Second day of my Kumamoto bus trip. That day, I had planned to go to Mount Aso. The access to the crater, closed for a year and a half now, was still was not permitted but I wouldn't have missed. Unfortunately, because of the great weather all my photos' colors are completely burned. I retouched them thet best I could so be forgiving please.
Some bus line go straight to the top of Mount Aso but schedules were a little late for me so I would rather arrive earlier and change bus. Once it had dropped me off at the Aso station, I discovered all this people waiting for the bus bounding for the summit. No choice, I entered the queue but did eventually let a lot of people to go before me because I wanted to sit next to the window so I would take the next bus. On the bus, I ignored the noisy tourists and enjoyed the ride. My brain suddendly reminded a lot of memories : the forest, the cows grazing in the fields, Mount Komezuka (米塚) which gradually discovers itself and Mount Ojodake that reminds me a French dessert called Flamby.
Oh, I wanted to end a misconception : the buses do not stop (anymore ? ) for a photo stop near the Komezuka. See end of article to find the best places to observe it.
|Mount Komezuka from the bus|
I walked in all this ash, went to see the shrine and then went back into the station. The cable wasn't in operation work, of course, but the huge souvenirs shop was open. I warmed my hands near a stove, walked around the gift part, bought a ikinari dango for later and have thrown a look at the new attraction Aso Super Ring (a 5 minutes projection mapping show about the volcano) but decides not to go to keep my precious time.
|No entry zone starts here|
1. I had SunQ Pass so it was "free" .
2. I wanted to save my strength for later.
I talk about sving my strength because I decided to challenge one thing today : a climb to one of the summit !
I am neither trained nor therefore had specific equipment so I decided to try the one which looked the easiest and fastest : Mount Kishima (杵島岳). I wanted to see how far I could go even if I wouldn't be able to finish the climb.
I committed on the path, absolutely deserted and fully paved. It started good!
the path begins by being parallel to the road before hitting a steep climb! I am a good walker but it was steep enough that it made me worried. After the ascent, the path becomes a long series of steps to the top . I climbed slowly, at my own pace, a couple was following me from a distance so I was reassured. With all this recent volcanic activity one can never be too careful. A last effort and I finally reach the top!
|Mount Kishima, here I go !|
|Hat, hoodie et skirt: Honeys | Socks : Tutuanna | Shoes : no brand|
|Kusasenri from the top|
|A little bit to go !|
|Click on the picture to see it in a bigger size|
|I made it !|
I sat to eat my dango and I finally got to make friends with the couple who was behind me before. This really is one of the reasons why I love traveling alone : the ease when it comes to speak with people. The husband left togo to the other side of the crater and I regretted not being able to accompany him : my shoes were not adequate enough.
After a long break and dozens of photos and videos, I began the go down and it was rather hard for calves.
Advice for the Kishima hikking・The climb takes about 50 minutes to the first summit. It is possible to reach the other side
of the crater by an extra 15/20 minutes walk.
・The entrance road is located on the far right of the parking lot .
・The path is indicated all in Japanese but it is not hard to follow. If necessary there are English
maps available in the volcano museum and tourist offices.
・Even if the path is paved, provide adequate shoes ( at least sneakers) .
I still had a lot of time so I went walking on the Kusasenri plain ... which was much less impressive when viewed from above. It was still pleasant and invigorating. I stayed there at least an hour going near lakes and climbing a crater that remains in its center.
To finish off the day, I went to the observatory on the road just above the volcano museum and then I had a glance of the souvenir shops in the hope of finding a little something to nibble on. I didn't want to eat at a restaurant and there wasn't a lot of food that tempted me (horse skewers...) but I ended up buying a piece of karashi renkon (辛子蓮根), a lotus rhizome stuffed with Japanese mustard. it is a specialty of Kumamoto. It was good at first but quickly became pungent nauseating.
Kusasenri - 草千里 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
|Komezuka from the observatory|
Back to the Aso station, I went to Michi-no-Eki Aso. It is a great market that offers local and farmers products such as milk, vegetables, bento and so on, with space to rest and an information center. It's funny, it reminded me a farm where I often went in France.
For over a year now, I read the blog of a French man who is working there and I wanted to greet him and thank him for all the information he writes. Unfortunately he took his day off that day.
I bought a small Aso beef croquette sandwich and a small Japanese pudding served in a small glass jar, so adorable that I kept it as a souvenir.
|I was so surprised to discover pamphlets of two of the websites I designed this year|
On my next visit, I would like to try to climb Mount Eboshi, a bit harder, and redo the Kishima using another path. I would also like to go again to Naka-dake. I hope that the eruption will end one day... and why not try a helicopter ride !
Volcano : kazan (火山)
Eruption : funka (噴火)
Volcanic ash: kazan bai (火山灰)
View, panorama : keshiki (景色)
Air, oxyen : kûki (空気)
access and useful informations
Mont Aso (阿蘇山)
Access from Kumamoto by bus :
Download the timetable of this two lines
Access from Kumamoto by train :
Except the bus, all is covred by the JR Pass.
Is Naka-dake crater open now ?
How much time should I spend there ?A whold day
What to bring back ?
In the other case, a volcanic rock, a sulfur rock, takana (pickles made from mustard plant) or some cookies.