Aso, one of the world’s largest calderas is one of Kyushu’s top draws for avid hikers. It’s a massive collapsed volcanic crater formed after a series of eruptions around 270,000 to 90,000 years ago. Located in Kumamoto, it’s a scene straight out of Star Wars. The caldera measures 25km north south and 18km east to west, and has a circumference of approximately 100km. Within it are three cities with a population of about 27,000.
Five peaks — including Mount Taka with the highest point at 1,592m — form the central cone of Mount Aso, currently one of the most active volcanoes in Japan. The last recorded eruption was in July 2019, during which it spewed smoke as high as 1,600m in the air.
Along the caldera’s northern somma, Daikanbo Peak is one of the best areas for viewing the central cone and its peaks. The windy observation deck also offers panoramic views of the three cities and the surrounding patchwork farmlands all within the caldera.
Discover Northern Kyushu with JR Kyushu’s Northern Kyushu Area Pass (JPY10,190 or Php4,785 per adult, valid for five days). The pass gives you access to JR Kyushu’s large network of Shinkansen, local and limited express trains. With frequent trips to most destinations, you’ll have greater control over your schedule and more time to enjoy the view. https://www.jrkyushu.co.jp/english/