When you think of Japan, things like hot springs, kimonos, sushi, temples, and shrines may be some of the first things that come to mind. But I also think one of the biggest factors that many people often think of for Japan is their outrageous number of earthquakes that occur and volcanoes that are spread throughout the country. Volcanoes that are not only dormant, but many that are still active, like Mt. Fuji!
Japan is home to hundreds of volcanoes, with about 100 of them labeled as active! There are 9 active volcanoes that can be found on our southern island of Kyushu- one of which is the famous Mt. Aso. As of November 25, 2014, small eruptions were reported at the Mt. Aso Nakadake first crater. Since then the crater has been continuously active, emitting large amounts of volcanic ash after an absence of nearly 20 years!!
If you were to Google search “things to see in Kyushu, Japan,” Mt. Aso is surely on the top of the list. And this summer we made a visit to see this gigantic piece of mother nature. We were hoping that by going months after the eruption in 2014, that maybe we’d get an up close look at the crater. I mean, where else can you walk around the crater of an active volcano?!? Or take a helicopter ride over the crater of an active volcano?!?! But, the conditions were still dangerous and the 1km area around the Nakadake crater was off-limits. Yet, the views were still something else! The first day that we explored the volcano, it was calm. The second day, the volcano was spewing volcanic ash!!
While exploring Mt. Aso, we also had time to look around their museum to take a deeper look at this beautiful volcano, learn about the land of Aso and the lives that dwell around it. Some exhibits included the geography and geology of Aso, its volcanic activities, and its flora and fauna. Here is some information on the active volcano:
The Aso Caldera is situated in central Kyushu, Japan. It is one of the largest calderas in the world, measuring 18km east-west and 25km north-south in width, formed by four huge eruptions that occurred between 300,000 and 90,000 years ago. In the caldera are 5 peaks of Mt. Also: Mt. Takadake, Mt. Nekodake, Mt. Kishimadake, Mt. Eboshidake, and the still fuming Mt. Nakadake. There also lie volcanic clusters consisting of various mountains. A plain spreads at the foot of the mountain range from north to south. Surrounding the plain and volcanic clusters, the outer rims form a gently-sloping pyroclastic plateau. This unique geography is formed by the Aso volcano, which has displayed repeated volcanic activities since approximately 270,000 years ago!!
Our roots will forever be from here, America, born and raised. Yet, life requires us to move more frequently than we care to count. Whether living stateside or abroad, you can always find us traveling somewhere. We scout out places that you only think you can dream of one day seeing and we seek out those that aren’t found in guidebooks. We then bring them to life here in our travel memos, so hopefully, one day you too can visit them or at least be able to live vicariously through us. This blog isn’t just about crossing off places from a bucket list. It’s about absorbing and learning how other cultures grow and fit into the same world that we do. Life is short and the world is big. Enjoy and get out there!