Aso-shi, Kumamoto