Aso Sea of Clouds

Aso Sea of Clouds
Like a scene from an old Japanese painting, this beautiful natural phenomenon rewards early risers and good planners.

Located on a hilltop that’s over 500m high, the viewpoint of Kunimigaoka offers fantastic views over the five main peaks of the Aso mountains in neighboring Kumamoto Prefecture. Unlike other viewpoints where visitors pray from clear conditions, the best time to visit here is actually when mist and cloud fills the valleys below, creating a blanket of white called the Sea of Clouds.

Trekking up to the peaks of the Aso mountains is a challenge, but clearly a worthwhile one when you reach some of the magnificent viewpoints on the slopes. And unlike other viewpoints where visitors pray from clear conditions, the best time to visit is actually when mist and cloud fills the valleys below, creating a blanket of white called the Sea of Clouds.

The most opportune time to see it happen is in fall, from the middle of September until the end of November. You’ll want to arrive early in the morning, and cross your fingers that the conditions are right: low winds, and a big temperature change overnight.

If the stars align and you manage to arrive at the right time, you’ll be greeted with a scene lifted straight out of a painting, with low-hanging clouds rolling through the valleys and basins like an ocean.

The terrain and climate of the area is uniquely suited to this phenomenon, so there are few better places to see it in person. It’s little wonder that this breathtaking and mysterious part of Kyushu is the setting for so many ancient Japanese myths and legends!

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