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Mt. Aso-Nakadake Crater
Mt. Nakadake, a live volcano that is the most active of the five Mt. Aso peaks

Prime sightseeing spot for up-close view of the dynamic crater actively emitting plumes of smoke

Mt. Aso - the symbol of the “fire country” of Kumamoto. The massive caldera, formed by subsidence in the wake of an eruption, is one of the world’s largest, stretching some 18 km east to west, and 25 km north to south. Actually, “Mt. Aso” is often used not to refer to a single mountain, but rather as a collective term for the caldera and a group of volcanoes rising out of the caldera’s center, which also encompasses the mountains formed on the outer rim of the caldera. The five volcanoes formed within the caldera are Mt. Nekodake, Mt. Takadake, Mt. Nakadake, Mt. Eboshidake, and Mt. Kishimadake. These are collectively referred to as the “five Mt. Aso peaks.”

Of the five Mt. Aso peaks, Mt. Nakadake remains the most active. This is a popular tourist destination, offering up-close view of a massive crater spanning some 600 meters in diameter, 130 meters deep, with a circumference of 4 km. Here you can get a real sense of the earth inhaling and exhaling with the smell of sulfur enveloping the area, the molten rock exposed on the mountainside, and scenes of the dynamic crater bursting into life when expelling volcanic smoke. To get to the crater, you can opt to drive the Mt. Aso Park Road, or ride a tour shuttle bus departing from the Aso Sanjo Terminal (services may be suspended without notice due to inclement weather or the presence of volcanic gas). A one-way trip to the crater by bus takes about 5 minutes. Check the level of volcanic activity before heading out.
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  • Azaasosan, Kurokawa, Aso-shi, Kumamoto 869-2225 Japan
  • • About 40 minutes by Kyushu Sanko bus (heading toward Aso-san Nishi Station) from Aso Station. Get off at the last stop -> Transfer to the shuttle bus -> Ride for about 4 minutes and get off at the Kako Nishi (Crater west) stop (The sightseeing spot is located nearby.)
    • About 100 minutes from the Kumamoto IC on the Kyushu Expressway via National Route 57 (follow the guide signs to take the bypass due to disruptions caused by the earthquake)

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