Below you will find English updates on the status of Mount Aso’s active volcano, Nakadake:

Update:

Dec 20th 2016

The activity of the volcano has calmed down sufficiently for the level of the Nakadake crater to go back down to level 2. This means you can now go as far as the ropeway station at the base of the crater, however, you cannot visit the crater itself.

Oct 7th 2016

Overnight the Nakadake crater erupted, it was the biggest eruption in 36 years with a column of ash rising over 10 km high, the Level of the volcano has risen to level 3, this means though you can go up Mount Aso you can currently not go beyond the Kusasenri plateau.

This is the fourth time it has reached Level 3 in the last 100 years, 1933, 1958 and 1979. On these occasions there were small eruptions sending debris around 1.3km from the mouth of the volcano. To ensure saftey when the volcano reaches Level 3 an exclusion zone of 2 km is set up around the active crater. No mountain climbing or hiking is allowed within that limit.

May 9th 2016

The volcano had a slight eruption (1km high ash plume) after the earthquakes of April 14th and 16th but it remains at Level 2. However, the roads up to Central Mount Aso are all currently closed due to damage caused by the earthquakes.

Dec 1st 2015

Good news! Mount  Aso Nakadake’s Volcanic-alert has been lowered from Level 3 (do not approach the volcano, Prohibited entry to the mountain) to Level 2 (do not approach the crater, Prohibited entry within 1km radius of the crater) announced by the Japan Meteorological Agency at 14:00 24 November 2015 Tuesday. Access to Mount Aso is almost completely back to normal and you can now go as far as the ropeway station, from where you can view the crater from a safe distance.

November 20th 2015

Volcano Status: Level 3          Eruption Activity: No eruptions, white plume of ash rising to 400m

Advice: Possibility of ash falls depending on the direction of the wind, take precautions by bringing a hat, mask or umbrella.


 

Can we visit the Aso area safely when the volcano is at Level 2 or 3?

This is a question we have been asked a lot over the last couple of years since the Nakadake crater has increased in activity. At it’s safest the Nakadake volcano is at level 1 and this is when you can actually go up to the rim of the crater and take a peek inside, however, since the autumn of 2014 the volcano has been going through a more active phase which means the volcanic alert level has been fluctuating between Level 2 and Level 3.

The answer to the question above though is a definite YES! Please do not miss this beautiful area off your sightseeing list because you are worried about the safety of the volcano. Over 60,000 people live in and around the Aso area and even when the status is at Level 3, Aso is such a huge area, you can still see almost all of it in perfect safety. The only part out of bounds is the crater itself and you can still view the crater even when it is at level 3 from Kusasenri.

This shot was taken from Kusasenri in Nov 2016:


The Nakadake volcano is an active volcano and therefore does go through phases of activity, the good news is that since Levels were invented it has never gone beyond level 3 and it definitely hasn’t reached Level 5 – the most dangerous level – for at least 2000 years.

 

If you are interested in visiting the Aso area take a look at our Aso pages or why not take part in an Around Aso tour with Explore Kumamoto?