For residents of Kyushu, the outdoors and nature are always nearby. A far cry from the large cities of Honshu, people can expect a rich abundance of activities and places to visit. One of the first big must-see trips of the region is Aso-Kuju National Park, the emerald jewel of Kumamoto.
As per the official tourism website, traveling by car is recommended to get around the park. However, getting to the national park with public transportation is possible. This link will let you compare the different ways to get to the park. The official website also provides advice and suggestions.
Hiking is undoubtedly a big draw to this park. In spring, summer, or fall, hikers can expect many gorgeous flower and tree colors that serve as the backdrop to a highly memorable trip. Whether you wish to hike to the highest point of Kyushu or stroll through an ancient forest (featuring naturally carbonated water!), you will be guaranteed a satisfying time.
Some trails are pretty easy for anyone, but other routes are for more experienced hikers. Please consider which matches your needs and double-check your gear before going.
Well, at least from the top of Kyushu! Mount Nakadake is the highest point of Kyushu, with many breathtaking views available to parkgoers who brave the trails. There are many peaks and scenic endpoints for people to choose from, but keep in mind hikers will be limited by the time needed to traverse each route.
However, hiking is not the only way to get a bird’s eye view! The park offers a variety of high-flying activities like helicopter rides and hot air balloon rides for those who want to see the majestic view from above.
There are also interesting driving courses around the park. Again, the official website shows a suggested route with fun sites like “The Hell of Komatsu” (read before judging!) and the Hatchobaru Geothermal Power Plant. Or, try the Yamanami route, which will take you up a beautiful mountain road to the “Roof of Kyushu.”
It should go without saying that the drives are for those who come by car.
The national park offers a lot to do, so taking time to plan will make the experience more manageable.
Activities like hiking between two mountain peaks will require you to contact a group in advance to confirm availability, so please check before going.
Aso-Kuju National Park
Address (JP) Chojabaru Visitors Center: 〒879-4911 大分県玖珠郡九重町田野255-33
Address (EN) Chojabaru Visitors Center: 〒879-4911 Oita, Kusu District, Kokonoe, Tano 255-33
Did you end up going? What did you do at the park? Let us know in the comments below!