Wednesday 28th September 2011
The highlight of the trip to Kyushu for me - a visit to the Aso crater.
Japan September 2011
Breakfast at the jikoku-onsen ryokan.
A rice de-husking machine.
Picture of the poster for the main baths at the jikoku onsen (as I couldn't really take my camera in there) so you get an idea of what it was like.
En route to the aso crater.
First glimpse of the Aso crater, brooding in the distance.
On the walk up from the car park to the Aso crater.
Rather pleasant scenery around here actually. I didn't expect the surroundings of an active volcano to be "pleasant".
The ropeway was closed for maintenance today.
A lizard on the path.
This looks like it was once a pryoclastic flow.
These rocks look pretty volcanic.
More or less at the top now - a rather alien looking landscape.
...and here's the actual crater at the top.
As you can see, I was rather pleased to have made it here.
I think this is my favourite picture of the crater.
I bought some volcanic rocks from this chap.
On the way back down now.
"ricebowl mountain" taken from the car.
The place where we stopped for lunch.
Quite nice views of the surrounding rim of the Aso caldera to be had from here.
The pizza wasn't exactly great, but it made a nice break from rice.
A viewpoint looking out over the Aso caldera.
As is often the case in Japan it was too hazy to see anything very clearly, but you get the idea.
We'd planned to drop the hire car off in Kumamoto, and as we were a bit early we went for a walk around these Japanese gardens on the outskirts of the city. I think Chie's Dad had been here 25 years ago.
This is apparently a recreation of Mount Fuji.
In Kumamoto station - we'd booked seats on a train just after 7, so we had a couple of hours to kill. This is Aso beer.
The associated printed matter to prove it.
On the shinkansen on the way back now - I rather like these Japanese snacks called kinokonoyama ("mushroom mountains").
A rather strange advert on a packet of free tissues.
Was amazed to discover they serve draught beer on some shinkansen trains now.