Very sadly one of my favorite spots in Aso, the Laputa Road Viewpoint was badly damaged in the earthquakes of April 2016 and can no longer be visited.

One of the top spots to see in Aso, but a difficult one to find. This viewpoint from the caldera rim is a bit of a secret spot as you won’t find it signposted or publicised on any tourism maps or materials however, its popularity has spread due to the fantastic views it offers.

Last shot of Laputa Road

This shot was taken just a couple of days before the earthquakes,  in the late afternoon sun we watched a rickety blue truck make its way gingerly down the winding road until we could no longer see it, only hear the grinding of gears in the distance, never realising this view would soon be changed for ever… the video below is drone footage taken after the earthquakes

The view point has two nicknames: ‘Ten No Michi’ – The Road to Heaven or ‘Laputa Road’, any fans of the animator Miyazaki Hayao or Swift’s ‘Gulliver’s Travellers’ will be aware that Laputa is the name of a mythical island which floats through the sky.

Why the name? Well at certain times, the caldera basin fills with cloud and the twisting turning road which juts out from the caldera rim here appears to be floating on a sea of cloud.

Even without the sea of cloud the view is still fantastic – see below.

Laputa Road

 

Travel Tips:

Difficult to find the best way to access it is to take a tour. Included on the Around Aso Tour. Contact Explore Kumamoto now for more information.

The road itself is in a poor condition and closed to traffic, it is however possible to walk or cycle down, there is also a short, rarely used hiking path out on to another promontory that you can access by walking a few minutes down the road.