Mt. Aso is located approximately 48 km (30 mi) north of Kumamoto City, on the island of Kyushu. It is one of the symbols of the Kumamoto region, once known as the Land of Fire. It is also the largest active volcano in Japan, with its peak named Taka-dake standing 1,592 m (~5,223 ft) above sea level - and is one of the largest volcanoes in the world.
Mount Aso has five other peaks, Mt. Neko, Mt. Taka, Mt. Naka (also called Nakadake), Mt. Eboshi, and Mt. Kishima. Only Nakadake has regular volcanic activity, most recently in 1974, 1979, 1984–1985, 1989–1991, 2009, and 2011.
The mountain experiences warm summers, cool winters and high levels of precipitation throughout the year, with peak rainfall occurring between June and July.
Its crater is easily accessible to tourists by road or ropeway. Due to poisonous volcanic gases though, sometimes the crater can be completely closed off to visitors. The crater can also be visited at night, when it transforms into an even more incredible sight. The lava oozes out of its gaps, creating fiery flashes in the dark. If you want to have an aerial view of Mount Aso, you can take a helicopter ride, which is truly spectacular. Not far from here, you will find the Mount Aso Museum. The museum provides excellent explanations of the volcano and its history.
There is a lot to see and do during a visit here, for example, a visit to the Aso shrine is worth a visit. There are also various hiking trails around Mt. Aso that can provide anything from a pleasant walk to a hard day’s hiking. You will also find several hot spring resorts around Aso. October sees an annual country and western music festival, as a more esoteric touch.