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Lots of Fun for Parents and Children! Top 5 Sightseeing Spots Around Mt. Aso in Kumamoto

The area around Mt. Aso in Kumamoto, Kyushu, is blessed with abundant nature and packed with spots where travelers with families in tow can have a lot of fun. Below are five recommended spots that children and adults alike are sure to enjoy!

1. Aso Geopark

The first spot on this list is Aso Geopark, which is known for its magnificent spread of nature. The Aso Caldera at the center of this geopark is one of the world’s biggest calderas, measuring approximately 18km from east to west and about 25km from north to south, with an area of 350 sq. km. The Aso Nakadake Caldera is a volcano that remains active today. You can get close to it by car, walking, or ropeway. The sight inside the crater - billowing fumes and a sparkling emerald green lake - is truly thrilling. This geopark offers such a beautiful landscape that it is bound to be exciting for children.

※Depending on the eruption alert level, you may be restricted from entering the caldera. Please check their official website for details.

1. Aso Geopark

1930-1 Akamizu, Aso-shi, Kumamoto

2. Kusasenrigahama

Kusasenrigahama is another famous spot in Aso Geopark. This 785,000 sq.m. prairie that is sprawled on the northern foot of Mt. Eboshidake offers an idyllic scene that is comprised of a large pond at the center and horses leisurely grazing in their pastures, with Mt. Nakadake and its billowing smoke towering in the distance. One recommended way to enjoy one of the best natural landscapes in Japan is to explore on horseback. If you ride a horse, you will be able to marvel at the surroundings from a height that is more than double the usual height of a person, making the sight of Aso even more thrilling. All the horses are draft horses, so they are safe for kids, too.

Sample horseback-riding fee: Starts from 1,500 JPY per person

2. Kusasenrigahama

Kusasenrigahama, Aso-shi, Kumamoto

3. ASO Farm Land

ASO Farm Land is a facility that is loaded with activities that are guaranteed to be a lot of fun for kids. It is a theme park surrounded by vast nature that is found at 550m above sea level. This park is overflowing with appeal, thanks to attractions like the Fureai Dobutsu Okoku (Animal Petting Kingdom) that will let you pet around 35 cute animals - such as capybaras, maras, and flamingos - and the Genki no Mori (Forest of Power) that will fully activate your body and mind. There are also hot springs and restaurants, so even adults can have fun all day! Their strange dome-shaped lodging facility without pillars is also popular.
※ Admission to ASO Farm Land is free, but payment is required for the facilities inside the park.

Fureai Dobutsu Okoku Fee: Adult (junior high school age or older): 900 JPY, Child (3 years old – elementary school age): 600 JPY

3. ASO Farm Land

5579-3 Kawayo, Minamiaso-mura, Aso-gun, Kumamoto

4. Cuddly Dominion

Cuddly Dominion is an animal entertainment park at the base of Mt. Aso. More than 550 animals of 100 species live in its approximately 300,000 sq.m. property. Visitors love this place because they are allowed to touch and pet - not just watch - animals like baby bears, ostriches, and alpacas. There are also shows featuring bears and penguins that anyone and everyone can enjoy!

Admission fee: Adult (senior high school age or older): 2,400 JPY, Child (elementary and middle school age): 1,300 JPY, Toddler (3 years old and above): 700 JPY

4. Cuddly Dominion

2163 Kurokawa, Aso-shi, Kumamoto

5. Shiraito no Taki Park

Shiraito no Taki (Shiraito Waterfalls) is a waterfall where the water - falling from about 20m high - actually looks like white thread! Shiraito no Taki Park is found around this body of water. Overflowing with a cool sensation, it is a popular spot that is visited by throngs of sightseers who come to soak in the cool evening air. Near this park, you will find Shibuki - an exchange hall that is only open during the summer. Here, guests can taste dishes like onigiri (rice balls) made from local rice. Their Nagashi Somen (flowing noodles) that you can eat while admiring the waterfall is highly recommended. This dish is quite unusual, since you have to scoop the somen (fine white noodles) from a gutter-shaped container, making it extremely popular among children.

※ You need to pay 100 JPY towards their cleaning fund when you enter the park.

5. Shiraito no Taki Park

3460 Oaza Kawahara, Nishihara-mura, Aso-gun, Kumamoto

For those who are considering sightseeing around Mt. Aso, try to use this article as a reference!

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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