Mt Aso is one of Japans active volcanoes and IT&T was offering a trip to it, which we signed up for right away. Its on the Island called Kyushu about dead center. The volcano is active and we warned ahead of time that visiting it may not be an option. But we are adventurers and wanted to see how it measured up to our own Mt Saint Helens.
Our first stop was to Kumamoto Castle, one of the largest and most magnificent castles in Japan. The problem is, we have seen nearly all of them, so one more was just another castle to us at this point. It was built in 1694 but like most antiquites in Japan it burned to the ground and had to be rebuilt. I will add some pictures once I get them down loaded to Photobucket.
Our secord stop was to the Aso Farm Village Hotel. Well, I don't think I can call it a hotel as it is about 200 little igloo shaped buildings, each with a bed and a bath spread out over the "farm". I need to post a picture of that also as it was wild.
I gather it really is a working farm as they sell milk and cheese and dairy products. (I bought what looked like a bottle of milk for my morning coffee and YUCK, it was yogurt I think, NOT milk. ) But it also had a huge restaurant, (food was mediocre to poor) and other little shops. It had a hot bath for bathing, something that I haven't gotten around to doing in Japan, and a lot of craft shops, where you can make and/or purchase craft items. You could paint pottery, blow glass, etc. That was kinna cool, but it was late and Sumo was on and well, it was the second to the last night of the championship and that was way more important.
The next morning, we got up early and boarded the bus for Mt Aso, the volcano. It was a pleasant drive thru the country side and the hills were full of a heather like bush that was in full bloom (need to post that picture also) There was a sign at crater that the sulfur was stinking and if folks were allergic they probably should go up.
Well, the wind was blowing, the clouds were sitting right on the crater and so it was damp and cold and drizzling rain. Since the volcano was erupting steam, thats about all we could see, but we did take some pictures and I'll post them. The geology in the area was interesting.
The coolest and most interesting part of the trip, and an unexpected event was that they were having a Cooper car rally at the summit and we got to see nearly 200 Coopers. Now that is something that I would love to do .