The Around Aso Tour, a scenic trip around the top Aso sights

The Around Aso Tour – Mount Aso and more! is a tour that takes you to all the top sights in the Aso caldera, from the beautiful and remote Minami Aso area to the heights of Mount Aso and the breathtaking views from the northern caldera wall.

About Aso

The Aso region is one of the ‘must see’ sights if you are visiting Japan’s southern island of Kyushu. Aso is the name given to  the largest inhabited volcanic caldera in the world and the main reason to visit is to take in the stunning volcanic landscapes of Mount Aso and the majestic caldera scenery.

Kusasenri Plateau

Japan is a land of forests, mountains and rice paddies and the grasslands of Aso offer views rarely found in the rest of country. The lush Suzuki grass, grazed by horses and the local Akaushi (Red Cattle), is vibrant green in late spring and summer, turning to gold and silver in late autumn and winter. The grasslands reveal the rolling contours of the ancient pyroclastic flows deposited by the volcano over hundreds of thousands of years.

Mount Aso

In the center of the caldera the 5 volcanic peaks of Mount Aso rise, forming the shape of a huge sleeping buddha with a gently smoking navel. The central volcano Nakadake is active and if conditions are safe you can  go as far as the rim of the crater and look at the steaming crater lake inside.

Why take a tour?

The Aso area is big, the circumference of the caldera is over 100 km. Sights are scattered around 4 areas, the northern caldera wall,  the northern caldera basin, Minami Aso (the southern caldera basin)  and  Mount Aso – the volcanic peaks in the centre of the caldera which rise to almost 1600 m. Public transport is limited and currently train travel within the region is badly affected due to the earthquakes of spring 2016. So if you want to see a lot and don’t have days to spend your best options are to rent a car or take a tour.

A day trip around the region allows you to really maximise your time and visit all the main sights and some of its local secrets in comfort and at your own pace.

Sample Itinerary:

08:51 Pick up from Higo Ozu Station (you can take the 08:11 train from Kumamoto City to Higo Ozu station) Drive to Minami Aso

09:20 Shirakawa Source – Southern Aso’s most sacred spring which gives birth to the mighty Shirakawa River, sample the delicious water said to give a long and healthy life.

10:00 Minami Aso Viewpoint – time to take in the beautiful views of Mount Aso from near the Nekodake volcano

10:30 Kamishikimi Kuma no Imasu Shrine – a little known shrine in a magical setting

11:15 Scenic drive into the northern caldera

12:00 Aso Shrine, Mizuki Street walkabout and lunch at the restaurant of your choice

13:15 Scenic drive up to Mount Aso, stopping to take in views of Takadake, the caldera and Komezuka on the way.

14:00 Visit Nakadake Volcano, currently we can go as far as the base Ropeway Station  (from mid March 2018 the ropeway will reopen and we will be able to visit the crater edge)

14:30 Free time to explore the Kusasenri area, take a short hike, visit the volcano museum, enjoy horse riding or just sample some local ice cream and take in the views.

15:15 Scenic drive through the northern caldera to the Daikanbo View Point

16:00 Daikanbo view point – the highest and best viewpoint of the Aso caldera

16:30 Scenic drive along the northern caldera wall back to Higo Ozu Station

17:30 Drop off at Higo Ozu station

Depending on the weather forecast the itinerary may take place the opposite way round to ensure we can get the best views possible.

Pick Up and Drop Off Point: The tour begins and ends from Higo Ozu Station.

Tour duration: 08:51 to 17:30 (8.5 hours)

No. of guests: Minimum 1 person, maximum 9.

Price: 6,000 Yen pp plus *transport component.*The transport component cost is shared between the number of people on the tour. We price the tours this way so that we can offer tours even to small groups of 1 or 2 people.  Please contact us for details.

Family discounts available. (Please contact us with your childrens ages to find out more)

Tour Exclusions:

Lunch is not included in the tour price. But please notify us of any special dietary preferences when booking so we can select where to eat

Tour Photos

Minami Aso

Shirakawa Source

Kami Shikimi Kumano Imasu Shrine

Neko Dake, the oldest and craggiest volcano

Lunch stop at Mizuki street


Komezuka, a beautifully symmetrical scoria cone


mount aso

Kusasenri Plateau with Nakadake Volcano in the distance

If the Nakadake Volcano is at level 1 you will be able to visit the edge of the crater itself to see the lunar landscape and get a glimpse into its steaming, turquoise crater lake.

Horses at Kusasenri




Sakura!一心行の大桜_(熊本県南阿蘇村)2If you are visiting in  April the tour can also include a visit to the 400 year old single sakura of Minami Aso.

Here’s what one of our guests had to say:

Thank you for the lovely photographs you took for us, they are so well taken and the scenery is so beautiful.
It was really very nice tour experiences we had with you as our tour guide and we really enjoyed ourselves very much. Words cannot describe our gratitude to your hospitality and the tour you planned for us. You were an amazing guide and you were so funny, making us laugh all the time. I would definitely recommend to my friends and spread words for your wonderful tours.
Aso Tour and Takachiho Tour  Alice & Family   Dec 2015 Singapore


To make a booking or enquiry about the Around Aso Tour

contact Explore Kumamoto now.

A percentage of all tour profits will go towards helping the Kumamoto and Aso regions

recover from the Kumamoto Earthquakes.