Kumamoto Prefecture is located along the west coast of Kyushu. Its prefectural capital is Kumamoto City with a population of about 731,200 people. Kumamoto is known for Mount Aso and hot spring resorts such as Kurokawa Onsen.
Some of the most visited sightseeing spots in Kumamoto.
Mount Aso is an active volcano in the center of Kyushu. Its ancient caldera ranks among the world's largest, with a diameter of up to 25 kilometers and a circumference of over 100 kilometers. In the center of the caldera stand the mountain's active volcanic peaks, including Mount Nakadake, whose spectacular crater is easily accessible to tourists by toll road or ropeway.
Note that the crater area is often partially and sometimes completely closed off to visitors due to poisonous volcanic gases or the risk of volcanic activity. So, make sure to check the volcano's current state before traveling there. Even when the area around the summit is open, gases can be intense, and people with respiratory problems should refrain from approaching the crater.
The Nakadake Crater can be reached in a 30-40 minute bus ride from JR Aso Station. There is one bus about every 1-2 hours.
Kurokawa Onsen is one of Japan's most attractive hot spring towns, located in the middle of Kyushu about 20 kilometers north of Mount Aso. Well coordinated efforts by the town to maintain a pleasant, traditional atmosphere have kept Kurokawa free of the massive concrete hotels, neon advertisements and loud colors that are encountered in many of Japan's other resort towns. Instead, Kurokawa's townscape is dominated by natural colors and materials, wooden buildings, earthen walls, stone stairs and a river flowing through. The town center, located in a forested valley, is compact and easily explored on foot, except for a few ryokan which are located less centrally.
The Kyushu Odan Bus by Kyusanko travels directly from Kumamoto to Kurokawa Onsen. The one way trip between Kumamoto and Kurokawa take about three hours and departs 3 times per day.