My most favorite onsen village in Japan.
Yamanami Highway is a scenic drive on Kyushu connecting the city of Beppu in Oita prefecture and Aso town in Kumamoto prefecture. There’s beautiful natural scenery and hot springs along the way.
Takachiho is a place of exceptional natural beauty and ancient legends, not easy to get to, but definitely worth a visit.
Amano Iwato shrine is associated with the famous Japanese legend of Sun Goddess Amaterasu hiding in a cave. This is one of the most interesting shinto places I’ve seen in Japan.
Shirakawa Suigen is a famous fresh water spring, the source of Shirakawa river in Kumamoto prefecture.
Hotel Greenpia Minamiaso is a large establishment situated on the foothills of Aso caldera’s south rim. This location provides for an ideal view over the caldera, with the Five Peaks towering at the center.
Shimomiya, a small shrine sitting amidst rice fields in Aso caldera, would be totally unremarkable if not for one thing: an unusual event that takes place here every year from August to October.
Kokuzo shrine is featured in Engishiki, the list of shrines dating back to Heian period, which makes it one of the oldest shrines in Aso region.
Aso is a huge caldera of an ancient supervolcano that, as a result of its massive past super-eruptions collapsed onto itself, leaving an area of indented ground with a mountain range at its center which now holds an active crater. I rented a car and explored the area for 2 days.