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Mount Aso

A gigantic volcanic crater blown apart over 80,000 years ago, which is now home to a whole town and several impressive active peaks.

If you want to see an active volcano, how about one which erupted as recently as 2016?! You’ll be happy to hear that the mountain has since simmered down, but it’s still a fantastic sightseeing spot to get a sense of the raw power of nature. The name Mount Aso actually refers to the gigantic, 80,000-year-old caldera formed by an eruption too large to imagine. The humongous crater stretches over 25km in diameter, and more than 70,000 people live inside it.

Within this area, you’ll find further peaks which are currently volcanically active. Mount Nakadake is the most popular for tourists. Be careful though — sometimes the peak is closed off when the gases from the crater get too dense, or when there’s a risk of an eruption!

But, once you’ve checked for those minor inconveniences, you’re good to go, and the peak is surprisingly accessible. Just hop on a bus at JR Aso Station, and you’ll get to the crater in about half an hour!

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