Mount Aso, the second biggest active vulcano in the world, is a shorter train ride from Kumamoto. The countryside view from the train is amazing and when you step off at the station you can take a deep breath of fresh air. Aso looks like a small alpine village. It’s cute, small and people are very friendly.
We booked our stay in the Asobi Gokoro guesthouse (2500 ¥ for a dorm) as the weather was rainy. The streets are beautiful, everything is impecably clean. I’ve noticed that the Japanese like to clean. Maybe it’s part of the zen way of life. The guesthouse is an old traditional house, renovated into a midern guesthouse. You sleep on tatami mats but on comfy matress with heavy blankets. It’s quite cold here with all the rain!
We had one hour introduction to the guesthouse (see?) with a tour. There are several private rooms, two dorms, one shower (but 6 kinds of soap, and 4 kinds of face wash), common room, smoking room with books and manga comics and kitchen with free tea from Aso and all the appliances. Cute instructions are everywhere around the house. Japanese way, what can I say 🙂
Because of the turisty price of the bus to Mount Aso, we decided to hitchhike to the top. We were successful and a friendly Japanese guy picked us up. We did some pictures together and then explored Kusasenri area on our own. The lakes and the green grass are beUtiful and on a sunny day like this things can’t get better. Mount Aso is still in mild eruption so you can’t go to the top but you can hike 30 min on a nearby hill with beautiful views.
It took us 2 minutes to get a ride back down with a younger Japanese couple. And then it was lunch time. We tried some unknown traditional food at Michi No Eki, where you buy prepared food and eat it in their restaurant area. People don’t speak much English so we usually don’t know what we’re eating. And then we went to the local fish shop to get sashimi! For 1000 ¥ we got an amazing plate of mixed sashimi, free coffee and a lot of warm smiles. I love this shop. In the evening our guesthouse hosts took us firefly watching. It was a beautiful day 🙂
Infirmation about traveling from Kumamoto to Aso and around Aso:
- Train from Kumamoto to Aso: 980 ¥
- asobi gokoro guesthouse: 2500 ¥ for a dorm
- Big plate of sashimi: 1000 ¥, 300 g of rice in the supermarket 200 ¥
- Traditional Japanese meal at Michi No Eki: 500 ¥
- Bus to mount Aso (one way): 570 ¥