This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Mount Aso.
Mount Aso is Japan’s largest active volcano. It is in Aso Kuju National Park, in the Kumamoto Prefecture, on the island of Kyushu. The nearest town is Aso, on the north side of the mountain, where you will find several hostels catering to hikers and travellers.
The best way to get to Aso is by train on the JR Hohi line. Aso is one hour and forty minutes from Kumamoto. Once there, you can take a bus or drive to the crater of Mounts Aso and Nakadake, or you can take the cable car. Be aware that the volcano crater access closes often if there is a volcanic activity so its best to check before you go. The Aso Volcano Museum or your hostel should be able to provide this information. Nearby Kusasenri-ga-hama is the best place to go horseback riding. It is possible from early March to mid December.
Look for hostels on the south side of the city, at the base of Mount Aso. There are only a couple, so be sure to book ahead in the high season. The word for “hostel” in Japanese is “ホステル” which is pronounced “hah-stel.” If you prefer, there are campgrounds or guesthouses as well.
Aso is popular with hikers; you can hike to the crater from town or around various trails on the mountains. Another popular, but very hard to find destination is Tenku no Michi, aka Raputa Road, also known as the road to heaven. Ask at the visitors centre in town or you may end up lost! You will need a car, or be prepared to walk long distances. After a day on the trail, you must visit an onsen, a traditional Japanese hot spring spa. They may be attached to a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn. Aso has several onsen, but if you have any tattoos you may be asked to cover it while inside or not be permitted in at all. (Not all onsen are the same; check with your accommodation if you have questions!)
Written by local enthusiast for Mount Aso hostelsJakob Lombardi