The most scenic volcano of Japan
Aso Travel Blog› entry 33 of 52 › view all entries
I donâ€™t really know where I want to go this morning - I could head south and be close to the solar eclipse tomorrow or I could go towards the centre of Kyushu where I could visit the biggest active volcano caldera in the world. After a quick check at the weather forecast for Kagoshima - overcast - I decide to head for the centre of the island and go hiking in the mountains.
I board the train and we start driving towards the centre of the island - it is apparently an express train but the express train in the central parts of Kyushu is nothing like the express trains in the rest of Japan - it is painfully slow. But eventually I arrive at the station in Aso . I get out of the station and get a bus to the hostel one stop up the road heading up towards the volcano. I drop of my luggage and then head out to go towards the last stop of the bus line - unfortunately the weather is pretty crappy raining and overcast - but hopefully the rain will stop when I get up on the volcano.
I get into the bus which is basically only caters for tourist. We drive up the volcano and after a while it starts to be foggy - and the fog is not looking like it is about to disappear. As we drive up the hill the visibility is rapidly deteriorating. I give up on the idea of hiking today - instead I get out at the second to last stop at a big volcano museum. I get off along with a handful of other tourist. And we start to look for the museum - it is a bit foggy - hence we canâ€™t really see the museum from the road. But we assume the museum is to the right of the road - so we get up there. And sure we are on the right track - we have just found a huge parking lot. It gotta be the parking lot for the museum considering it is the only building of any significance on the volcano. But even though we are walking around on the parking lot we still canâ€™t find the museum - we know it must be close by but we just canâ€™t find it. We manage to find some toilets and souvenir shops and fortunately one of the Korean tourists speak some Japanese hence he go in and ask for directions in one of the shops. The people in the shops give directions and we manage to find the museum which is actually behind us and not in front of us like we had assumed.
I get into the museum and have a look around it give a good description of the volcano activity in the area and general info about volcanism in general. It is not quite like hiking up a volcano - but it is an ok way to spend a couple of hours this day.
After the visit to the museum I head down to the city and have a look around the small town. Suddenly the weather deteriorating significantly - lightning is all over and it is raining cats and dogs. I got an umbrella but it is not much help in these conditions and with the lightning close by I am not really happy to be outside with an umbrella. I head into a nearby cafĂ© to get into a dry area. It works great in the beginning but then the roof suddenly starts leaking and my table is getting wet with the water drizzling down from the roof. N typical Japanese manner the staff in the cafĂ© comes over and start apologizing repeatedly for this dreadful occurrence of water dripping onto the table I am sitting at - and they are busy trying to take the cup out of my hand and move it over to a table without water damage.
I survive the water and so does my coffee and after a while the rain is stopping both inside and outside. So I figure it is time to leave and when I pay the bill the staff apologizes for the leak once again.