Our Golden Week adventures in 2018 took us to the Aso area of Kyushu. To save some pennies and enjoy this beautiful part of natural Japan we decided to camp, just like Golden Week 2017. The differences was this year we had hired a car from Shimonoseki, and so we packed our futons and camped like slightly poor kings.
Our plan for Aso area was simple, relax, enjoy nature, and probably climb the volcano we had come all the way to see. Mount Aso is one of the largest active volcanoes in the world, which means that most of the time you can’t actually get anywhere near the crater. The crater is famous for housing a beautiful but lethal blue sulphur lake.
On arrival in Aso’s shadow, we were surprised by the lack of smelly sulphur in the air. Perhaps we were going to be in luck! It turns out we were, and so on our second day in the area we drove all the way up to crater. It was very blue, very smelly, and suitably dramatic with plumes of steam flowing all around us. I was as giddy as a child at Christmas; I couldn’t believe our luck in seeing the crater and feeling the power of a volcano up close and personal.
What was even better was that Aso actually has several craters. The others have since dried up, which means you can peer into them happily or even walk across them. So, that is exactly what we did. We trekked across sand as black as coal, and marveled at rocks that had clearly come straight from the heart of hell. It was pretty spectacular! We could also see, up close, the destructive environment of powerful volcanic nature. Around us were litters of fencing and paths, that had once been build to ferry tourists around the volcano, but Aso had other ideas and proceeded to shred them up. It was pretty fun, and scary, trying to work out exactly how that could have happened, whilst looking nervously into the centre of the crater.
This experience wasn’t enough though. We wanted more of Aso, and so on our third day, we decided to climb her…